The role of big data in improving business operations is undeniable. With the valuable and vast amount of data offered by TMS software, logistics and supply chain managers can gain better insight into the market and their own processes. TMS software can give you live data that you can use to gain more visibility into your transportation processes and transform your operations.
If you use TMS software to manage your logistics, you have a gold mine of data that can be vital in achieving and planning business goals. The data created by such software is so valuable that it can benefit your business in many areas, including:
Improving these areas can positively influence broader business categories, including the following.
Customer satisfaction is the main objective of any business and can lead to other accomplishments. Customers who order products have universal requirements regardless of the company. For example, they want fast delivery and an efficient way to track their order after it’s shipped. They also appreciate getting updates when their orders are delayed.
However, your customers may have other expectations depending on your business type and services. If you don’t meet these expectations, you may lose your customers to the rivals who do. Using data offered by transportation analytics helps you identify what your customers want.
Customer feedback is a valuable source of insight to help you tailor your services to their needs. You can also use TMS analytics to identify their shopping trends, see what increases their satisfaction, or where your customer base is located. After finding these trends, you can use logistics data to improve your delivery services.
Knowledge is power, and it holds in business. You should be agile in identifying and predicting market trends to gain a competitive advantage over your rivals. Data from transportation analytics helps you predict customer preferences depending on your industry.
If you’re a retailer, data from TMS analytics will tell you what promotional actions lead to higher sales. This way, you can outperform your rivals and attract more customers.
Data from freight analytics can help you devise new business models and plan your next moves. This data can help you innovate and identify the main pain points nobody has noticed. Addressing these issues gives you a significant competitive advantage leading to higher customer attraction.
A significant part of your logistics is your warehouse and inventory. Having a clear picture of your inventory helps you respond to customer expectations more quickly and efficiently. You can't plan your sales strategies if you don’t know what items you have in your inventory. Plus, vendors who don’t have a clear picture of their inventory may end up with dissatisfied customers due to accepting orders that they can’t fulfill.
A good trucking analytics tool gives you real-time data on the position and condition of your stock at any stage of order delivery.
In addition, transportation companies can gain more visibility into their truck activities. Instead of relying on your gut feelings and manually collected data, you can use automated data to allocate resources. Thus, you can monitor incoming and outgoing shipments, delivery schedules, and the number of available vehicles.
A good example is idling vehicles, which can lead to significant resource losses. A freight analytics tool prevents these wastes by analyzing every shipment and allocating drivers strategically.
One of the primary purposes of using data analytics in any business is to optimize performance. Every organization should constantly assess its performance and processes to detect and address weak points. Failure to do so will cause financial losses and customer churns.
Managers use these data to assess their performance and KPIs and detect inefficiencies. You can do the same for your logistics and supply chain performance.
These assessments can encompass any part of the organization, including employees, policies, and processes. You can use this data to evaluate how your drivers strive to deliver orders on time, how to optimize your last-mile delivery processes, or if you need to rethink your organizational policies.
Transportation analytics gives you actionable data to find vulnerabilities and optimize your processes. The ultimate result of these performance boosts is higher productivity, improved quality of services, and better overall organizational success. Plus, you can respond quickly without having to wait for lengthy analytical processes.
For example, these real-time data also help you plan your routes to beat traffic and avoid adverse weather conditions, highways, or tolls to accelerate delivery.
Logistics data that you can get from TMS software allow you to track these performance metrics in real time. Geospatial data, weather, and customer-oriented data and demographics help you plan the most efficient asset allocation. As a result, you can plan your work and strictly track it to see how it performs. The trucking analytics results tell you whether you should continue the current plan.
Directly related to improved performance is reduced costs. Freight analytics provide valuable data enabling you to pick the best carriers with the lowest prices and highest performances. TMS analytics coupled with data from WMS software allows for the best asset utilization by letting you see your assets across the board.
That’s one of the leading causes of losing money in logistics because things can get out of hand easily. For example, trucking analytics show how many trucks are operational, allowing you to plan your work accordingly.
Most TMS tools offer reports after using a specific carrier service to help you assess the advantages and disadvantages. You can also see why the tool didn’t suggest a particular carrier, although it was low-cost.
Planning the best route will lead to shorter time on the road, lower fuel costs, and less wear and tear on vehicles. In addition, you can use sensors to find specific patterns in drivers’ driving habits to increase their performance and reduce fuel consumption. For example, driving faster than a particular speed can increase fuel consumption even if it’s within speed limits. You can save thousands of dollars in fuel costs by tracking your drivers’ speeding and braking habits.
Freight analytics offer detailed reports breaking down every shipment cost by distance, cargo weight, or other relevant metrics. This way, you can allocate costs and manage your financials more effectively.
You can also determine the overall cost of your shipment and transportation when the cargo leaves your warehouse until it gets to the customer. These detailed data show your earnings per shipment and allow you to reconsider your plans to increase your profits.
Transportation analytics tools give you a wide range of data to help you optimize your business’s inner processes and improve your performance. However, not all analytics are the same.
We can have different transportation analytics types depending on the insights they offer. Each type serves a unique purpose that can help businesses at a specific decision-making stage. Depending on your objectives, you may decide to use all transportation analytics types or just one. Still, they’re not discrete, as all types are interrelated.
As the name suggests, descriptive transportation analytics focuses on depicting a clear picture of your business processes and performance. Descriptive analytics is the most familiar type because we’ve seen it in traditional analytics characterized by charts, tables, graphs, etc.
It helps you understand “what happened” and “what’s going on” with your logistics. You can identify trends and relationships between your logistics components, including order management, shipments, customer services, etc.
Descriptive analytics is the most general type that can help you see how close you are to achieving your goals. It can also tell you whether you’re moving toward your KPIs and whether you should rethink your strategies.
After detecting patterns and trends in your logistics processes, you may want to learn “why” things happened. Diagnostic analytics look for factors creating these trends in your transportation and supply chain processes. Then, you can share them with your staff to boost the good factors and eliminate the bad ones.
Diagnostic analytics use techniques like data mining, drills, and correlations to find the reasons for your business’s current state. For example, you can use diagnostic transportation analytics to determine why a particular carrier led to higher customer satisfaction or why taking a specific route slowed your delivery process.
Unlike descriptive and diagnostic analytics, which deal with historical data, predictive analytics considers future trends. Predictive data allow you to stay on top of events and foresee what lies ahead in your industry. You can use this analytics type to prepare for future disruptions and the volatile nature of the business.
You can also use predictive analytics to foresee a specific trend in your business. For example, you can reduce future risks and costs by predicting when a specific vehicle on your fleet will need maintenance and repairs. This way, you can avoid possible breakdowns while the truck is on the road to delivering an order.
The traditional ways of data interpretation, such as charts, drills, or mining, cannot show you future trends. As a result, data scientists use computer algorithms, machine learning, and deep learning to predict future trends in transportation or supply chain stages. They’re more efficient than humans because they parse through massive volumes of data to find the trends, which can be lengthy and time-consuming.
Prescriptive analytics takes things a step further compared to predictive analytics. While the latter only helps you see future trends, the former tells you the best course of action to achieve or prevent those predicted states.
You can use prescriptive freight analytics to help you pick the best carrier or take the fastest route for delivery. Although prescriptive analysis uses algorithms and machine learning to suggest optimal solutions, you may want to analyze things manually.
This way, you can involve your gut feelings in decisions that can be subjective. In addition, the software may give you several options for choosing the best one that matches your goals.
Given the benefits of transportation analytics, incorporating these tools into your processes can improve your logistics significantly. A good transportation analytics tool should have everything you need to plan, optimize, and manage your logistics processes. However, to get the best out of your tool, consider the following:
As mentioned, a transportation analytics tool can help you optimize and gain visibility in every stage of the supply chain. You should also use it to monitor and assess your strategies and how they work in everyday operations.
Thus, you should know what you want from the tool and how to achieve it. For example, do you want to see if your drivers’ driving behaviors lead to delays and higher fuel consumption? Or do you want to see whether your route optimization has effectively increased consumer satisfaction? Being specific will help you use the tool better.
After deciding on what you want from the analytics tool, you can get the right data to analyze. A TMS analytics tool generates an overwhelmingly massive amount of data that can be difficult to make sense of.
By knowing what you want exactly, you can find the data that can help you find the patterns. A good analytics tool can clean the data and give you the outliers that lead to undesirable outcomes. It should also visualize data in graphs, charts, or other convenient forms to help you decide more easily.
Using data analytics tools can be confusing. You have to go through large amounts of data to find patterns and use them to adjust your goals and strategies. As mentioned, trucking analytics tools use AI or machine learning to give you insights and advice on the next course of action.
However, if you want to give the process a more human touch, ask data analysis experts to interpret the data and suggest courses of action.