Top Features to Look for in a Logistics Analytics Provider

The world is in store for an unprecedented peak shipping season. Enterprises are looking for more business intelligence and advanced insights to improve operational efficiency. For that reason, it comes as no surprise that more companies are looking to future-proof their supply chains around the demands of a 75-day peak season. As explained by a recent GlobalTranz survey, the value of logistics expertise and accountability is only growing more critical, says Supply & Demand Chain Executive: "The survey of supply chain decision-makers demonstrates that economic shutdowns and stay at home orders deeply impacted the ability to ship goods and meet delivery times, leading to shifts in business strategy. Today, businesses are still adjusting to record levels of e-commerce demand and a longer peak shipping season, typically the time associated with holiday shopping, while facing ongoing issues across the supply chain." Now, the survey didn't necessarily emphasize that companies were moving toward logistics analytics. But it did indicate that the overwhelming majority, 81% of simplifying payment processing, while 74% focus more on outsourcing logistics and transportation services. With that in mind, more companies are likely going to be outsourcing logistics analytics as a natural follow-on to outsourcing for logistics and transportation services, and it helps to focus first on finding those that offer these top features.

Logistics Analytics Should Bring Disparate Data Together Via Multiple Connection Methods

The value of logistics and shipping analytics rests within the ability to collect and aggregate data from across internal and external resources, analyze it, and make those findings easily accessible. While those individual processes represent additional features to look for within a logistics analytics solutions provider, which are discussed below, they have an extraordinary ordinary meaning. Any successful logistics analytics solution must seamlessly connect all existing systems within the supply chain's tech stack via EDI, API, or some other integration method to gain the most effective and comprehensive insights. That is critical to comb through data, identify its correlations, and present those findings in a digestible manner.

Analytics Must Offer Actionable Insights

An effective analytics solution should offer actionable insights. In other words, insights must be easy to implement and be transparent. Concise, actionable insights provide a prescription for what is necessary to achieve an optimal result. For instance, a prescribed action might be to use more multimodal transportation moves when going into various markets.

Analytics Should Cover Forward and Reverse Logistics

Since up to 30% of all e-commerce purchases result in a return, successful logistics analytics must focus on the reverse supply chain too. And while an existing TMS may offer some analytics across all modes of transportation, it could still be missing part of the external picture, such as supplier damage or mistakes. As an example, analytics may comb through data to understand returns' rates, refurbishments, warranties, and replacement requests to identify the problems in freight or marketing. And that information can then be used to reduce risk of future returns. Only by understanding what went wrong and what is happening can an organization address those problems and keep future returns' rates in check. What happens if your organization uses drop-shipping and lets the manufacturer fulfill the order?

That's an example of how a problem could lead to an increased risk of return. Instead, supply chain leaders should focus on analyzing all operations across all modes and around the clock to understand what's really happening. However, the core value remains the same, identifying the inefficiencies in transportation or the supply chain that may have contributed to the problem.

Any Business Intelligence Solution Should Enable Follow-Through for All Improvements

Analytics and business intelligence solutions should also enable follow-through for all problems identified. In other words, analytics-driven insights should prescribe a given action, offer insight into how that action will improve operations, and validate that the changes made resulted in the best outcome.

Choose a System That Automates Reporting and Performance Management With KPIs and Easy-to-Use Dashboards

An advanced analytics solution should also fully automate the reporting and performance management of all processes. That includes automated, scheduled, and interval-driven reports generation and easy-to-understand dashboards. For example, an interactive, intuitive user interface can help managers understand what is happening and support team members in recognizing areas of their performance that need to improve and provide a general measure of the business's health.

Get It All Accomplished in One Step by Partnering With Intelligent Audit

Finding the right analytics solution can be difficult at the best of times. Unfortunately, this is the most unprecedented peak season and disruption-driven shopping phenomenon in history due to the pandemic and the already existing increases in consumers purchasing online. Nothing is standard. All supply chain leaders need to seriously rethink their current use, if any, of logistics analytics to ensure they enable all the features listed above. A more straightforward solution would be to choose a provider that offers all those features in one resource, much like Intelligent Audit does. Contact Intelligent Audit online to get started on the path toward peak season improvements today.

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