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Big data is the practice of collecting electronic information from various sources and applying analytics to identify patterns, trends, and intelligence. Leveraging big data can be extremely valuable in transportation and logistics planning. Many shippers become overwhelmed by big data and demand for solutions that simplify the process of utilizing data to make supply chain decisions is increasing. When leveraged and managed properly, big data can be used to make smarter transportation decisions and optimize supply chains.

The more data available, the more visibility the carrier has. Shippers should provide carriers with specific data on freight movement, fully outlining the gate-arrived time, time admitted and time the pick-up is confirmed. If a carrier knows that a shipper’s record indicates quick admittance to the load facility and the dock unloads the cargo quickly, they are more likely to choose you.

There is potential for significant changes, like enhancing operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Properly using and analyzing data can help:

  • develop best practices for your supply chain initiatives
  • identify inefficiencies
  • optimize freight movement
  • create a better inventory management
  • improve the customer experience
  • reduce overall cost

The analysis might point out pain points that were previously difficult to recognize, or it could help improve forecasts. For example, if a company uses big data to learn what delivery locations are profitable and which are not, it can develop a specific strategy to serve popular locations better. Or, learning purchase history and/or which products a consumer has searched for online can be analyzed to determine future behaviors. Big data makes information more transparent and usable. It provides exact information on everything, from inventories to transit times, and can impact profitability through reduced supply chain costs.

Leveraging big data allows companies to identify trends that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Using a TMS rather than traditional spreadsheets, a shipper can measure, predict and expose obstacles and solutions in the supply chain. Big data can be complex, but if analyzed properly and reviewed consistently, it can be used to drive productivity and reduce costs in your supply chain.

Infographic: Supply Chain Visibility