The role of data visibility matters now more than ever, especially in the 2021 global supply chain. Its importance has advanced over the past decade to reveal new insights into meeting customer demand amidst an increasingly challenging and competitive environment in ocean freight forwarding.
The effective collection and analysis of data trends in shipping helps forwarders position their resources, review trends, identify new opportunities, manage staff, and set tangible goals for development. Identifying and analyzing the right data set can show what works and what doesn’t, it can highlight successful strategies and help realign core operations to better meet customer needs. But what are the key reasons why data in shipping matters so much right now?
1. Real-time data drives resilience
It’s always been a buzzword across the global supply chain sector, but with the Covid-19 pandemic and events such as the chaotic port congestion in Yantian and the grounding of the Ever Given in the Suez, building your supply chain resilience is more important than ever. Data-driven insights from real-time visibility solutions provide companies with powerful predictive capabilities and allow them to make the right decisions faster. Responding to ever-changing world events, real-time data provides forwarders the ability to connect with supply chain partners, to communicate more effectively at short notice and to act accordingly.
2. Data can provide visibility over future challenges
Data visibility is a global ‘mega-trend’ in 2021 and the overall visualization of data held across multiple digital locations and formats within the forwarding process is changing the sector. Generating a single source of ‘truth’ for your data is key to gaining a clear picture of impact and achieving decarbonization goals. Forwarders and logistics providers are already thinking about their carbon footprint and that of their customers. Those logistics players who are promoting their green credentials now stand a better chance of using this as a key differentiator going forwards beyond the G20 Summit later this year, when more pressure will on the supply chain. This will require forwarders or 3PLs to contribute to that same calculation and show evidence of decarbonization efforts.
3. Data can help companies grow
No matter what technology freight forwarders are using, it needs to respond to their changing needs and scale with them. Freight forwarders rely on technology to maintain the daily operations of their businesses, but how are they using data gathered from technology to drive growth? There are many technology focused tools available. Some are widely used in the transport and logistics industry, some are unique to the 3PL a forwarder operates with, but all compile different datasets. If that data isn’t being used properly or is challenging to understand, they could limit their company’s growth potential. Data can help support decision-making, find new sales demographics to target and set realistic expansion goals.
4. Data helps cut costs
There are many ways that better quality of data and visibility can help cut costs for freight forwarders. Even at the core job of developing a shipping quote for a customer can be time consuming. Several third-party sources have to be checked to give the most accurate pricing, unless the forwarder has access to a tool that pulls all of that information into one place. The less time they spend gathering and compiling pricing data to provide an accurate quote, the quicker they can develop a solution for the customer and get the shipment in transit to its destination. Forecasting shipping quantities during times of limited capacity enables the timely and best possible planning. This also applies to regularly recurring peak events, such as Christmas. These optimizations of capacity planning through data and data-driven decisions not only improve operational processes but ultimately reduce costs.
5. Data can build customer trust
Data creates transparency and with it, trust. Modern supply chains can be complex, with many players and processes. Better data creates increased visibility over goods and costs, and it means they provide shippers as much information as possible on their cargo. And pleasant experiences always lead to repeat business. Data enables better forecasting of events within the supply chain and thus, planning reliability. An example of this is targeted monitoring of lead times, which quickly identifies problems and measures to be taken.
With the continual enhancements in technology deployed across the supply chain, it is imperative that businesses continue to evolve and adapt to simplify and optimize workflows by leveraging on Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML).
Unlike a lot of transport management systems on the market, the right automation platform can provide the precision needed to enable forwarders to spend less time navigating through numerous admin tools and trying to decipher complicated datasets. They can then spend more time focused on growing their business and the needs of their customers
To learn more about how Expedock helps its customers streamline their operations, please join us for a live demo.