In a time of uncertainty, carrier capacity issues, and increasing costs, it’s clear that shippers are now more than ever turning to tools to help them optimize their operations. And advanced analytics are the latest focal point for supply chain optimization.
The last few years have seen shippers experience supply chain disruptions, with the COVID-19 crises compounding those issues even further. The shift to e-commerce has been rapid, but we’ve seen an incredible acceleration since the mandated lockdowns of 2020. And even while the world hopes for a better 2021, the writing is on the wall. Multiple geographies have reported virulent new strains of the virus, and while some areas have lifted lockdowns, the inability to manage the full vaccine roll-out is resulting in a fear that a renewed lockdown is on the horizon.
The cascading effect of this accelerated shift has put immense pressure on carriers and, as a result, shippers themselves. Due to capacity constraints and other factors, the surcharges levied by national carriers have skyrocketed. After the peak-holiday season, there was also hope for a return to the usual shipping rates. Unfortunately, that’s not reality. Both FedEx and UPS have restored the pre-holiday peak surcharge that arose in March last year in the form of a residential delivery surcharge. And more troubling for shippers, these surcharges are equally noted as indefinite.
Shippers are now fully grasping the tectonic shift that is happening. They realize that the only way to mitigate the effects of these changes is to have full, robust visibility into their supply chains. The best way to gain this visibility is through advanced analytics and robust reporting.
Advanced Analytics Offer Enhancements Across the Spectrum of Transportation Management Needs
It comes as no surprise that major influencers like Gartner have once again emphasized the value of technology, and this year, advanced analytics continues to be the defining factor. Organizations of all forms are actively pursuing investments into analytics as a way to identify problems and overcome organizational and data siloes. Most notably, these investments surrounded the use of predictive analytics to recognize what may go wrong and prescriptive analytics to identify the best way to achieve the optimum result.
As a result of such improvements, companies are able achieve these top goals:
- Increased process and worker efficiency.
- Sweeping cost reductions.
- Better customer experiences.
- Automated decision making.
- Proactive risk management.
- Optimizing load balancing.
- Boosting compliance.
- Increased auditing and invoicing efficiency.
Of course, there are many other ways to apply real-time data to derive more value.
Of all the issues that have arisen in the wake of COVID-19 for shippers, costs have been one of the most burdensome. As the crisis has continued, national carriers have been steadily increasing costs. In some cases, these costs have hit shippers – especially large shippers – in unprecedented ways.
Advanced Analytics Are Being Used by the Majority of Companies to Maximize Throughput and Supply Chain Execution
Shippers absolutely need advanced analytics, and the research clearly proves it. Drilling further, leveraging these kinds of analytics is at the top-of-mind for shippers when it comes to lowering their shipping costs. Notable experts throughout the industry found that leading shippers were able to achieve these goals despite the disruption of the past year:
- Realized inventory-level savings in the form of lower carrying costs, lean inventory, and streamlined replenishment practices.
- Added use cases for applied analytics to boost customer service.
- Realizing lower transportation costs advanced analytics-driven auditing and transporatin spend optimization efforts.
However, the bigger evidence comes from a marked explosion of growth. According to PR Newswire, “The global supply chain analytics market size was valued at USD 4.53 Billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 16.82 Billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 17.9% from 2020 to 2027.”
Regarding the benefits of using real-time data to track unfolding disruption, industry experts like Gartner point to a clear use of advanced analytics as a way to maximize supply chain value. According to Gartner’s Sara Hippold, “It is important for supply chain technology leaders to adapt a mindset that accepts and embraces long-term perpetual change.” That forward-looking view is critical to effective use of analytics in today’s supply chains. And it’s partially why Intelligent Audit is focused on the ability to run “what-if” scenarios, creating simulations that compare various carriers and mixes of carriers, as well as location sourcing.
It All Goes Back to the Need for More Supply Chain Data Visibility and Meaningful Use of Insights
For these cost savings to occur, especially for shippers with large footprints, companies simply cannot afford to be blind to their networks. And they need to continuously look for ways to identify the best path forward. As reported by FreightWaves, “The way to overcome disruptions and adapt quickly to lane changes and variations is an individualized approach to lane management. Taking the market volatility insight and adjusting focus as needed remains key to weathering volatile times. Moving resources not needed in one area to compensate for issues in another place is the best way to adjust and reduce disruptions.” And while that may apply primarily to carriers, there’s an argument that it can be used to figure out the best use of parcel, LTL or FT shipments to maximize profitability.
It’s incredibly important for shippers to now optimize their distribution channels, especially since end-customers have not changed their expectations about delivery. They want same-day, next-day, and two-day shipping at a low cost.
In this new world of everlasting disruption, shippers must gain full visibility into their entire network. They must be able to find opportunities in which they can optimize the utilization of each ship-from location or the feasibility of reconfiguring their footprint for greater efficiency.
Choose the Right Partner to Leverage Advanced Analytics
The right analytics partner must provide critical analysis and data-points to show shippers how to cut transportation spend, create greater efficiencies, and empower business leaders with impactful data. When considering a freight audit and spend management solution, shippers must make sure that they will have access to a solution that meets all the needs of today’s fluid shipping environment. The only solution that covers the entire spectrum of technological innovation married with decades of industry experience and know-how is Intelligent Audit. Contact Intelligent Audit to learn how advanced analytics can help you in achieving your desired transportation goals.