An interview with Langham Logistics IT director John Huybers, from Flexware Innovation’s webinar, “A Journey Toward Business Intelligence at Langham Logistics.”
When discussing Langham Logistics differentiators, we talk about our nimble experienced team, on-time service, and warehousing capabilities around the country. But one extraordinary thing works behind the scenes helping us advance in these areas and others: the way we leverage our business intelligence (BI) technology.
John Huybers, Director of Information Technology at Langham, guides our business intelligence investments. He takes ideas and transforms them into reports, dashboards, and actionable data that improve how we do business and serve customers. John, a master blackbelt, took time out to detail this journey and how the technology informs most of our work today.
Why did Langham adopt business intelligence?
Huybers: Langham sees technology as a differentiator in logistics. We’ve always heavily relied on data, but it took time to pull the information manually and massage it for the intended use. For example, we had someone dedicated to generating weekly warehouse capacity reports. The project took several hours per week and by the time the reports were ready, they’d already become outdated.
We kept our eyes on business intelligence technology. As the price declined and the capabilities expanded significantly, the time was right for us to invest. We partnered with Flexware Innovation to unite our multiple systems within the BI software as a single source of truth for data-driven decision-making. We’ve been enhancing the system ever since.
How did you get buy-in and promote adoption?
Huybers: The business wanted it. We lacked the capacity in house and moving forward with the status quo would slow our growth trajectory. Everyone from the CEO to frontline supervisors saw the value in having a business intelligence platform.
We began our BI implementation with the finance team. They experienced the ease of use and access across platforms that we didn’t previously have. No more running accounting reports or waiting for data transfers. Our CFO became an advocate and started pushing development in other areas.
What systems do you have feeding the BI platform?
Huybers: As a global logistics provider with services ranging from transportation to warehousing, we use several systems in our day-to-day work. Our business intelligence architecture works as an enterprise data warehouse. Information comes from on-premise, cloud-based, and third-party systems including:
- Manhattan Associates WMS
- MercuryGate TMS
- Great Plains accounting software
- Pipedrive CRM
- SqBx package tracking
- ADP HR management
- QT9 quality management system
- Ring Central call center metrics
Using APIs, we bring in the disparate system data and then use the BI to slice and dice it. Rather than collecting data from various places and then manipulating it, the business has a single place to go for data. In one report or dashboard they can have all the information needed in near real time.
How is Langham Logistics using business intelligence to improve performance?
Huybers: At an enterprise level, we have the Langham daily dashboard which reports on the health of our organization including volumes, on-time service by mode, and operational performance. For example, when we say that our on-time performance exceeds 98%, it’s because the dashboard pulls the data to prove it. Anything lower and people start asking questions because they can see the information. We even have the system tracking quality non-conformances by department down to the category such as training, safety, or temperature fluctuations.
The BI platform plays a significant role inside our warehouses. A dashboard shows occupied space down to a fraction of a percent for each location. We then layer in sales data from the CRM to show what’s in the pipeline. Should the projected volumes materialize, we know with near 100% accuracy how that will impact available space and which warehouses are optimal for inventory. When it comes to our long-term growth strategy, we use the data to inform when and where we should build facilities to accommodate new or expanding customers.
Maybe most unique is how we share business intelligence with our customers. Langham Logistics conducts quarterly client business reviews. We use that time to discuss the customer’s supply chain using the BI. The platform arms the team with service opportunities, network improvements, and ways to help clients manage their budgets and supply chain strategies.
We see these quarterly reviews and the depth of information shared as a unique value proposition offered by Langham. Every KPI and data element is unique to the client. The BI helps us stay nimble and ahead of customer needs. Anyone interested in seeing how we use BI to help clients can schedule a demo with our sales team.
What’s next for Langham’s use of business intelligence?
Huybers: We’re constantly expanding the capabilities of our BI software. Currently we’re involving subject matter experts within the business to design new sections of BI.
Next we’d like to bring in external data to measure ourselves against industry KPIs so we can maintain our status as a best-in-class logistics leader. I’d also like to develop a self-service option within our organization so anyone can create their own BI report or dashboard. We value the input of every associate and giving them access will help us capitalize on their firsthand knowledge and feedback. From there the possibilities are endless.
About Langham Logistics
Langham Logistics is a woman-owned door-to-door 3PL and freight management company based in Indianapolis. The company offers supply chain management, domestic and international freight services, airport logistics services, and warehouse and fulfillment services with a specialty in the Life Sciences space. The reputation of being calm, cool, and delivered echoes throughout all of Langham’s services, giving their clients the freedom to stay focused while their goods arrive on time and in perfect condition. For more information, visit www.elangham.com or email email@example.com