Technology, and more importantly, the proper understanding of data, is catapulting one of America’s oldest industries forward, and it’s just getting started. Traditionally, logistics companies operated based on relationships & trust between customers and carriers that culminated over years and years of working together. While these elements will always be important, logistics companies that want to stay competitive know if you’re not automating, you’re falling behind. Over the last few years we’ve seen a huge shift in the industry as everyone is fervently implementing and relying on technology to advance and secure their place in the extremely competitive logistics space. What are best- in-class logistics companies using to stay ahead of the game? Data.
Logistics is a fast paced industry. Spend too much time making a decision and the opportunity is gone. Act hastily and make the wrong decision, and you’ve just lost out on profits. With stakes this high, there is no room for uncertainty. Everyone, from customer and carrier reps to the CEO, has the same thing on their mind: maximizing profit. In the case of sales, you may be successful today with a few top reps who have mastered their craft over time, know the ins and outs of the industry, and have built strong relationships with customers. What about those reps just getting started though? To differentiate yourself and stay competitive, it’s important to arm every rep, on all pegs of the totem pole, with information they need to make fast decisions. Why waste time reaching out to multiple carriers to move a load if the data can automatically rank the best ones for the job? Utilizing data in this regard guarantees you can make the best decision in the least amount of time, ensuring your margins stay high and more importantly, your customers stay happy. For most logistics companies, it’s information that’s already at your disposal in systems throughout the organization. Forward thinking CEO’s know it’s their responsibility to take full advantage of the organization’s most valuable asset, its data. By prioritizing the centralization, organization, and accessibility of data across all departments, businesses can expect to start operating more optimally than ever before.
On any given day, data is flying in from every direction. There are loads to track, carriers to call, rates to analyze and that’s just before breakfast. Sure, data is getting generated internally, but what about all the data coming in from outside your organization? What’s the DAT looking like today? Are we more successful using 3rd party tools to book loads? Analyzing any of these factors incorrectly, or even worse, failing to analyze any of these at all, can have detrimental effects on your bottom line over time. But let’s think positively. Let’s focus on what’s possible when you have a process in place to collect & analyze all this data. Are your reps securing better rates? Are you correcting bottlenecks found in the process?
Increasing the use of data is an effort that should span all departments, not just something that falls in IT’s lap. Shifting focus and becoming a data-driven organization has benefits that trickle throughout the entire company. It may fall on IT to properly implement the solution, but the effort needs to be spearheaded by a united leadership team who understands that the real insights are hiding, buried deep in the data, and ready to be used and transformed into profits. From a happy finance department who can finally accurately create an annual budget to a happy marketing team who’s able to identify the most effective platforms, your company will be amazed at how quickly the benefits of well-managed data impact your day to day business.
Evi Hatzopoulos is a Data Management and Analytics Consultant at Aptitive. In her role, Evi enables companies to discover insights and access the information held by their data.