Big Data? You Can’t Even Manage Small Data!

Transport Topics reports cutting edge shippers are mining information about freight delivery and conditions to improve timeliness and quality of their service. Fleet operators are mining equipment maintenance data to detect trends; some even mine data from social media. These early adopters are leaving companies that don’t even have a TMS (or those that have outdated systems) behind.

The potential to capture significant competitive advantage with Big Data strategies is phenomenal. But, before you get too excited about applying big data to supply chain logistics management, make a sober assessment of your organization’s readiness to leverage this amazing new capability. Chances are, you’re not nearly ready to play in the big leagues.

If you cannot quickly and accurately answer the following questions, you’re definitely not ready to engage these cutting edge Big Data strategies.

1) How many shipments did your move inbound and/or outbound over the last 12 months?
2) How many empty miles did your fleet produce over the last month (for private/dedicated fleets only)?
3) Who are your top 5 best and top 5 worst performing carriers and why?
4) Can you provide an accurate breakdown of freight spend and volume by mode (TL, LTL, air, rail, etc.)?
5) What percentage of overall freight spend was allocated to the spot market over the previous quarter ?

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If you don’t already have TMS or any logistics IT solution in place, consider taking a product demo today. The business case for ROI into logistics IT is solid and proven.

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The purpose of pointing this out is not to discourage shippers from embracing advanced new technologies for supply chain management. Rather, it is to provide a wake-up call about their respective capabilities. Supply chains are one area where efficiency gains translate quite directly to improvements in competitive advantage. Visibility into such metrics as carrier performance, mode selection, spot market utilization and others enabled by logistics IT solutions provide serious cost savings and productivity increases.

Witnessing larger players diving headlong into next generation tech-driven strategies like Big Data should underscore for those shippers not yet even using (or fully realizing the potential of) logistics IT solutions like TMS the extent to which they’re falling behind.

The good news is, if you’re a transportation manager or logistics planner excited by the potential inherent in Big Data as applies to supply chain optimization, the first step in realizing that goal is to engage a strong Transportation Management System solution integrated with optimization tools, yard management tools etc. Make sure to select a TMS that offers robust integration capability with other data systems like ERP, YMS and the telematics systems gaining traction among fleets.

By implementing and leveraging a solid TMS platform, a shipper gains the ability to record all manner of transactional data which provides the basis for visibility into the drivers of success or failure and the analytics tools to make sense of the data. From there, it is a much more plausible pathway to the incredible promise of Big Data.

If you do not already have a TMS deployed, what are the next steps?

1. Engage a logistics IT expert and sign up for a solution demonstration
2. Figure out your potential for return on investment into an IT solution
3. Move ahead of the laggards and start embracing technology

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