Using Shipping Data for Peak Season Preparedness Relies on Actionability

Peak season shipping planning is underway for shippers. Shippers should expect a surge in shipping volumes and tight capacity due to a historic rise in e-commerce transactions. These factors are driving shipping costs higher and shippers need to prepare. According to Supply Chain Dive, shipping "prices have fluctuated wildly. A survey by Resilience360 and Business Continuity Institute found 37% of shippers had seen their air transport disrupted by the pandemic — the highest rate among the freight modes. The decreased capacity and high rates made it difficult to find space through the pandemic." Further, according to the article, 15% of ocean transport experienced problems.

Freight and parcel carriers have experienced disruption with record-shattering demands. For shippers to prepare, they need visibility into shipping data. The data must flow into a logistics analytics platform that provides actionable insights. Read on about the costs of not using holistic shipping data, how shipping data creates insights, and how to use those insights to enhance peak season shipping efficacy.

The Costs of Limited Shipping Data for Peak Season Preparedness and Execution

The costs of limited shipping data are high. Without data, shippers are making decisions without considering the whole picture. Understanding your company's shipping data is key to keeping your shipping costs down. That's intuitive for most business leaders. You can't reduce spending on overweight packages or long-distance shipments if you don't know how much you spend in the first place.

But gathering that data is much harder than it sounds.

Detailed transportation and logistics analytics about zone distribution, weight distribution, carrier performance and surcharges are available in carrier invoices. But invoices aren't designed for in-depth big data analytics. They include hundreds of columns and rows and hardly any formatting. Analyzing these documents in real-time can take up hours of employee time.

The more data that a company has to analyze, the more likely it is that there will be anomalies within that data that will negatively impact accurate calculations.

Before a shipper can optimize transportation management, they must first examine and analyze their current practices. Without normalized shipping data, this kind of analysis is impossible.

A shipper's lack of collecting, normalizing, and analyzing shipping data may contribute to poor customer experiences. As consumers have many options, a poor shipping experience may push customers to your competitors. Without actionable insights provided by the business intelligence platform, shippers will decrease operational efficiency and spend more on shipping costs, hurting the bottom line.

End-to-End Transparency and Actionable Insights That Leverage Real-Time Data Add Value

The modern supply-chain is complex. Each shipper's network features thousands of suppliers, carriers, and customers creating innumerable touchpoints. Customer expectations have grown significantly. The advancements of technology driving supply chain efficiency report McKinsey & Company, offer a solution: "To build on these trends and cope with the changed requirements, supply chains need to become much faster, more granular, and much more precise." And that means shippers who are data and insight-driven are able to make smarter, more effective decisions.

Take a moment to consider this graphic by McKinsey & Company as well.

shipping data mckinsey

With so much happening at any given time, the only way to make sense of the activity rests on using advanced analytics and business intelligence resources to track performance. In turn, those insights translate into an understanding of what happened, why it happened, what will happen if things go unchanged, and what should happen to achieve an optimum result.

Steps For Shippers to Turn Shipping Data into Actionable Insights

Follow these steps to apply large volumes of shipping data and interpret it in a meaningful way, translating it into new opportunities and effective business strategies:

  • Utilize the most competitive carriers and LSP partnerships to manage year-round e-commerce demand.
  • Optimize shipping networks to reduce unnecessary stops, eliminate delays, and boost throughput.
  • Hold carriers accountable with actionable shipping data-driven performance metrics.
  • Manage costs by comparing quotes to actual invoices, using chargebacks to capture errors, and using shipping data details to continually measure trading partners' performance.
  • Use prescriptive analytics that guide decision-making, propelling toward ideal outcomes.
  • Expand and optimize carrier contracts based on data-driven insights to secure better rates, more lucrative service guarantees, and more.

Streamline Transportation Health Measurement and Management With Advanced, All-Mode Shipping Data, and Business Intelligence

All supply chain leaders want more efficiency and productivity. Those concerns are amplified exponentially during peak shipping season. Shipping data is a beacon of light within the chaos of demand and can aid suppliers and others toward achieving a responsive, agile supply chain. According to FreightWaves, "The flood of new orders, especially early in the corona virus crisis when so many stores were closed, impacted express carriers' delivery times, leading them to eliminate on-time guarantees, implement package surcharges and reduce the volume available to retailers." Thus, it is vital that supply chains work to proactively measure their health and agility, and remain able to intervene before minor tangles become unmanageable knots. Visit Intelligent Audit online to get started today.

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