Depicting a Supply Chain on a Map
Updated: Jul 1, 2021
Having delved into some advanced mapping applications in my previous blog entries (location selection, optimization, insights), I realized that I have missed showing the basic applications of mapping solutions, from a supply chain perspective, altogether.
Here I have used a mapping platform to plot a basic level supply chain of a fictitious tyre manufacturing company with nation-wide operations. The network design comprises of 3 levels / echelons - factory, warehouse and distributor (with dependencies). Alongside, each state has been color-coded as per its sales contribution (% of total sales).
Here is the Map based representation -
Created using Esri's ArcGIS Pro using a fictitious data-set
What patterns can you observe (sales, network concentration, number of nodes)?
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, interactive version of this same map - https://arcg.is/5LDeL. Representative image below.
Tips - use the map interface as you would do while navigating a map application such as Google Maps. Try Zooming in/out, clicking on points (nodes, states, connectors etc.) and see the information which pops up. You can even try changing the symbology, labeling, color combinations etc. - however, this may be slightly trickier to do for first time users. Try searching for a particular location from the search bar as well.
Static Map exported to Esri's interactive mapping platform - ArcGIS Online
As you would notice, the interactive map based representation is even more handy - in terms of navigation and query-ability.
One can even filter the view type - For example, we can hide from view the states which contribute < Rs 10 lacs to annual sales.
Display Filter > 10 lacs applied
Since the mapping platform is dynamic in nature, the map view instantly changes as per the parameters we choose to apply.
What changes can you spot in the map view below?
In this map, we have used 3 data classes for Sales 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 help us arrive at a more meaningful conclusion and make a better decision, eventually.
Now these are just basic iterations. One can create custom dashboards, use geo-processing tools, create engaging visualizations to enhance this map view so that the user gleans the maximum relevant information from a single screen view.
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 raw material facing processes - suppliers, inventory, warehouses, mfg. shop-floor etc. Perhaps, I'll delve into this in my next blog article.
However, 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 for logistics assets so that one can track the location of shipments, path taken, ETA on a near real time basis.
Isn't this useful? Want to create a supply chain map for your organization? Interested to explore how mapping solutions can be put to good use?
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