June 2021 | Commentary | IT Matters: Logistics & Supply Chain Technology

Solving the Global Data Dilemma

Tags: Partnership, Technology , Big Data

For as much time and effort spent trying to perfect the systems and technologies we rely on for global logistics, it seems the industry has lost sight of how people actually get work done.

Nikolaus Sievers, VP of Global Customer Success, Slync.io, 518-708-3412

Logistics can be a messy endeavor. It relies heavily on human interaction both within and outside the enterprise, multiple business partners with different technologies and business rules, and clear communications across a diverse set of customers with distinct needs.

Logistics relies on processes as much as it does technology. And within those processes, a massive amount of data moves between parties by way of emails, spreadsheets, PDFs, and photos. As such, vital data can be easily lost or misused.

The Value of Data

The value of data is the highest it has ever been. But the logistics sector has a particularly hefty challenge in that a large number of parties throughout the global supply chain produce, process, and consume that data. Few players have native integrations with one another and vastly different levels of data maturity and digitization. All of this creates real barriers to unlocking and using data to its full potential within the supply chain.

On average, every shipment in the supply chain requires around 200 documents shared between as many as 28 organizations. The lack of a single system to corral the chaos between stakeholders throughout the supply chain makes the task of leveraging data seem impossible.

Data Challenge and True Cost

If data is king in logistics, then it needs to be treated like royalty. The lack of data standards, along with the way information and communications are compartmentalized and siloed between organizations, indicates that the industry is far off sharing data efficiently and turning it into meaningful, actionable insights.

People waste around 50% of their time copying and pasting data, looking up and re-keying information, or recovering from situations that are caused by manual data errors or from overlooking vital information. With cost and capacity constraints at an all-time high, companies can no longer afford to make avoidable mistakes that disrupt service and increase spend.

Logistics organizations work around the clock across multiple time zones and depend on many different business partners, technologies, and communications. By its very nature, logistics data tends to be a mess. Enterprises can't tackle the logistics data challenge with traditional systems alone. There is no one-size-fits-all approach—logistics leaders need to find a solution that applies data within the right context to accelerate and automate tried-and-true processes and workflows.

Harmonizing information across core systems, partner software, email, spreadsheets, and other data sources allows companies to tap into any data source to inform business decisions for optimal cargo flow. And by focusing on workflows, it's possible to augment existing systems and maximize their value with solutions that integrate and connect information to specific outcomes. It shifts the focus to productivity and measurable results, rather than system replacement and transformation that may be years down the road.

The global supply chain industry is estimated to reach $37.4 billion (US) by 2027. In an era when COVID-19 has brought more scrutiny to the way things are made and moved around the world, stakeholders can't afford to wait for transformation to take hold.

Now's the time to find ways to increase interoperability between business partners, control and make sense of data, and uplevel traditional, manual processes for faster and more intentional outcomes.






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