The logistics industry is a very complex and dynamic one as it involves dependencies on many moving parts that can possibly give chances of creating bottlenecks at any point of the supply chain process. Hence the logistics industry becomes the best candidate for the use of Big Data. Big data has already started to revolutionize many businesses and the logistics industry is one of them. Let it be the healthcare sector or even our personal lives Big data has started playing a major role in improving our lives by providing the apt data that will help us in making critical decisions.
Logistics is one such industry which handles a huge chunk of data at any given point of time that can also be diversely spread across international boundaries. This gives us a view of the magnitude of the amount of data capture and detailing which is involved in each part of the logistics movement. However, it will be quick to say that in this growing E-commerce era where many Supply Chain Logistics companies are getting into this area and when many major industries have taken a shift and have got on board in using big data to the fullest logistics is one such industry which has been slow on this front. As already mentioned, even if the industry rides its operations on live data one has to ascertain the fact that it could be better utilized to advance the industry even further.
As many logistics professionals are of the opinion that Big data can be a key factor in leveraging the smooth operations of businesses even 3Pls have said that improved data-driven decision making is going to be the key element in the success of supply chain processes. Almost 81% of today’s shippers and 86% of 3PL’s which were surveyed said that big data is going to become a very core competency in the coming future.
It is evident that big data is here to stay and has started delivering unthinkable returns to many logistics companies who have implemented and started to make their operational flow better than before. Let us define some of the viable benefits that will help you to think progressively before diving into the big data trend.
QUICKER LAST MILE DELIVERY :
It has been understood that the last mile is the most inefficient stage of the supply chain as it faces many unforeseen obstacles. It is a big challenge for delivery agents to face a situation where after the items are signed for the customer is not at home and the goods cannot be delivered. Also in this growing age of growing number of vehicles on road parking has become the biggest issues in many developing nations. In such a scenario parking of delivering vehicles near destination points in urban areas is the biggest challenge faced. Another pertinent issue is also that the delivery agent has to be extra careful that the goods are delivered without any damage. Big data is the perfect solution to many of these problems as now packages are tracked up to the end point of delivery and issues as such can be easily addressed and dealt with, thanks to the low cost and fast mobile internet and GPS enabled smartphones as well as equipment like scanners. Shippers are in a much better position to see how the goods are delivered from start to finish.
HIGHER RELIABILITY :
With the help of better sensors in transportation vehicles and during the entire supply chain process we are able to get more transparent data gathering than before. This kind of transparency of data gathering is of utmost value to the shipper, carrier as well as the customers.
OPTIMIZED ROUTE MANAGEMENT :
Sensors used on delivery trucks adapt weather forecast coupled with the existing road maintenance data as well as real-time fleet status indicators when all integrated into a single system provides a huge gathering of data. All of these when putting into proper analytical platforms and when integrated well can gather and product historical trends that can be the best source for advice in choosing the best delivery route.
WAREHOUSE AUTOMATION :
Big data and the IoT is going to revolutionize the way the warehouse needs to be handled and operated. Combined with automation technology and better data-driven platforms and analytics warehouses operations will be smoothed handled with optimum resource allocations based on predictive information.
HANDLING SENSITIVE GOODS :
It is a constant challenge for logistics and shipping companies to keep perishable goods fresh until the time of the delivery. Big data can help truckers and managers in planning and scheduling their delivery also allocating resources so as to prevent costs accrued due to the perishable nature of goods.
Having got an idea of these advantages one can garner with the implementation of the Big data coupled with IoT and many other technological advances there are a few important aspects that logistics companies should take in order to maximize the benefits and the insights big data brings in.
It is very important to note here that not all situations are alike and not all solutions can be implemented for all problems. Hence it is of utmost certainty that contextual intelligence is used. Essentially gathering data from every aspect of your supply chain will turn beneficial in improving the process ad better plan for the future. How every raw data is of no use unless it goes via a thorough process of data cleansing after which the most needed data is turned into analytical information for planning strategies.
RECORD EVERY DATA :
For any prediction to be done it has to be supported with quantity and quality data that has to be collected from every resource available and which is involved in the process of operations. Hence it is necessary that collecting and exploiting every single chunk of data from every single step of the supply chain that will later bring immense value to the businesses.
DATA SHARING A KEY FACTOR :
Often it does happen that you collect a lot of raw data of which not all the chunk seems to be of use to your business operations. But it is always a good practice to share all the information gathered with your partners as the insights that you gather can help in improving the process efficiencies of other aspects of the logistics industry. Real-time data sharing should be considered as a very valuable act in today’s diverse logistics industry.
It is very clear that big data though has become a very integral part of any business plans only implementations of the same will not work and bring in results. Raw data is of no use unless the data is cleansed and the required data set is extracted to bring in useful information that will help us predict many workflow patterns. This will help us in creating actionable insights for multiple numbers of purposes thereby ensuring speedy and on time delivery which in turn will boost customer satisfaction to the fullest.