“Any organization without a big data strategy and without plans in place to start using big data to improve performance will be left behind.” (Big Data in Practice, Bernard Marr)
Do you have a big data strategy? If not, you may be putting your business at risk.
Before we go any further, let’s start with a definition of the term. SAS defines big data as:
“…the large volume of data – both structured and unstructured – that inundates a business on a day-to-day basis. But it’s not the amount of data that’s important. It’s what organizations do with the data that matters. Big data can be analyzed for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves.”
The takeaways from that definition are that big data will lead to better decision making. That will result in increased profitability, reduced risk and exposure to risk.
Big data and analytics work well with logistics. With big data and analytics you analyze the past and the present to improve the future. You can focus on performance, cost, or risk. You can also build your brand with big data and analytics.
It’s easy to see why big data and logistics are a good fit.
Big data’s applicability to logistics issues calls in to question the term big data. A more descriptive term is “smart data”. That implies the value of the data you collect lies in how you use it.
This post will further explore how big data and analytics apply usefully to supply chains.
Transforming Supply Chain Management with Big Data and Analytics
Big data and analytics have wider application to supply chains. The value of big data and analytics lies not in data collection and data storage. It lies in how that data is used to either solve problems or to head them off.
Again, big data includes both structured and unstructured data. Big data and analytics makes the data you collect, store and analyze much richer. You’ll maximize structured business data from your daily transactions, monthly reports, etc.
Supplementing and enhancing your structured data, you can also collect, store and analyze data and information from non-traditional sources. They include social media, newspapers, spreadsheets, images, video, audio, emails, surveys, and sensors. Their inclusion in your analysis will offer better, more informed insights.
In short, big data and analytics helps you makes better decisions. Although not an exhaustive list, below are some possibilities for making data-based decisions.
- Strategic, Tactical, and Granular Planning and Analysis
- Supply and Demand Forecasting
- Routing Optimization
- Capacity Management
- In-transit Inventory
- Transportation Management
- Warehouse Management
Not as obvious is the use of big data and analytics to build your brand. For example, big data and analytics can help you manage changing customer attitudes and expectations. You can explore data focused on your customer in addition to your product or service.
This is especially important as the logistics industry becomes more customer- centric.
Evolving Trends of Big Data and Analytics Lead to Competitive Advantage
The mining of big data and analytics can offer powerful information. It can provide timely insights into evolving trends.
For instance, you’ll see subtle changes and evolving trends that may affect your brand. Employing big data and analytics can help you stay ahead of these trends.
Another evolving trend is the shift in focus from the present to the future. In particular, we see a shift from historical analysis to predictive analysis. That shift is underway and growing thanks to the increased capabilities of technology.
We also see an increase in big data and analysis to granular or local analysis. Today’s technology enables the review and analysis of individual customers. Each customer is unique. Thus, 3PLs can tailor logistics solutions to meet customers’ specific needs.
Plus, given the spate of natural disasters and the pandemic, the ability to “sense and respond” has become vital. Predicting outcomes and responding immediately have become essential to meeting customers’ expectations. It’s the New Normal.
Sensing and responding implies the use of real-time data to achieve supply chain agility. Real-time data allows you to pivot as conditions dictate. That helps you to meet customer schedule and expectations with less effort.
With big data and analytics is easier to put your customer at the center of your business.
In brief, trends are moving towards the use of big data and analytics for brand management. Data mining can offer critical insights not obvious with legacy tools. Also, big data and analytics enables an emphasis on predictability of future events.
Moreover, real-time data capture and analysis enables granular analysis enhancing customization. Lastly, real-time data and analysis enhances sense and respond capabilities. Richer data will allow you to arrive at better, more informed solutions.
Leveraging these emerging trends can give you a competitive advantage.
The Challenges of Implementing Big Smart Data and Analytics
The power and possibilities of big data and analytics is clear. Now that we’ve explored the possibilities, let’s explore the realities.
Plainly stated, achieving smart data and analytics doesn’t come about easily. It has its challenges.
But in working with a partner, you can put in place a cohesive and coherent program. When you do that, you can bypass or overcome many of the obstacles.
There are two key challenges to implementing a viable big data and analytics program. The first
is the availability of talent. The second is understanding how big data and analytics can benefit you. In addressing these two challenges, you’ll be able to exploit the potential benefits.
At Terra Worldwide Logistics we can help you with both. We have the talent you need to implement smart supply chain solutions that meet your needs. And we take a customer-focused approach in tackling your supply chain challenges.
Do you want to increase profitability? Do you want to improve supply chain performance? Do you want to reduce supply chain risk?
Whatever your goal, we can assist you in creating customized solutions with data-based decisions.
Contact Terra Worldwide Logistics to learn how to increase your competitive advantage with smart data and analytics. Working together, we’ll help put smart data to work for you.