The concept of predictive analytics is one that sends many to thinking of the future. Not so for Randy McClary. He’s quickly reminded of the past.
As a champion of the theory of disruptive innovation—when a new idea is so much better than the traditional way of doing things that it completely displaces the old—what comes to mind for McClary is cassette answering machines, Beta tapes and travel agents.
“For me, it’s quite easy,” he said. “I see it. I feel it. I know that it’s coming. What’s really sad is that some people don’t see that this ‘old’ is gone. I’m living in a world where everybody is driving Edsels, and I’m driving a sports car. And they just don’t understand that there’s not a future for their Edsels.”
So let’s check out that sports car. Predictive analytics, as defined by the 2016 MHI Annual Industry Report, is “the modeling of data to identify patterns that help businesses predict behaviors and events, from inventory depletions, to machinery breakdowns, to consumer trends.” Further: “In the supply chain arena, predictive modeling allows managers to manage inventory better, plan more reliable transportation networks, and reduce variability in lead times. This can enhance service levels, lower costs and improve the bottom line.”
McClary, senior systems coordinator for Meijer, is a member of MHI’s Information Systems Solutions Group (ISSG). ISSG brings together people who are like-minded about such advances, he said, “either desiring or gravitating toward systems like this.” Also in the group: those who are already fluent because of their company’s investment and vision, “and are interested in the currency and honing of that particular skillset. You’re seeing more and more people coalesce around it because of their vocabulary and interest.”