Supply chain managers can reduce costs, optimize efficiency, and enhance customer service by integrating big data into their shipping and logistics strategy.

While most successful businesses operating in the e-commerce sector already use data analysis to manage their supply chain and drive growth, big data takes these capabilities to the next level. With the ability to collect, sort, and optimize information from different sources into actionable insights, it’s possible to strategically position professionals throughout the shipping and logistics industry to make well-informed decisions for their supply chain.

Big data is more than just a buzzword, however. It’s becoming increasingly widespread across industries, with $210 billion in related software purchases expected by 2020. As the e-commerce sector becomes integral to modern business, companies are likely to turn to big data to make sense of varied streams of information and guide strategic planning going forward. From more efficient managing of fleet vehicles to improved predictive abilities, here’s how your company can leverage big data to meet the demands of a continuously evolving market.

Making Actionable Plans

For businesses looking to bring big data into their operation, the first step is collecting quality information from a wide variety of GPS devices, sensors, and remote monitoring tools — perhaps enabled with Internet of Things (IoT) technology. With the key metrics provided by a broader technical network, supply chain managers will be able to gain greater visibility into which areas of their operation are performing well and which have become consistent bottlenecks.

Equipped with this information, logistics professionals can develop clear plans of action to resolve pain points and streamline their supply chain overall. For example, managers hoping to reduce empty running miles will be better informed, thus enabling them to boost asset utilization and control unnecessary cost overruns.

Taking Concrete Action

With higher quality information interpreted by sophisticated software, companies can rely on predictive analytics to avoid bottlenecks before they occur. In an industry as unpredictable as shipping and logistics, this capability is key. Have weather events in the past caused widespread delays at certain ports? Predictive analytics will alert you when similar delays are on the horizon and recommend changes accordingly.

Taking action that makes use of big data depends on fielding the right platforms. With a cutting-edge transportation management system (TMS), for example, it’s possible to gain greater insight into the status of your fleet and pinpoint areas for improvement, from anticipating shipping patterns to helping terminal operators track vessels and manage berth allocation.

Further, big data has the potential to enhance customer service. By making tracking functions more sophisticated, agents can provide customers with more accurate details on the nature of their orders and more effectively manage expectations.

Optimizing Key Results

For companies that are able to integrate big data capabilities into their supply chain, actionable adjustments informed by better information is within reach. Comparing your final shipping results to your initial goals will help your business trim the fat and make meaningful changes to your logistics strategy.

While big data has the potential to lower costs and increase efficiency, however, implementing an end-to-end technological overhaul can be cost-prohibitive for modest businesses. Therefore, companies may opt to work with a third-party logistics (3PL) partner or integrated logistics services provider (ISP) that can offer expert insights into top-tier data analytics and logistical strategy.

With over 20 years of experience, Primary Freight is at the cutting edge of supply chain optimization. Thanks to our sophisticated suite of asset management platforms, we have the resources and industry expertise businesses need to leverage big data for e-commerce growth. If you’re wondering whether a custom logistics plan is right for you, Primary Freight is ready to help.

To learn more about Primary Freight’s award-winning shipping and logistics services, give us a call today at (800)-635-0013.