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How Data and Business Intelligence Are Changing the Shipping Industry

Gone are the days of faxing, whiteboard flowcharts, and paper files. Today businesses are undergoing digital makeovers to make their businesses more efficient, more profitable, and to fully leverage the power of their data. By harnessing your data and marrying it to a quality business intelligence (BI) solution, you can transform data into a blueprint for the future of your business. And let’s face it, BI is no longer an optional logistics tool; as regulations increase and the demand for 100-percent transparency and trackability continue to grow, companies must have it to take control of logistics operations. Here are a few ways data and business intelligence can positively impact shipping.

Quicken the Last Mile

Did you know the last mile of shipping is unbelievably inefficient? It’s estimated to cost up to 28-percent of the transportation cost of the package! Without data and BI, it can be difficult to pinpoint how to find a solution to this shipping issue. With analytics, however, last mile information is yielding interesting data. It allows logistics professionals to see patterns to optimize delivery strategies, making that last mile a lot more efficient.

 More Efficient Routes

There’s a fine line between overcommitting and under committing vehicles and resources. Big data analytics gives companies the opportunity to find better routes and strategies for delivery. Logistics companies can see every piece of the equation, from real-time fuel costs to traffic delays to weather conditions. Using predictive analytics, logistics companies can get the edge they need to overcome these obstacles before they happen.

One of the best examples of this data usage is the “UPS drivers don’t turn left” phenomenon. UPS analyzed their data and found that by turning left only ten percent of the time they, “use 10 million gallons less fuel, emit 20,000 tons less carbon dioxide and deliver 350,000 more packages every year.” They’ve also reduced their fleet size by over one thousand and reduced their carbon footprint by 28.5 million miles. This is the ultimate example of how big data analytics works!

The Robots are Coming

Big data analytics also empowers automated systems to function intelligently. It’s only a matter of time before companies add Artificial Intelligence to the mix to gain better operational controls and efficiencies with real-time data and smart-equipment. In fact, Amazon is already using little orange KIVA robots to pick items in its fulfillment centers, and delivering to customers by drone if they live within 30-minutes of the center. While it still may seem a little sci-fi, data is driving a more automated supply chain, reducing inefficiencies and errors, and increasing profitability.

We’re on the edge of big data analytics evolving the nature of logistics and shipping. It’s shown to be a valuable ally in reducing inefficiencies in last mile delivery, providing transparency in the supply chain, optimizing deliveries, and automating supply chain. By embracing the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as finding a robust business intelligence software, progressive companies are reducing costs and exceeding customer expectations.



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