6 Ways Shipping Data Helps You Make Better Business Decisions

Written by Paul Forand

shipping-processAs we've discussed previously, a Transportation Management System is an incredibly useful addition to virtually any company's shipping processes.  The problem is that they're hard to implement, and take time to get running correctly.  

On the other hand, once you get the bugs worked out, a TMS can be an absolute goldmine.  The ability to oversee and analyze your shipping processes at a highly granular level can lead to across-the-board optimizations as well as opening up new opportunities.  

Six Ways A TMS Brings Raw Data Power

1 - Benchmarking your historical data.

You can't tell how far you've come until you've got a way of measuring where you're going.  One of the first, and most useful, things you should do with a TMS is to fully benchmark your previous numbers: Shipments made, sizes, transit times, origins and destinations, and prices paid should be the top priorities.

From these benchmarks, you can start drawing actionable data to continue your optimizations.

2 - Costing improvements.

Certain inefficiencies should jump out, after the benchmarks are compiled. One obvious example is if you're sending/receiving many small shipments when a single larger shipment would cut costs drastically.  It's also a good way to spot shipment routes which tend to run late, or where needless stopovers could be avoided.  

This is an ongoing process, and you'll keep finding new places for improvement as you keep looking.

3 - Finding weak spots in your supply chain.

How are your own suppliers doing at their end?  The historical data will make it far easier to spot, for example, particular suppliers whose goods are arriving damaged more often than others.  Or is there a particular terminal your goods pass through that seems to add unnecessary delays?

This data can help you work with your partner companies to improve their service to you which should, in turn, also improve their own cost-efficiency.

4 - Find strong points too! accurate-freight-quote

This can go in the other direction just as easily.  If one supplier or carrier is constantly giving three-day estimates but arriving in two days, they may be worth more of your attention.  You can weed out the weak points in your transportation chain and focus on those providing the best service.

5 - Better customer interactions.

With the data available in your TMS platform, you'll be able to almost instantly make better estimates and resolve customer issues more quickly.  From historical transit times to damage rates, you'll be able to use your data to improve their experience.  That builds better rapport, especially among customers feeling pinched on their own shipping expenses.

6 - Improved carrier negotiations.

Knowledge is power in any business negotiation, and you can get a twofold benefit here when dealing with carriers.  First, you'll have solid numbers on their performance versus their rivals, so if they aren't pulling their weight, you can let them know.

Sharing these findings can also help them improve their own service, and a smart carrier will reward customers that do this.

Better Shipping Data Brings Smarter Decision-Making

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of potential optimizations you can find once you dig into the data.

Need more advice?  Contact us today with your questions, or for a complimentary process & cost-savings analysis of your transportation systems