Leveraging Data for Speed and Efficiency
Constant optimizations drive transportation and logistics (T&L) processes. To compete in this ever-evolving sector, you need to be able to take full advantage of the data at your disposal. Here are the critical steps you can take to manage your T&L data to best optimize for efficiency, price, and speed.
Share information. Data is generated constantly throughout the product journey. Still, there are too many gaps in the available data. For example, you may have information about a specific shipment from one location to another, but does it connect to any data related to the order's placement, or its final destination? Having end-to-end visibility can help maximize efficiency by revealing opportunities for optimization. A centralized data management system allows you to view and monitor the different steps of the product journey holistically.
If you want to have a clear view of live data coming from a variety of different data sources and real-time systems, dashboards work great. If you have real-time data coming from, say, an active barcode on a package or truck with GPS tracking, you need a real-time way to analyze it. If you can spot trends in the data as fast as it is coming in, you can make immediate improvements and gain meaningful insights. Streamlining and reporting using one dashboard leads to better communication and provides more opportunity to gain actionable insights from the data.
Clean up your data. Data cleaning is the process of identifying and fixing or removing inaccurate information from your data network. Companies that do not have a plan in place to build and maintain data cleansing will run into some major roadblocks the more data they collect.
The first step is to develop unified data standards for recording information. When you fail to do so, data is more difficult to use and share with others. This leads to further gaps in your data. Another simple change that you can make for cleaner, higher-quality data is to stop having employees enter data manually. Instead, automate your systems when possible to streamline your process, mitigate human error, and clean up existing data.
Invest in more technology and talent. If you want to manage data more effectively, you need to treat analytics and data reporting as more than just a side project. Give it the focus it deserves by investing in more effective technology and data talent.
From optimization to automation, many great technologies can help logistics companies run as efficiently as possible. Just make sure that you have the right systems in place to manage, analyze, and visualize all the data coming in from various sources.
When developing talent, you can form your data team internally or use an external consultant, depending on what makes sense for your business. To move the needle quickly, an external team that specializes in AI, machine learning, and logistics, may be your best option.