Jan 10th 2018
Why Tesla, 3M, and Nike Supply Chain Orgs are Hiring Sr Data Scientists in 2018
By: Krista Caldwell
How are supply chain organizations deploying advanced analytics? Public job postings show that hot-commodity Sr Data Scientists are tackling expensive supply chain problems for at least ten companies, which vary from forecasting aftermarket service part requirements at Tesla to optimizing carton sizes for shipping at Wayfair.

It's time supply chain organizations tap big data

According to McKinsey, in the next two to three years Industry 4.0 innovations—the Internet of Things, advanced robotics, analytics, and big data — will:

1 - Lower operational costs by 30%
2 - Reduce lost sales by 75%
3 - Decrease inventories by up to75% percent

Additionally, companies that aggressively digitize their supply chains can expect to boost the annual growth of earnings before interest and taxes by 3.2 percent—the largest increase from digitizing any business area—and annual revenue growth by 2.3 percent.

What will Supply Chain Data Scientists do?

To assess whether supply chain organizations are transitioning to Supply Chain 4.0 by hiring senior data scientists, we reviewed and found and analyzed relevant job postings from Nike, 3M, Lockheed Martin, Cisco, Huawei, Moen, Wayfair, Tesla, Ford, and Advance Auto Parts.

The job postings show how supply chain organizations are leveraging advanced analytics. Many of the roles are at High Tech companies, which aligns with MGI's Industry Digitization Index that found high tech and telecom industries invest most in supply chain digitization.

Several of the roles include responsibilities to launch supply chain data initiatives, hinting that these data scientists will embark into uncharted territory. For example, Huawei requires someone to "act as a thought leader and core architect to design next-generation supply chain for Huawei". Similarly, Wayfair is hiring someone to "Oversee the execution of the technology roadmap for the Supply Chain Intelligence platform" and Moen is hiring someone to "Develop a strategy to employ advanced analytics in Supply Chain, collaborating enterprise-wide to identify and solve complex and impactful problems".

Should more supply chain organizations be hiring?


We were a little surprised at the limited number of positions we found for Sr Data Science roles in Supply Chain.

We hypothesize:

1 - Companies are investing in Data Science, but they're all working on Marketing, Product, etc.. When McKinsey compared digitization investment within companies, they found that Supply chain organizations have the lowest digitization level of five business areas that were examined and only 2 percent of the surveyed executives said the supply chain is the focus of their digital strategies... In such a fierce job market for data scientists (my company's top data scientists are routinely approached to lead data science teams for $300k/year), companies might be investing their limited data science budgets in other divisions with more adoption and less perceived risk.

2 - Maybe supply chain execs are choosing to adopt Supply Chain 4.0 capabilities by working closely with consultants, or collaborating with third parties and startups to access top talent and are motivated to build success stories.

3 - Supply chain Sr Data Scientist roles could be embedded in centralized analytics departments that contribute to Supply Chain initiatives, which we could not identify in our search. Or maybe we're just not good job searchers!
The Job Postings
Below, we included the posting companies, titles, links (in orange), and excerpts that describe key supply chain responsibilities.

***No Sr Data Scientist was queried in research for this article! We searched for Sr Data Science roles within supply chain organizations on Indeed.com. We searched for roles that require advanced degrees in quantitative fields and programming skills in R, Python, Spark, SQL, Hadoop, SAS, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), which are required for analyses on large datasets.

We hope these examples are equally helpful and exciting to other data-lovers pushing the boundaries of supply chain efficiency. We enjoy talking shop and sharing our ML Demand Forecasting experiences so please don't hesitate to reach out and/or comment.


Role in the Supply Chain:

  • "Develop new sophisticated algorithms and improve existing approaches based on statistical/econometric models, machine learning techniques and big data solutions to forecast the demand for Nike's product portfolio".

  • "Be a key contributor to the building, scoring, implementing, tracking, updating and promoting Nike's central forecasting platform that provides actionable insights and supports critical business and investment decisions".
Role in the Supply Chain:
  • "Enhance the use of data, analytics, and modeling to increase forecast accuracy within the demand planning and consensus processes to drive service, cost, and cash improvement across the company".
  • "Support the IBP project as well as other strategic, high impact initiatives to drive value creation while designing and deploying next generation forecasting processes".
  • "Collaborating with business, area, and process leadership to scope, prioritize, and execute projects to improve forecast accuracy".
  • "Leveraging global big data and modeling tools to optimize and test hypothesis via complex simulations".
  • "Collaborating with demand process teams to improve design and deployment of forecasting processes, tools, and methods".
  • "Leveraging various forecasting methods including time series, dynamic regression modeling with regularization methods e.g., LASSO, econometric methods (external, economic indicators), and non-linear methods e.g., neural networks".
Role in the Supply Chain:
  • "Developing world-class process and tools for integrating machine learning, statistical computing, and artificial intelligence into everyday business critical processes ranging from inventory optimization, consumer segmentation, to multichannel marketing optimization".
  • "Integrating machine learning/data science processes into business operations".
Role in the Supply Chain:
  • "The Global Supply Chain Performance Analytics and Solutions Team drives business benefits for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control by applying industrial engineering/management science, statistical analysis/analytics with application and automation enhancement strategies to improve transactional efficiency, revenue realization and risk management".
  • "Inventory and supply chain optimization, forecast modeling, user interface/user experience enhancements with automation".
"Support the creation of inventory, and price optimization models".
Role in the Supply Chain:
  • "Help Cisco Supply Chain define future roles as you drive automated and orchestrated solutions across one of the largest supply chains in the world. You will help supply chain leaders make decisions wisely, while taking into account inventory levels, manufacturing capacity, quality and delivery commitments, to increase customer sentiment, improve product margins, and optimize our supply chain design".
  • "Lead portfolio of predictive analytical projects supporting Inventory Management, Manufacturing, Fulfillment, and Logistics Operations".
Role in the Supply Chain:
  • "Lead Huawei global supply chain transformation and innovation, act as thought leader and core architect to design next-generation supply chain for Huawei".
  • "Deeply research and provide insight for the advanced Supply chain technology (such as IoT, Big Data technology, Artificial Intelligence etc.) and the future development trends, research and apply the best practice and technology to Huawei supply chain business".
Role in the Supply Chain:
  • "Developing a strategy to employ advanced analytics in Supply Chain, collaborating enterprise-wide to identify and solve complex and impactful problems, and elevating Supply Chain's advanced analytics expertise".
  • "Lead the development and implementation of a clear vision and strategy to employ supply chain analytics to improve customer experience, costs, and inventory productivity".
  • "Build positive and productive relationships with Supply Chain, Business Units, customers, suppliers, and other functions within GPG to create and leverage advanced analytics".
  • "Provide advanced analytics teaching and coaching for Supply Chain associates to significantly increase organizational expertise".
Role in the Supply Chain:
  • "Serve as the go-to source for analytics needs for the Wayfair Operations team: from Transportation & Logistics to Warehouse Operations & Inventory Positioning".
  • "Example Projects:
  • Building statistical forecasts of Wayfair orders by product category. These models drive millions of dollars of real estate and capital investment decisions for our warehouses, cross-docks, and other Wayfair-operated facilities.
  • Combining time series forecasts, business forecasts, and planned changes to our supply chain network to guide capacity planning, including expansion to new markets.
  • Creating an event simulation to identify capacity constraints under various scenarios. Identify cost-effective solutions for relieving those constraints".
Role in the Supply Chain:
  • "Oversee the execution of the technology roadmap for the Supply Chain Intelligence platform, ensuring that we're pushing the bounds of creativity and innovation, consistently executing at a high level. You will work cross functionally with senior management, making appropriate project-related tradeoffs across brands and measuring success of the team's initiatives".
  • "The Supply Chain Intelligence team is responsible for reducing internal costs and enhancing the customer experience through the development of tools and algorithms that optimize replenishment and fulfillment decisions in the Wayfair network. The team works with business partners across replenishment, warehouse management, transportation, operations and finance to define areas of impact. It then works to peel back these impact areas to understand more specific opportunities to optimize warehouse fulfillment strategies, order allocation, carrier services and selections, and outbound carton selection. This includes working with Operations Research and Data Science teams to prototype and implement predictive algorithms, working with Strategic Finance analyze post deploy progress, and most importantly partnering with our engineering team to scope, code and deploy these products we are responsible for."
  • "Example initiatives you will lead:
  • Carrier and Route Selection -
    • Support transportation and carrier relation team initiatives to balance carrier route volume and offer additional value add services to customers, while decreasing customer order to delivery timelines and transportation costs. To lead these initiatives, the product manager will need to
      • Supplier Selection - Develop and continually improve the algorithm that allows Wayfair to select the supplier warehouse a customer's order will fulfill from in milliseconds before the checkout process, optimizing for customer experience and Wayfair's total fulfillment costs. This includes translating the business requirements for a global e-commerce company into actionable decisions.
      • Cartonization -
      • Interpret freight, small parcel, middle mile, and last mile logistics requirements.
      • Improve our system capabilities to predict the right carton for an order to increase units per carton and decrease unused shipping volume. This also includes defining similar logic to optimize pallet and container fullness.
Role in the Supply Chain:
  • "Create and manage statistical forecasts, design process improvements and next generation algorithms, and perform analytics for Global Service Operations. We are responsible for the forecasting of all part and accessory materials for Tesla's Service Centers and Distribution Centers".
  • "Gather intelligence from Production, Procurement, Logistics, Reliability Engineering, Quality Engineering and Field Service teams to inform your models".
  • "Create and deliver statistical forecasts for all service parts and accessories, design process improvements and next generation algorithms, and perform analytics on daily to weekly basis".
"Goal 90% forecast accuracy across multiple offset and aggregation KPIs".
Role in the Supply Chain:
  • "Supporting Ford's Procurement Organization and developing approaches that optimize their $100+B spend. You will collaborate with partners in product development, manufacturing, purchasing, warranty, material planning, logistics and other Ford activities to define problems, identify data, develop predictive & prescriptive models and deliver optimization solutions".
  • "Support the development and delivery of analytic models using skills such as data acquisition and management, algorithm design, and model development & refinement".
Role in the Supply Chain:
  • "Support the product assortment process through the use of data mining techniques to provide actionable business insights. Key functions include demand planning and optimal product assortment generation. Activities include data discovery and preparation, developing predictive, forecasting and unsupervised models, evaluating solutions, and generating dashboards and ad hoc reports".
  • "Use of SAS Enterprise Miner or SPSS Modeler to create predictive models, unsupervised learning explorations. Use of SAS Forecasting procedures or Forecast Server to generate demand forecasts".
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