Depicting Supply Chain on a Map
Updated: May 16
Having delved into some advanced mapping applications of supply chain in my previous blog entries (location selection, planning, optimization, insights), I realized that I have missed showing a very basic application of mapping, from a supply chain perspective, altogether.
In this article, I have used a mapping platform to plot a customer-facing supply chain of a fictitious tyre manufacturing company with pan-India operations. The network design comprises of 3 levels / echelons - factory, warehouse & distributor. Alongside, each state has been color-coded as per its sales contribution (% of total sales) to the company.
Here is the Supply Chain Map:
What are your key inferences from this map?
As you would agree, a visual representation is not only easier to understand, but also uncovers insights which may be otherwise hidden from view while sifting through spreadsheet-based data.
However, this is just a static representation of the data. Here is a link to a dynamic version of this same map - https://arcg.is/5LDeL. Representative visual in Figure 2 below:
Tips for the web application - create a free account if prompted >> use the map interface as you would do while navigating Google Maps >> Try Zooming in/out >> click on nodes, states, connectors and see the information which pops up on your screen >> try changing the symbology, labeling >> use the search bar to zero in on a desired location.
(In case you find it tough to navigate, but are interested to learn nonetheless - practice some freely accessible tutorials from here)
The interactive map-based application is high on utility compared to a static map - in terms of capability to navigate and it being query-able & interactive in nature.
One can even filter the view type: for example, we can hide from view the states which contribute < Rs 10 lacs to annual sales.
Since the mapping platform is dynamic in nature, the map view instantly changes as per the parameters we choose to apply.
Q: What changes can you spot in the map view below?
A: In this map, we have used 3 data classes for Sales Revenue in terms of absolute values - <10 lacs, <20 lacs and <30 lacs respectively. In the first map, we had used Sales figures as a % of total sales with 4 data classes - <2.5%, <5%, <7.5% and <10%.
With each iteration, we can understand the data from a new perspective and uncover new insights which could be useful for decision-making.
Now these are just basic iterations. One can create custom dashboards, use geoprocessing tools & create engaging visualizations to enhance the supply chain map so that the user can glean the maximum relevant information from his screen.
Also, while this is a customer-facing view of the supply chain with Sales as a core parameter, one can have a map-based representation for the supplier-facing processes as well- suppliers, shippers, warehouses, and so on.
Through this article, what I want to emphasize is that virtually, every aspect of your supply chain can be mapped out on a single screen. In this map view, one can even sync sensor feed - eg. for logistics assets so that one can track the location of shipments, path taken, ETA, on a near real-time basis.
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