July 2019 | Commentary | 3PL Line: Third-Party Logistics Perspectives

Leveraging Real Time Information to Better Manage Logistics

Tags: Logistics, Supply Chain

When it comes to shipping freight around the world, costs and on-time delivery top the list of concerns for everyone from shipping managers to CEOs. Having strong, accessible data is essential.

Robert Boyle, Vice President, NA Managed Logistics Services, Odyssey Logistics & Technology Corporation, 888-352-4409

There's strong demand for better and quicker information. If your logistics partner can identify carrier and customer performance quickly, it can help create meaningful risk profiles as well as exceptional reporting.

A global dashboard that provides this kind of information will make managing logistics more effective and easier for customers to understand, and provide better control for your shipping managers.

Traditionally, data comes in as spreadsheets produced routinely. Producing and cleansing this type of data for each customer can be cumbersome and bog down teams.

With a unified dashboard that integrates all business rules and cleansing logic, this type of data is pulled in and easily understood with different dashboard elements that are interactive and consumable, as compared to static data sheets. The synthesized, live data also is refreshed at regular intervals, typically daily or weekly, compared to once monthly.

With so much data available, what should companies consider? The short answer: Everything is transportation- relevant. Standard metrics and performance profiles such as financial and operational performance, shipment profiles, and audit and payment information are enhanced with risk-based metrics such as fuel prices, capacity, and weather. External indexes such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Energy Fuel Prices, DAT, Cass, and others provide supplemental information allowing shippers to better understand existing trends and prepare for future activity. The more data, the better.

DON'T JUST Produce, ANALYZE

To be competitive, companies need to pivot from being report producers to true business analysts. This will ultimately impact your business and create better outcomes. Dashboards loaded with data and real-time information allow you to spend more time analyzing data versus producing it.

The bottom line is quicker access to better information. As customers demand more, companies turn to logistics providers not only to manage expectations but also to analyze why exceptions are occurring and implement a solution that reduces those exceptions.

Better information can also help further refine ideas and synthesis to help draw better conclusions. For example, key supply chain stakeholders strive to understand what is happening across their global supply chain. Creating that normalized, global visibility is often a significant challenge. Providing a global view across all regions while including specific reporting nuances that are native to each region within a single platform becomes a major advantage.

Better data and real-time information are imperative to anticipate trends and do more than just survive in today's ever-changing shipping environment. Your logistics partner can not only help you protect your organization's bottom line, it should also help protect your customers from the omnipresent set of logistics challenges facing today's complex market.