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Internal vs. Third-Party Supply Chain Analytics: A Comprehensive Comparison

Updated: Oct 16, 2023


In today's fast-paced business landscape, supply chain analytics has become a cornerstone of success, enabling companies to optimize operations, enhance decision-making, and drive greater efficiency. As organizations seek to harness the power of data-driven insights, a critical question arises: should they develop an in-house supply chain analytics solution or opt to outsource to a third-party provider? This blog post explores the key considerations that businesses need to weigh when making this decision, along with the pros and cons associated with each approach.


Supply Chain Analytics


Domain Knowledge:


One of the primary advantages of building an internal supply chain analytics solution is the deep domain knowledge possessed by your internal teams. These teams have an intimate understanding of your company's unique operations, processes, and intricacies. This allows them to develop analytics insights that are tailored to your specific business objectives, leading to more relevant and actionable results.


On the other hand, outsourcing to a third-party provider might bring in a fresh perspective and access to external industry best practices. If considering outsourcing the task, you need to ensure the third party is aligned with your company's specific needs, to ensure maximum delivery of expectations.


Speed of Implementation:


When it comes to speed of implementation, outsourcing often has the upper hand. Third-party solutions are often ready-to-use or require minimal customization, resulting in quicker deployment. This can be particularly advantageous for businesses aiming to achieve rapid results or meet urgent operational needs.


Building an internal solution, while potentially offering tailored results, may require significant time and resources for development, testing, and deployment. It can be costly and take 1-2 years depending on the size of your development team. This could delay the realization of actionable insights and the benefits they offer your current supply chain.


Cost Efficiency:


Cost is a significant factor in any decision-making process. Outsourcing supply chain analytics to a third party can often be more cost-effective, especially for smaller businesses with limited resources. Third-party providers typically offer pricing models that cater to different budget constraints, allowing access to advanced analytics capabilities without the substantial upfront investment required for building an in-house solution.


Developing an internal solution requires considerable investment in terms of technology, personnel, training, and ongoing maintenance. The cost-efficiency of this approach depends on the long-term benefits it provides compared to the initial outlay.


Scalability:


As your business grows, so do the demands on your supply chain analytics capabilities. Third-party solutions are designed to scale easily and adapt to changing needs, allowing for a seamless expansion as your operations evolve. This scalability is often achieved without the need for continuous development efforts on your part.


In contrast, internally built solutions might require ongoing development and maintenance to accommodate growth and changing requirements. Ensuring scalability in-house could result in increased resource allocation over time.


Up-to-Date Technology:


Outsourcing provides a distinct advantage in terms of accessing the latest technology, tools, and analytics methodologies. Third-party providers are constantly updating their solutions to incorporate cutting-edge advancements, ensuring that your business benefits from state-of-the-art insights without the need for constant internal upgrades.


Building an in-house solution requires staying abreast of evolving technologies and analytics trends, which can be resource-intensive and may lead to potential lag in adopting the latest innovations.


Technically Skilled Employees:


Developing an internal supply chain analytics solution necessitates a team of technically skilled employees who can collaborate with supply chain experts to create a solution aligned with appropriate key performance indicators (KPIs). This requirement extends beyond just data analysis, involving expertise in data integration, visualization, and software development.


Outsourcing can alleviate the need for assembling an internal technical team, allowing your organization to focus on its core competencies while leveraging the expertise of external professionals.


Supply Chain Analytics Solution

In conclusion, the choice between building an internal supply chain analytics solution or outsourcing to a third party involves careful consideration of several factors, including company size, budget, technical capabilities, strategic priorities, and speed to market. Each approach comes with its own set of pros and cons that need to be weighed against your organization's specific needs and goals.


While building an in-house solution offers the advantage of deep domain knowledge and tailored insights, it requires a significant investment of time, resources, and ongoing maintenance. Outsourcing, on the other hand, provides cost-effective access to up-to-date technology, scalability, and faster implementation. Ultimately, the decision should align with your company's strategic vision and its ability to effectively leverage analytics for enhanced supply chain management.


The lost opportunity cost for businesses that delay implementing supply chain analytics can be substantial. In an increasingly data-driven business landscape, failing to leverage analytics to optimize operations, streamline processes, and make informed decisions can result in falling behind competitors who have embraced these tools.


Companies without effective supply chain analytics solutions risk missed revenue opportunities, inefficiencies, and suboptimal decision-making that could have otherwise driven growth and enhanced their competitive edge. As the market evolves and customer expectations shift, the delay in adopting supply chain analytics can lead to a tangible loss of revenue and a compromised position in the industry.


If you are considering outsourcing your supply chain analytics, The Owl Solutions offers a full-serve solution. What does that mean?

  • Seamless onboarding where we meet with customers ahead of time to understand their business goals, and ensure our software aligns with core KPIs that match their business objectives

  • Our product team handles the entire implementation process – so there is no heavy lifting for you IT team

  • Our team of supply chain experts also brings a wealth of knowledge with them, so they are able to bridge the gap between technology and supply chain best practices.

See if we are a good match by booking a short intro call below.


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