Today there are multiple benefits why implementing a Business Intelligence System is, not just important, but imperative for your business. To stay competitive, you need to embrace the latest industrial revolution: 4.0; the digital revolution.
A data-driven freight management process is the best way to optimize your freight process, stay agile and responsive, and gain full visibility and control of your logistics department.
Benefit 1: Freight KPIs
Business Intelligence systems highlight any issues you may have via KPIs. With a modern, interactive cloud-based dashboard capturing the right KPIs, displayed via well-chosen graphs and charts that you can then drilldown into to discover more about the what the data is revealing; why that KPI has altered in recent weeks or months. For example, a simple but important KPI to track is increased freight cost. Drilling down into that KPI might reveal that it’s only affecting a certain warehouse site; or a certain customer, or group of customers; or carrier.
Like a detective you can easily and intuitively do some sleuthing to uncover the reason for the increase which will either reveal the costs have gone up due to increased volume which is generally a good thing (although you might think about changing packaging, or minimum order amounts or even carriers to reduce cost per consignment/kilo), or a bad thing if it’s not from growth but rather because of poor operator choice of carriers at the warehouse, or errors in invoices – which shouldn’t happen of course if data is first reconciled.
It’s very important to choose the right KPIs, and we go into some detail on this in our article on business intelligence strategy.
Benefit 2: Increased Visibility on Freight Data
Increased visibility on what your business is doing is another key benefit. You cannot manage what you don’t measure. Digitisation of the business from analogue filing cabinets to software platforms, ensure you take the first step; you are capturing your all your (freight) data. This then means that you can deposit that data in a data warehouse or lake for viewing within an interactive dashboard.
It’s important to capture all your data in your own independent systems. In shipping, often companies are using the carrier’s portal and so the data is captured by carrier, and not by you. Often the carriers will provide you with reports etc., but sometimes they are not comprehensive enough, have been filtered to favour the carrier, and are not in real time. And if you use several carriers, the data is not centralized, so you can’t readily view all the details nationally or from one warehouse, or one customer, or one receiver state, for example, because it’s captured across disparate systems.
Low visibility is almost as bad as no visibility, as you may be led astray by the gaps in the data which cannot paint the whole picture. This can lead to poor decision making.
Benefit 3: Data Access
A Business Intelligence system will increase access across to more users within the company. It’s not just for execs anymore. The coal face worker can access and use the system to help with day-to-day tactics, especially if there are any operational alerts or algorithms within the system that can quickly inform their choices as they are working within that system.
Knowledge is power and working as a team, across different silos, with different reasons for utilising the data, and perhaps different views depending on role requirements, you can improve company performance both operationally and strategically: a major benefit for all involved.
Benefit 4: Efficient Analytics
Speed of analysis increases with a modern, user friendly Business Intelligence System. It’s quicker to get to the insights across all departments and therefore the business can deploy agile methodologies before the data is dated and no longer relevant.
You spend less time manually collating, building reports, interpreting data, and more time acting on data, whilst also reducing the labor costs of that reporting and analysis work, which then encourages staff to stop and use the data to support tactics and decision making as they know they can now do so quickly, easily and intuitively.
Benefit 5: User Friendly
We’ve touched on this above, but one of the main benefits is that you no longer need to get the IT department involved, because you no longer need their coding skills to create complex reports. Today’s modern Dashboard interfaced Business Intelligence systems are fast and intuitive. This leads to increased employee satisfaction within and without the IT dept: IT no longer have to drop what they’re doing for report creation, and employees from relevant departments (e.g., warehouse, finance) are empowered to do this for themselves. They can log in to use the dashboards whenever they want and wherever they want.
Benefit 6: Improved Decision Making
A modern Business Intelligence system that has been built fit for purpose, such as a bespoke Freight Business Intelligence System, provides confidence in decision making. You have certainty on what is happening in your business and can democratize strategies with facts, not opinions or anecdotes, or gut feelings. This will lead to greater insights that you can leverage to improve your business via actionable outcomes; a veritable data-driven freight management process.
This digitalization of your business is imperative if you want to ensure your business is running as smoothly as possible, with the right strategies, and can quickly pivot when disruption occurs. This may well be the most crucial benefit of all the 6 mentioned in this article. It enables your business to gain a competitive edge and to optimise your freight management processes, and maintain that advantage over your competitors via constant monitoring – a continuous improvement methodology.
And there you have it: our 6 main benefits for implementing a Freight Business Intelligence System for your distribution organisation. If you’d like to learn more about this topic, please see the below related articles or contact us to set up a meeting to learn how our Carrier Check and Business Intelligence systems can assist your company with a Freight focused Business Intelligence Solution.