March 14 2024 | 8 Min Read

Tips to leverage logistics analytics for your competitive advantage

Posted By
Wendy Mackenzie
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Tips to leverage logistics analytics for your competitive advantage

The value of data is growing more important as global supply chains evolve. This isn't your grandfather's supply chain, and believe it or not, your ability to tap growth is tied directly to how swiftly you act on information and apply logistics analytics. But what does that even mean in the purview of supply chain analytics

Well, as shared by Big Data Analytics News, “On average, it takes a [freight] specialist from 3 to 8 hours just to form an offer and se[nd] a price to the client. And quite often, the work done is wasted because the terms of a deal are being updated quickly and often become outdated for parties to deal with. And until recently, there was no alternative to such a process. But now there is big data.” And that data, often residing within advanced business intelligence suites, is making it easier for shippers to understand and improve their supply chains. 

But where should shippers focus and how can they make the biggest impact? Further, what’s going to help shippers best leverage analytics while simultaneously defining the best path to success? Since the grandfather clock is definitely ticking, let’s take a look at the top tips to leverage logistics analytics to create a winning competitive advantage.

1. Use APIs to get real-time data

gears of logistics analyticsTiming is everything in true supply chain optimization. But failure to oil the cogs will lead to rust between the gears and paralyze your operation. APIs, or application programming interfaces, are built to help you find these connections before processes rust solid. These moving parts need care to ensure everything is running properly. APIs make it possible to share data in real time so that your supply chain keeps on ticking. 

2. Choose strategic lead metrics for your KPIs

Another way to improve your use of logistics analytics goes back to choosing the right key performance indicators (KPIs). Now, KPIs can be a double-edged sword. Too many KPIs lead to data overload and an inability to act, and there are some KPIs that everyone wants in their companies, like on-time deliveries and orders shipped, but do those numbers have any real value? 

Sure, they show that things are working as expected, but more value can be found by looking at all the steps that come before those final results. 

In other words, on-time delivery is really a downstream metric based on on-time pickups. If the shipment leaves your facility late, due to your fault or that of a carrier, not even the best transportation management system (TMS) will do much good when you cannot make any meaningful change to the route. That’s why you need to look beyond the data outcomes and think about the histrionics of every outcome. Doing so opens the doors to new value through freight analytics and helps you know where to focus. 

3. Improve carrier relationships by holding them accountable

There are always going to be some issues that are unavoidable. Weather delays occur, and carriers could simply drop the pendulum (the ball) on the delivery. While things happen, they shouldn’t happen all the time. This is where managed transportation services can help you turn the lead metrics of step two into something more actionable, like keeping carriers accountable on your behalf. 

Rather than wasting precious moments trying to hope for the best, partners go to bat for you, and they can even go a step further by helping you to realize when and to whom you should trust with every delivery. 

4. Keep goals simple and actionable

The fourth step to using supply chain analytics effectively is simple—literally. You have to keep your goals simple and actionable. Complexity is the harbinger of missteps and improper winding in your supply chain clock. And you must be willing to think about how to simplify operations. This can take patience and a willingness to recognize that sometimes, the solution could be so simple yet so far away. 

It’s the result of being too close to the supply chain itself. Here’s an example. Freight consolidation is complex, and sure, it means needing to know what’s going where and how to get things from A to B best. But, at the end of the day, it’s about deciding what shipments can be grouped together and how you’ll stage them. And in that case, it’s not about the most complex loading plan. Rather, it could be as simple as using masking tape to outline an actual area on the floor for shipments headed for destination A and another for those headed to destination B. The same is true in analytics. Make sure you aren’t overcomplicating your analysis. If it doesn’t make sense to you, it’s probably not going to work in the end.

5. Prioritize data quality and governance

connected logistics analyticsThe last and most important step of putting the power of freight data analytics to use is often overlooked because it’s hidden by the prior four actions. Your data must be accurate. It must be properly organized. Have you ever experienced the nightmare-inducing mornings of trying to get your kids ready for school while realizing that the car keys have gone missing, while also hearing that clocking chiming away that you’re going to be late? 

Well, that’s an example of what happens when you have too much unorganized information in your mind. Yes, computers and technologies do make it easier to manage the information, but you must know where the right resources (the keys) are at when you need them. 

You need to know that they go on the hook and that they’ll be there when needed. This is data governance, and having the right key, not the key to wind the antique grandfather clock in the hall, is actually the key.

Let IL2000 manage all your logistics and analytics as that clock is always ticking

We get it. The clock’s ticking, and your customers expect you to deliver on time. We all have thousands of tiny moments and activities leading up to the spectacle of a midnight chime, but it’s important to not get so wrapped up in the grind that you overlook the simple fact that the clock is yet another tool in your journey. That’s where working with supply chain consulting experts can help you to choose the right tools—the right integrations, the right metrics, the right relationships, the simpler steps, and the scalable infrastructure needed—that will have the biggest impact on your bottom line. And that is a true competitive advantage in a world marred by disruption after disruption after disruption…after disruption. 

Explore how logistics analytics can improve your business by speaking with an IL2000 consulting engagement executive today. 

 

Topics: Logistics Management, Transportation Models, Business Intelligence

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