Big data, and data analysis, have revolutionized almost every industry, and the ways that we do business. One area where it’s making a significant difference is in freight management. Thanks to analytics, shipping and receiving departments have the capability to be more productive than ever, while also saving time and resources.
Although analytics have made a difference in multiple areas, several stand out in particular. If you are considering implementing a freight analytics program into your business, here are five ways it can help boost productivity.
How to Make Your Business More Productive with Freight Analytics
All too often, when problems occur within the supply chain, businesses are forced to react. In short, unless they know exactly where their freight is, and where it’s headed next, they can only respond to problems after they occur.
By implementing analytics tools and procedures, though, you gain insight into your cargo and freight handling that allows for more efficient planning and response to potential issues and more agility within the supply chain. For instance, using data can help you locate and schedule more open loading docks. This ensures that drivers spend less time waiting at docks to load and unload freight, allowing them to be more productive with their time. Within trucking, time is money, and developing a reputation for responsiveness and accurate, data-based planning can improve relationships with carriers. And when you’re known for being carrier-friendly, you can reap additional benefits, including cost savings.
Claims are costly. Not only do you lose money on shipping and product cots, but you also lose time in reshipping products. Especially during times of tight turnarounds, shortages, and increasing demand, lost or damaged shipments can disrupt the supply chain, and slow down productivity.
By using analytics collected from tools like a temperature indicator and impact sensors, you can anticipate issues and begin mitigating them before they disrupt productivity.
Improve Route Planning and Optimization
Everyone wants fast, affordable shipping. Analytics makes this possible by providing detailed insights into every aspect of the shipping process, from the time required to pick and pack to the cost per mile for shipments. Real-time, detailed analytics provide insights into these key metrics, allowing shippers to select carriers based on who will be most efficient. And from a carrier standpoint, analytics allows for better route planning and optimization, ensuring that trucks arrive on time. Predictive analytics can help pinpoint potential disruptions, giving all parties the opportunity to be proactive and avoid costly disruptions.
Improve Delivery Timeliness
Optimizing route planning offers multiple advantages, one of which is improved delivery timeliness. Shippers can choose carriers that have the best on-time performance for specific lanes and routes, but they can also make more efficient choices about which shipments need to be expedited. Expediting shipments increases costs in the interest of maintaining productivity and customer relationships, but with greater insight into carrier performance and operations, you can achieve the same results at a lower cost.
Applying the resources of freight analytics to better prepare for future events can also improve productivity and cost savings. For example, when a carrier has insight into a shipper’s needs and inventory planning process, they can help better time shipments, reducing both shipping costs and inventory costs, while ensuring that freight arrives where it’s needed on time.
Risk is inherent in any supply chain, but the greater the insight into the risk, the easier it is to mitigate. Using predictive analytics helps shippers identify inventory advantages – and brewing shortages — to meet changing levels of demand and be nimble in navigating trends. When a shipping manager or transportation planner has access to sales forecasts and data from current trends, they can more effectively manage shipping schedules and ensure there is capacity.
Data also helps shippers and carriers better analyze the risk of certain business relationships. From on-time performance to claims to trends within specific industries, big data provides information about companies that allow for smart decision making and loss mitigation. In other words, even the lowest rates on the market cannot make up for dismal on-time performance or a history of damaged freight, and it may be worth paying more for more reliable service.
These are just some of the ways that an analytics program can improve the productivity of your organization. By focusing on constant, data-driven improvement, you can reduce the likelihood of disruptions and increase productivity, and eventually, earnings.