Over the course of the past few months, waves of economic uncertainty and consumer demands have disrupted the logistics industry across both local and global supply chains. As we remain in the midst of a pandemic, many of these challenges will not subside but instead, take on new forms as companies look to adapt to the impact of narrowing margins and keep lean logistics as an underlying focus.
A concern for many is building traction and resilience in the appropriate controllable areas. This includes adopting technology so as to not significantly amplify spending on top of already high operating and fixed costs, but instead increase ongoing operational efficiencies. Additionally, fluctuating manufacturing demands from the onset of COVID-19 until now have led to a unique competitive landscape in the freight brokerage industry as it relates to this digital shift. Investing in scalable and highly visible technology will give small and medium-sized freight forwarders an opportunity to remain more nimble and monitor margins as digitalization becomes widespread.
So where do logistics teams go from here? As an operational intelligence dashboard solution, we’re going to highlight the role of real-time data visualization in supporting automation and efficiency in today’s supply chains.
1. Shipment and Product Tracking
Having the bandwidth to efficiently track shipments and products within facilities must go well beyond verifying the “here to there.” With today’s changing landscape of shipping demands and requirements, usual transportation management processes cannot afford to fall short of any outdated and inaccurate data. Real-time freight and shipment dashboards that get teams up and running provide visibility into cost-related factors and metrics that encompass the entire logistics system.
This transportation and logistics dashboard example above, for example, displays costs associated with maintenance and fuel, comparing Year over Year data on a monthly basis. It also drills down into each month to show detailed cost information related to each vehicle; in addition to tracking empty miles, how much of the fleet is available, average miles and age, and insurance costs. The capabilities of this fleet management dashboard are not exhaustive of all that’s possible for managing tight margins with a cost-effective data solution – such as live delivery route KPIs.
2. Real-Time Risk Management
The financial deficit of missed opportunities to mitigate risk weighs more heavily during these critical times when responsiveness is vital. When operational and production teams can detect mistakes in the very moment they occur, they not only save future time spent on reparations but can be more agile as a result. They can look directly at areas of concern as they become aware, and even anticipate those that may require strategic pivoting before it’s too late. Proactive measures through this real-time gauge make it much more possible for logistics companies, especially small to medium-sized, to stay on top of data that will help them survive. Rather than continuing operations in a constant reactive state, it’s time leaders see real-time OI through OI software (Operational Intelligence).
3. Reliability and Transparency End-to-End
With the capacity at which so many companies in the transportation industry have to operate, it’s likely that disparate databases across departments can hinder a system at some point down the line. For example, a full-service 3PL may have their TMS, WMS, and GPS tracking system all running on separate platforms. That being said, individual facets and departments of the business may have their own checks and balances aligned and optimized, but how timely and often are they communicating among the rest?
A tightly integrated platform allows all departments and components to hold one another accountable for their delivery and accuracy. Centralizing data improves reliability in that each step is factored in, all sources are talking, and the information that needs to be seen is transparent to the appropriate users reporting on it. A system that acts as one seamless point of reference helps support a supply chain that is not hindered by data silos and remains resilient from end to end.
4. Updated Insights and Informed Decisions from the Floor-up
We’ve made it evident that a business’s processes rely on the quality and accessible data, but its individual people rely on it too. In order to monitor performance levels, reach new standard compliances, and communicate strategies for the coming months to stakeholders, leaders need their data wherever they are.
As the pandemic has surely proven, decisions can and have to be made from anywhere. This not only includes the physical location, whether it be the facility floor, the office, or at home. It also includes the available device at hand, which could be a desktop, mobile, tablet, or enterprise-wide LCD Wall Display. We know just how important it is that leaders feel informed and in the know. With a scalable dashboard solution and the power of what-if analytics, they never have to miss a step no matter how uncertain the path itself may be. Decision-making will be left for the moments that matter most to a flexible and adaptable growth, not solely on making up for lost time.
Innovation looks different for everyone today. However, what remains fundamental is seeing the opportunities to get there in an attainable way through actionable methods. What better way to discover short-term achievements that align with goals for longevity than a business solution that prepares teams to approach strategies with renewed strength.
At TruOI, we are passionate about the power data has to inform and drive impact, and our team is ready to support yours in the capacity you need. To learn more, check out more on our T&L solutions and enterprise reporting examples, or contact us to have a conversation.