How Data Analytics influence Sustainability

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Richard Ashton

October 6, 2021
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Sustainability related to Data Analytics

Sustainability is becoming increasingly vital for our future, as businesses we need to be aware of our impact in terms of our carbon footprint, but also in terms of reducing waste within our businesses.

Typically when thinking about sustainability and being green, the 1st things that are often put in our minds are energy, fuel and re-cycling. However, sustainability can be influenced by wastage across a business, and wastage can be linked to any unnecessary activities that lead to increased output and costs.

Wastage can take many forms which may not be immediately identifiable as a sustainability related output, but activities such as process time, journeys, stock and resource allocation all contribute and influence the overall efficiency of a business, its costs and its environmental impact.

Reducing wastage can be achieved using data. Systems produce data, processes produce data and people produce data. Data Analytics identify and measure business activities, catching details of where problem areas are and identifying the relevant action.

You can see the patterns that appear in your business and this information helps you adapt your workflows and optimise operational activities to reduce wastage in your business and improve sustainability.

Getting started isn’t as hard as it may seem, and the rewards and cost savings are significant.

How, well let’s start with stock.

You know how much stock you have onsite or storage, you know what you have sold or delivered over the past number of months and years.

You can use this to predict based upon previous levels how long each item of stock will last across you network.

Benefits; Reduction of food wastage, fuel cost, energy costs, additional ordering costs, etc.

Moving on to Workflow and processes.

Time is valuable and spending too much time on manual or repetitive processes is a waste. By modelling process flows and allocating time and effort you can identify pinch points, the cost and explore the potential of automation and efficiencies.

This also helps identify additional wastage created by manual processes such as paper or packaging.

Benefits; Time savings, improved accuracy/lower errors, reduction of physical waste.

Finally, Resources.

You can analyse and understand your patterns of high and low demand, whether that is contact centre, retail or logistics. You know your overall staff levels, shift patterns, skillsets and delivery routes.

Combining both allows you to use data to effectively match resource to demand and predict when your busy and quiet periods may be moving forward a ensure accurate resourcing levels.

Benefits; Improved customer service. Removal of unnecessary journeys. Lower fuel and energy costs. Happier staff.

Not all wastage is created by the 1st action or process, it is often the 2nd or 3rd that has the direct impact on your sustainability.

You have greater control of your ability to improve by using data to measure, learn and adapt your behaviours as being more efficient is not only good for green credentials, but it also reduces your costs and is good for your profit margins.

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