Supply Chain Management in the Digital Age: Meet the Tech Stacks Businesses Are Using to Ship Data Products 10x Faster

Learn how three distribution and supply chain organizations are streamlining operations, tapping new revenue streams, and driving innovation in their industry with the help of a modern data stack centered on Snowflake.
April 9, 2024
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At its simplest, supply chain management (SCM for short) describes the processes overseeing the flow of goods and information, starting with the procurement of raw materials and ending with the delivery of a finished product at its ultimate destination. These processes are about as complicated as they sound, which is why a data-driven approach to supply chain management that leverages the full benefits of the modern data stack has become a critical asset for shipping and logistics businesses.

With the increasing complexity of global trade and the growing demands of consumers for faster and more reliable deliveries, it’s no wonder that companies in the supply chain industry are constantly on the lookout for ways to streamline their operations and improve efficiency. 

Unfortunately, according to Hakkoda’s recent State of Data report, distribution and supply chain organizations currently lag behind other industries in their deployment of centralized cloud platforms, with only 11% of companies in the industry reporting that they had migrated their data from on-prem or legacy stems to a cloud platform in 2023. This latency in adapting a centralized cloud platform like Snowflake will make it harder for supply chain businesses to leverage key benefits of the modern data stack, ranging from the ability to quickly and securely share data with customers, advanced data analytics powered by emerging AI technologies, and real-time monetization via native applications and platforms like the Snowflake Marketplace.

In this blog, we will highlight some of the top ways migrating to the Snowflake data cloud can help distribution and supply chain organizations achieve greater returns on their data technology investments. We will also share three customer success stories that illustrate some of the exciting possibilities awaiting supply chain businesses in the cloud.

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The Power of a Centralized Cloud Platform in Supply Chain Management

Centralized cloud platforms are revolutionizing how shipping and logistics companies approach the management of their increasingly complex supply chains.

By centralizing data from disparate sources, these platforms first and foremost provide a single source of truth that empowers key stakeholders with a unified view of operations. This visibility, in turn, powers new analytics capabilities that allow internal data teams to capture emerging trends from across the product lifecycle in real-time. 

These trends can then be harnessed to drive greater end-to-end process efficiency. This high-level view of operations also fosters improved collaboration among departments, partners, customers, and suppliers, which is critical for quick, data-driven decision-making and operational agility. 

The security, governance, and interoperability capabilities of cloud platforms also facilitate the seamless exchange of information, reducing bottlenecks and eliminating data silos that traditionally impede the flow of information. As a result, companies can achieve better synchronization of their efforts across supply chains, enabling them to adapt to market changes swiftly and maintain a competitive edge. 

The interoperability of the cloud also opens the door to data monetization, allowing supply chain organizations to develop native applications and deploy their valuable data as an asset in a marketplace of interested buyers.

In short, a modern data stack built on and around a centralized cloud platform not only streamlines supply chain operations and empowers leadership with critical insights, but also sets the stage for innovative solutions that further enhance efficiency and responsiveness—including, of course, new and compelling AI use cases.

Customer Success: Data Sharing and Streamlined Customer Onboarding at a Global Supply Chain Management Company

Now that we’ve outlined some of the ways a centralized cloud platform can drive value for supply chain organizations, let’s take a closer look at how several Hakkoda clients in the industry have leveraged the modern data stack to streamline operations and drive future-facing innovation for their customers. Consider the case of a global leader in digital supply chain transformation. Their business, which serves retailers, manufacturers, and logistics providers all around the world with end-to-end supply chain solutions, identified the urgent need for their customers to quickly and easily share data in a format compatible with their internal data model.  

Together with Hakkoda, the global supply chain company addressed this growing need through the development of a Streamlit-based Native Application in Snowflake. The application’s  user-friendly UI made it easy for customers to map and securely share their data, which in turn allowed the supply chain company to improve the efficiency of their services.

The resulting application had far-reaching implications for the company’s onboarding procedures, allowing them to significantly reduce the ramp-up time for new clients while allowing them more control over every stage in that process. Because the Snowflake Marketplace makes it so easy to securely share data with other Snowflake customers, meanwhile, the finished Native Application was also able to drive significant growth in the global supply chain company’s total accessible market (TAM). Now equipped with a secure and interoperable platform for sharing their data and a large network of potential buyers, the application also helped to unlock untapped revenue streams for the organization by facilitating real-time data monetization.

Customer Success: Enabling Data Science and Retiring Legacy Tech Debt with a Leading Foodservice Products Distributor

Next, consider the case of a large U.S. foodservice products distributor. With immense and highly complicated supply chains under management, the distributor is deeply dependent on analytics and data science to keep operations running smoothly and efficiently. Unfortunately, as the company had grown, these mission-critical capabilities had begun to fall behind the needs of the business: manual data prep tasks were slowing down important processes, and the company was finding it more and more difficult to find and retain the data talent they so desperately needed.

Enter Hakkoda with the introduction of a new data strategy and a modern data stack. By leveraging the features of Snowflake and dbt, Hakkoda’s data teams worked with the distributor to establish and standardize patterns for ingesting and transforming data while building a metrics layer across various business-driving dimensions and harmonizing metrics into downstream data products, allowing complete lineage and data observability. The result was a robust new set of analytics and data science capabilities that could track vital metrics from across whole supply chains and extract actionable insights using curated dashboards, reports, self-service analytics in tools like Tableau and Sigma. The Hakkoda team also empowered the distributor’s internal talent with a common business intelligence bus that seamlessly integrated with Alation data catalogs. 

By automating many of the distributor’s most grueling manual processes, Hakkoda allowed them to retire legacy technology tech debts while shipping data products faster than ever before.

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Customer Success: Shipping Data Products Faster with an International Shipping Logistics Giant

Finally, consider one more case: that of an international shipping logistics company providing trusted supply chain services to the world’s leading companies through a unique mix of adaptable technology and operational excellence. Their needs were straightforward enough—they needed to be able to deliver their products faster, which required stepping away from the limitations of their legacy systems and moving onto a centralized cloud platform that would allow them to receive high volumes of clean, usable data from around the world.

The result was a Snowflake migration that aligned the company’s data architecture and practices with their organizational strengths and core business needs. This process, which included the migration of hundreds of SQL Server tables to Snowflake, allowed them to retire more than $120,000 worth of legacy technology debt, and aligned the company with Snowflake’s product roadmap and best practices, laying the foundation for future data science and artificial intelligence initiatives.

Bringing Supply Chain Management into the Cloud with Hakkōda

As the success stories above have already illustrated, no two businesses—whether in the distribution and supply chain industry and elsewhere—come to their modernization journey with the same list of pain points and requirements. Fortunately, the beauty of the modern data stack lies in its ability to accommodate a wide array of strategies and business objectives, effectively marrying data infrastructures to the operations they serve. 

Whether your business is looking to break down data silos across departments and geographies with a unified source of truth, wants to ship its data products faster while collecting greater insights from procurement to delivery, or is ready to turn the data you already have into a revenue-generating asset, new possibilities await your business in the cloud. 

And Hakkoda is here to help you get there. Our data consultancy teams consist of the perfect blend of industry veterans who understand your business’s unique goals and challenges and of certified data talent with deep understanding of the latest and greatest the modern tech stack has to offer.

Ready to streamline your operations, unlock actionable insights, and turn your data into your most valuable asset? Let’s talk today.

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