Transportation Data Overload: How a TMS Enables Data Management

Transportation Data Overload
The volume and opportunity to collect and manage transportation data is increasing, and companies are clamoring over their potential. As explained by Dr. Mark van Rijmenam in a Medium post:
“Smarter transportation will result in operational efficiency, improved end-to-end customer experiences, reduced fuel consumption and increased flexibility. Logistics companies are already working hard to use sensor data in trucks to optimize routing and decrease fuel consumption. American logistics company US Xpress has installed almost 1.000 sensors in each truck to monitor where the trucks drive, how fast it drives, how often it breaks, when maintenance is required and even the capabilities of the driver. But there are many more opportunities for the transportation industry instead of just saving on fuel.”
And, while , the introduction and application of data to the supply chain can have a significant and far-reaching impact, it can also represent a new risk. Transportation data overload may occur, rendering its entire value-add meaningless. In other words, what good is the collection of your supply chain data if you don’t know what to do with it? To stay competitive and reap the optimization benefits of smart, informed transportation data, shippers and logistics service providers need to understand how a TMS effectively enables data management.

Too Much Data Is Meaningless

Data in its raw form is meaningless, but too much data, even when analyzed correctly, is also meaningless. Think about it: data is a set of numbers and information. It does not necessarily say go to dock B and move pallet C. Instead, data can reveal what’s happening on dock C, why it is happening, what can be done to prevent it from happening, and what can be done to correct the problem. It is an immensely complex process. What’s more, the risk of transportation data overload will only increase as the volume of data increases.
Many companies have collected terabytes of data over the years and most likely have the right data they need – somewhere. The challenge is finding the right data and making it actionable. You need to determine which data is useful and which is not useful to achieve the desired outcome. Once that is determined, the goal is to then turn your transportation data into actionable insights.
This is where good data management comes into play and allows companies to more efficiently and effectively orchestrate their global supply chains.

A TMS Enables Data Management Through Analytics, Automation, and More

The use of a transportation management system (TMS) effectively pulls data into a single resource. Even when data is generated by other sources, such as a warehouse management system, integration between the warehouse management system and the TMS holds additional value. That is the true nature of the supply chain, and an effective TMS considers the whole scope of the supply chain and its impact on transportation management needs. The value of a TMS as a data resource is expansive. Applied across the immense global supply chain, the opportunities for freight management improvement through the use of transportation data are quite valuable. Let’s take just a quick look at a few opportunities afforded by TMS data management:
  • The ability to increase proactive management of freight from inbound logistics to last-mile delivery, including reverse logistics.
  • The full automation of logistics management.
  • The ability to validate package details and ensure shipments are loaded according to specifications and avoiding potential issues.
  • Using GPS-enabled sensors to track shipment status and location and real-time.
  • Rerouting shipments to avoid adverse weather events and potential traffic congestion.
  • Determining whether the current freight spend aligns with the current strategy and how current projections may rival past discounts and open the door to new negotiating power with carriers to secure lower better rates.
  • Centralized documentation and record-keeping functions to improve global compliance with trade measures and also improve freight claims management.
  • Integrated functions to complete payment to carriers, third-party organizations, and other business-to-business partnerships upon successful tendering, delivery, or other specified actions for each shipment.
  • Reducing total freight costs by using a carrier scorecard, utilizing carriers that meet budget requirements and adhere to their delivery times.
  • Improving rate negotiations with carriers are based on carrier performance instead of anecdotes.

Tips for Reducing Transportation Data Overload

While there is plenty to take in, the steps to reducing the risk of overload boil down to six core strategies, including:
  1. Unify your supply chain under the same, cloud-based platform.
  2. Use data to make decisions based on facts, not an assumption.
  3. Gain supply chain visibility by collecting data in real-time.
  4. Leverage analytics to understand the past, present, and future of your logistics strategy.
  5. Use audits to highlight and address your weaknesses.
  6. Let a third-party handle the data management for you.

Improve Data Management With the Right TMS Now

It is possible to improve transportation data management and deploy a TMS in one sweep. Instead of trying to deploy an in-house TMS or manage data on your own, choose an expert in the field and industry. Choose MercuryGate. It’s time to start thinking about your next TMS implementation and integration with your other systems. Increase the level of data management in your organization by partnering with MercuryGate.

Connect us online or call 1-919-469-8057 to get started.

John Martin
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