How to More Strategically Leverage Your Data

leverage data

Learning how to leverage data into practical actions is an important part of running any type of business. And when it comes to the logistics industry, this data is what drives the entire process. Generating reports is an everyday practice for larger supply chains.

All that data paints a very detailed picture of the business. This can then be analyzed to determine weak areas and potential solutions.  Finding strategic ways of leveraging data not only helps a logistics business grow, but it’s also a critical learning tool for learning how to improve the customer experience. 

In this blog post, we'll be taking a look at 10 highly-effective strategies for leveraging the data you collect into producing measurable results.


Collecting the Right Data

Data is only good if it’s practical and applicable to the solution you’re looking to improve. There are all sorts of types of data that can be captured through your supply chain on a daily basis. Some of the operations that data is pulled from may not even be something you need to improve upon, or maybe there are other areas that need it more.

Leverage data with a good level of discernment. 

The key to any data collection program is to capture information that helps your specific business volume, size, and scope. Access to accurate, time-sensitive, and practical data is the first step that all logistics companies must take. 


Outline Goals and Create Plans 

While data collection is important, collecting it without a plan tends to create more problems than it cures.

It is crucial for a supply chain business to outline goals and objectives for the entire data collection process. Establish KPIs, set goals, and identify areas that you already know you need to focus on and go from there. 


Follow Industry Trends – But Don’t Be Afraid to Trust Your Instincts

Another common mistake made by logistics companies is following trends in the market.

This one is really dependent upon how well the market trends are doing at any given time. Just because it is a trending process doesn't necessarily mean it is the right solution for you or even that it produces results.

While it is crucial to fall in line somewhere along in the industry, it’s just as crucial to trust your instincts. Analyze data points from your competitors match it up with your own business model. If it feels right to you and you can back up the reasoning for applying it to your supply chain, go for it.

On the other hand, if it doesn't sit right with you, look for other solutions.


Ensure You Have the Right Data Collection Tools

Don't spend a lot of time and money on collecting data if you don't have the proper technology to analyze or collect that data in an organized fashion. If you’re not 100% clear as to which platforms are best equipped for the data collection program you’ve invested in, contact a 3PL to help you choose the right solution.


Use the Data to Help with Forecasting 

Most logistics professionals leverage data to help them prepare for the future.

However, using data to provide advanced forecasting assistance can help you anticipate potential disruptions in service. Always plan to create a 12 to 18-month forecast based on the data you collect for optimal results. 


Step Up Your TMS Solutions 

Modern transportation management systems (TMS) can help you improve your data collection and reporting tools.

Cloud-based TMS solutions can be configured with reporting features that help you plan a majority of your shipping process. From capacity and volume stats to freight tracking, a TMS holds a wealth of data to be explored.


Collect Data that Helps You Discover Better Carriers

An often-overlooked area of supply chain data collection is analyzing data about the efficiency of your suppliers, carriers, and other network providers.

Data collection helps you gain a big-picture perspective on your entire supply chain operation. And yes, this includes the performance of carriers. Utilizing a carrier management system is a helpful and affordable tool that pays dividends by keeping all carriers accountable. 

Seeing fewer sales? It may have something to do with slow delivery speeds or constant delays from your carriers.

Getting more damaged returns? This could tell you that your carriers are not strapping packages down securely.


Focus on Improving End-to-End Visibility

No matter what part of the logistics space you serve, all customers are seeking improvements in end-to-end visibility.

Consumers are increasingly seeking more efficient ways of tracking the products they order. A smart and proactive logistics business will leverage data that helps them determine what tracking methods work best, to achieve a fully transparent supply chain.

A little transparency goes a long way with customers and partners alike. Ask them what types of things they would like to have access to. If you can give that to your customers and business partners, you will avoid a lot of future headaches.


Never Forget Customer Service

Sometimes data collection can distract stakeholders by focusing solely on the numbers.

But, it’s just as critical to determining if making changes in operations based on that data is going to negatively impact customer service. Specifically, some things look great on paper, they don't always work as intended.

Furthermore, data collected for the wrong reasons is bad data. 


Partner with the Right 3PL

An experienced third-party logistics company like Redwood Logistics can help you analyze the data you’ve collected; help create reporting functions that are easy to navigate and review and provide solutions that help you improve your supply chain movement. 

If you’re thinking about enhancing your data collection capability or would like to learn how a 3PL can help you optimize your supply chain functions through predictive intelligence or other technology, contact Redwood Logistics today.