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Graph Databases Benefit Supply Chains

Searching for solutions to supply chain disruption? Graph databases may be the answer.

As the global COVID-19 pandemic runs into its third year, you would be hard pressed to find a business or individual that has not been affected in some way by the disruption that the virus has caused to global supply chains.

In just the first few months of the pandemic, research from the internationally focused Institute of Supply Management found that 75% of companies in the US reported supply chain disruptions, while 80% expected some kind of disruptions in the near future. Two years down the track, and the world still hasn’t caught up, with many companies not surviving the resulting turmoil.

While the health of individuals and populations has rightly taken priority, measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus have inevitably led to delays in supply, which in turn has created ripple effects that are both unprecedented and unpredictable for business operations – and ultimately revenue streams. In such an environment, the only certain thing is uncertainty.

Now, as the virus continues to evolve and whole countries once again find themselves having to tackle new outbreaks, it’s clear that global supply chains are going to feel the ongoing impacts for a long time yet. For businesses everywhere, finding ways to successfully navigate these unfamiliar seas will be the new normal. ‘Adapt or die’ will be the driving principle.

As was noted recently in an article  from the World Economic Forum, “Organisations need to reimagine and manage their supply chain differently to ensure business continuity and growth for the future.” In a digitally driven world that was already utilising every facet of technology to ensure that goods could make their way from Point A to Point B as fast and cost-effectively as possible, the same principle can be applied – and a technological tool to help companies reimagine the ways they can manage supply chains differently has emerged: the graph database.

Maximising Technology for Supply Chain Management

The fact that a microscopic virus like COVID-19 can have such a macroscopic impact on the world is sobering – and instructive. It’s a lesson in understanding how the smallest of things can have a big impact. Supply chains have many small links that can be represented as hundreds, even thousands, of data points – be they manufacturers, ports, or transport and delivery organisations, etc – and if just one link in that chain becomes broken, it can affect everything down the line.

Add to this the fact that multiple supply chains must often need to interlink to ensure suppliers goods make it to a variety of customers – meaning that as the number of data points increases, so too does the potential for broken links in the chain – and the potential for chaos as mis-matched data can occur at any point along the supply chain.

In such a system, data quality is crucial for ensuring that disruptions across the chain are minimised –and the graph database is the tool that can deliver this level of data quality.

By design, graph databases have the ability to analyse connected data in high volumes, identify hidden patterns within massive datasets, and so improve accuracy of queries. When applied to systems like global supply chains, this means enabling manufacturers to better manage product or component delays, stay informed on the status of shipments, control quality and stay ahead of risks, all in real-time.

The Changing Dynamics of the Global Supply Chain

With the complexity of today’s global supply chains exacerbated by the complications of a pandemic, the reality is a business will either survive or fail depending on its capacity to minimise disruption. Successfully managing your data will pre-empt success in business.

However, the reality is that organisations dependent on global supply chains may be running their databases on traditional systems technologies that rely on relational databases, which do not have the agility to run real-time analysis of fast shifting data points. Variations in availability of parts, delays in assembly, or restrictions on delivery can all happen in an instant, and in doing so, weaken the links in the supply chain.

The benefits of a graph database for managing supply chains don’t stop at data quality control. The ability of graph databases to analyse millions of data points gives a business the capacity to run predictive analytics, enabling companies to anticipate problems, build transparency, and ultimately better plan for the uncertain future that the global pandemic continues to drive.

Talk to us about how graph databases can help you manage your supply chains.

Intech Solutions works with TigerGraph, one of the fastest database / analytics platforms available globally today. TigerGraph is built to provide deep, and ultra-fast, analyses of large datasets – all in real time. Its scalable graph database provides analytics tools that are easy to use, even for the non-technical user, delivering powerful solutions for every level of enterprise.


Ready To Speak With a Graph Database Expert?

Contact Philip Miles, National Sales and Marketing Manager Intech Solutions by email here or by telephone on +61 2 8305 2100

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Intech provides data solutions that lay a secure foundation for robust, cost-effective and timely business transformation. Intech’s products have been successfully deployed to thousands of users, across hundreds of sites. See intechsolutions.com.au

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