April 2014 | Sponsored | Knowledge Base

Fusing Big Data and the Supply Chain: The Future is NOW

Tags: Logistics I.T., Transportation Management, Transportation

Jim Taylor is Vice President, Information Technology, Transportation Insight, 877-226-9950.

Only 8% of shippers and 5% of 3PLs surveyed have implemented Big Data initiatives involving the supply chain, according to the 2014 18th Annual Third-Party Logistics Study produced by Dr. C. John Langley and Capgemini Consulting. Conversely, nearly all shippers and third-party logistics providers believe Big Data is vital in future 3PL efforts to help shippers improve tactical and strategic operation of their supply chains. A similar study by eyefortransport shows 84% of executives working in supply chain or logistics think that Big Data will have a significant impact on their company.

If the demand among shippers and 3PLs for Big Data solutions is so high, why haven't more of them built and implemented their own?

Expense clearly is a factor. Leading enterprises capitalizing on Big Data are investing millions in technology and human capital to capture those elusive strategic insights in the cloud. Data management challenges are also a major obstacle to development. According to Langley, only half of shippers and 3PLs surveyed have access to necessary supply chain and operations data to construct viable Big Data solutions. Langley states that other major challenges are "a disconnect between internal supply chain and Information Technology operations and a lack of supporting IT infrastructure."

Popular first steps toward incorporating Big Data in the supply chain focus on leveraging structured data in spreadsheets and databases to improve supply chain visibility, geo-location/mapping and product traceability. But there's more than that to a Big Data solution. Recent statistics show the following:

  • More than 90% of data in the world today has been created in the last two years, with 80% of it being unstructured, such as images, audio, video, social media, web pages and emails.
  • 1.8 trillion gigabytes of new data were created in 2011.
  • Data is expanding at a rate that doubles every two years.
  • By 2020, the digital universe will be 40 trillion gigabytes.
  • Most U.S. companies have at least 100 terabytes stored.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is another significant factor that is shaping the supply chain. By some estimates, in 2020 we will see over 200 billion devices/sensors/gizmos collecting data from manufacturing line throughput to Point of Sale (POS) information, all in real time.

But how do shippers leverage all of this data—and a growing list of data sources—to improve their decision-making? Where do they store that data once they obtain it?

Leading the development of powerful Big Data solutions is LEAN Enterprise Logistics Provider Transportation Insight. Insight Fusion™, Transportation Insight's proprietary interactive business intelligence engine, assimilates and fuses data from multiple, disparate sources and formats, transforming it into actionable business intelligence delivered directly to clients. Clients then use that powerful BI to orchestrate time-critical supply chain activities. As a result, clients obtain competitive advantage they might have never envisioned.

Transportation Insight clients are turning to Insight Fusion as the answer to their Big Data challenges because it:

  • Makes information more transparent, usable and available
  • Provides accurate operational information on everything from inventories to transit times
  • Sharpens understanding of variations and boosts performance
  • Encourages better customer segmentation to improve targeting of products or services
  • Supports creation of sophisticated analytics that enable real-time decision-making rather than reaction to historical trends
  • Improves the next generation of goods and services
  • Offers access to a web-based Big Data solution that grows with their business, without massive capital investment
  • Impacts profitability through reduction of supply chain costs
  • Enhances demand planning and sales and operations planning

By partnering with Transportation Insight, shippers leverage this innovative technology to realize these benefits. Executive leaders understand the enormous potential in strategically leveraging supply chain data to win in their industry and increase long-term enterprise value.

Transportation Insight helps companies overcome complex Big Data challenges. Further, Transportation Insight's bundled logistics solutions empower clients to become better companies by improving processes, reducing logistics-related costs and providing strategic business insight. Insight Fusion, Transportation Insight's game-changing business intelligence tool, allows clients to access and manage massive volumes of fused and unintegrated data, to accurately interpret that data with end-to-end visibility and to adapt to supply chain changes with high velocity.


Transportation Insight is a global Enterprise Logistics Provider. Transportation Insight offers a Co-managed Logistics® form of 3PL, carrier sourcing, freight bill audit and payment services, state-of-the-art transportation management system (TMS) applications and business intelligence tools including interactive Big Data solution Insight Fusion™. Offerings include domestic transportation, international logistics, supply chain analytics, warehouse sourcing, Extended LEAN® consulting and supply chain sourcing of indirect materials. For more on Transportation Insight's end-to-end solutions, call 877-226-9950 or visit www.transportationinsight.com.