Every company knows about the uses for data and business intelligence to improve its supply chain and the potential advantages for the whole company. The buzzwords are everywhere: improve visibility, make better decisions, and gain actionable insights. Although these terms are admittedly part marketing-speak, all three are real-life benefits that come with the right business intelligence (BI) solution.
(TransImpact wrote a blog on the benefits of BI for a shipping operation – here.)
Mired in the murk? You’re not alone
So with the value of data understood, what’s holding companies back from using the data they have? Most fall short of even getting started, much less realizing any tangible benefits.
There are a few reasons. Do any of them sound familiar to you?
- Many companies have no ability or process to gather the data. It’s there, buried in TMS systems or old freight invoice payment data, but it never sees the light of day.
- A lot of companies that have done the hard work of consolidating data find themselves with data that is poor or incomplete. And they are not sure what to do to make it better. Bad data never magically becomes good — even with the best BI tools.
- In the off-chance you’ve got clean, complete, and organized data — you are likely not sure what the next step should be. It’s hard to know what’s next after your shipping data is dropped into a spreadsheet.
- Lastly, even companies with the data and the vision for what it can do for them get stuck and are unable to build the BI tools to make the vision a reality. Shipping BI tools require very specific industry expertise to create and constant maintenance to keep them working.
Buzzwords become reality
But don’t beat yourself up if you’re stuck on any of these four steps. Everything here is complicated. We’ll give you our suggestions on what to do about it in a moment; but first, let’s further explain those three marketing buzzwords and why they’re so important.
- Visibility – When it comes to shipping, visibility is usually thought of as track and trace. But with BI, visibility becomes more about transparency around data, cost, and even service performance. The right BI tool provides companies with the visibility to measure how they’re doing, so they can better manage.
- Make Better Decisions — Shipping in the day-to-day is all about decision-making. How to plan a load, what mode to use, and which carrier to choose all impact cost and service performance. Data-driven decisions ensure the best choices are made objectively every time.
- Actionable Insights — Turning piles of data into effective strategic decision-making is the highest achievement for BI. Modeled the right way, data and BI can provide companies with strategic direction for their supply chain, including network optimization that drives cost savings and service performance improvements.
What does all this mean?
It means it’s time to start using your shipping data and BI. There are no more excuses. Our advice for how to get started is to check out the Parcel Spend Intelligence Solution offered by TransImpact. It’s an out-of-the-box, parcel-shipping-specific data analytics tool that enables you to make use of the data you have and soon realize all the benefits of BI (finally!).