Blinded Me With (Data) Science

2021 Prophecy – Bonus Prediction

In case you missed our whitepaper “Service Supply Chain Prophecy: 2021 and Beyond” and our webinar of the same name, we want to offer a bit of each of our prophecies here in our blog.

To close out our series of prophecy blogs, we’ll end with an appropriate point: that conjuring accurate “predictions” shouldn’t require psychic abilities. It requires data, not a crystal ball. Data scientists are our modern-day oracles, and more and more service organizations will invest in hiring them.

For years, you’ve heard data-centric buzzwords like IoT, Big Data, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence. But now they’re finally coming to the forefront of service organization management. As we’ve mentioned in our other prophecy blogs, service organizations are investing in tools that work with existing data, like machine learning, to harvest insights from service call history. A lot of this tech du jour also generates new data, such as product-embedded IoT solutions to deliver operational insights about equipment. In both cases, the data alone, however much raw potential it has, isn’t useful unless you know what to do with it.

Luckily, the pool of talented data scientists is growing as data intelligence becomes the new standard across industries. Just look at poll predictions in elections, or professional football, where many coaches now use data rather than hunches to formulate plays. As this trend further ingrains itself into the supply chain world, college majors like supply chain specializations in data science will also become ubiquitous.

The idea of investing in workers with modern, coveted skill sets may cause anxiety for some leaders, but consider the potential transformative effects of doing so. One of the shiniest ways that data intelligence relates to service organizations concerns a milestone we’ve pined after for years: to move from a break-fix model to a predictive, proactive maintenance model. Today, machines can tell us when they need to have a part replaced before it shuts down and disrupts your customer’s operations. That said, when companies can successfully figure out how to interpret the clues that their machines have for them, they can maintain nearly one-hundred-percent uptime.

Bottom line: As the data sets available to service organizations continue to grow, the companies that grow along with them will have a solid competitive advantage. And to evolve in this way means more than just investing in tools; it requires new kinds of professional talent.

Act Now:

  1. Don’t just invest in data-hungry and data-generating technology. Consider how you can best make use of the data.
  2. Focus on capturing the right data at the right time.
  3. Hire a data expert.

For a deeper look at this prophecy, listen to our on-demand webinar. And you can find summaries of our other 2021 predictions on this blog, too –check out our blogs predictions one, two, three, four, and five.

Mike Ross
Director of Product Strategy

Mike Ross is one of our primary subject matter experts. He has been on the Baxter Planning team since 2000, currently as Director of Product Strategy. Mike works on new feature conceptualization, requirements, and product design.

For more than 20 years Mike Ross has designed, developed, implemented, and supported off-the-shelf solutions for service parts planning that have been used at over 100 companies in a broad range of industries, including telecommunications, medical equipment, energy, imaging, printing, and aerospace. Mike has led many service-parts implementation and consulting projects and maintains solid client relationships focused on continuing education and process improvement. And in 2014, he was named as a Supply Chain “Pro to Know” by Supply and Demand Chain Executive magazine.

Mike lives in the Rochester, NY area with his wife and three amazing kids, as well as a dog, three fish, a leopard gecko, and a hedgehog. Mike and his wife enjoy running 5Ks (slowly) in their spare time.