Supply Chain Data: How to Get Beyond Business Intelligence to Deeper Data Analytics

Even modest-sized supply chains generate vast amounts of data. But when it comes to analyzing all that rich supply chain data for insights, most companies are only scratching the surface.

Here are a few of the most common reasons why shippers’ data efforts fall short—and how they can take things to the next level.

Data is spread across multiple systems, so gaining a global picture is challenging.

At global companies, it’s not uncommon for different regions to use entirely different enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and freight payment providers. This can create barriers to visibility for supply chain leaders, who may have to manually gather, synthesize, and standardize data from across dozens of systems before they can even begin to analyze it—otherwise, they’ll only ever be getting half the story.

Using a tool like our transportation management system (TMS) can eliminate this problem. By creating a centralized hub through which all data flows, our TMS makes it easy for supply chain managers to quickly access accurate and up-to-date global data for analysis and comparison purposes.

The built-in business intelligence tools also go beyond simple dashboards alone, empowering managers to drill-down into their key performance indicators (KPIs) for more information whenever they need it. This allows them to compare metrics like cost-per-line across multiple product lines at both a regional and global scale, all on one intuitive platform.

There are too many fires to put out elsewhere, so data doesn’t get the attention it deserves

Having cutting-edge data tools is only useful if you have the time to use them. And unfortunately, at many companies, time is a rare commodity.

We see this a lot. Companies tend to approach data analytics with a lot of excitement and optimism out of the gate. But if you follow up with them a year or even six months down the line, few are utilizing their data tools to their full advantage, claiming there’ve been too busy putting out fires elsewhere in the business.

The truth is, fires will always crop up, so if companies find they don’t have time for data analytics now, they’re unlikely to discover more time moving forward. That leaves them with two options: truly commit to analyzing their supply chain data in-house by designating a large-enough portion of an employee’s time solely for analysis—or lean on outside help.

At CTSI-Global, we fulfill that analytical role for many of our clients as part of our customized logistics management bundles, creating detailed reports built around a company’s KPIs. This not only allows supply chain managers to focus on putting out fires without distraction, but it can also provide insights into looming problem areas—enabling them to extinguish sparks before they can ignite.

The team lacks a “power user” who knows the business and its data inside out.

Even when businesses do designate time for data analytics, their efforts can be held back by a lack of expertise.

Companies that thrive at data analytics generally have a “power user” on staff—someone with a deep knowledge of and passion for data analytics combined with an inside-out understanding of the business. Since this person understands how to work with data and knows what they should be looking for, they’re able to rapidly spot things like efficiency bottlenecks and cost-saving opportunities that a layman is likely to miss.

Hiring an in-house data analyst might not be possible for some companies. Luckily, this is another area in which outsourced logistics management can be both beneficial and cost-effective. At CTSI-Global, for example, our expert analysts take the time to really get to know our clients’ businesses, allowing them to essentially augment a company’s own staff and operate with the nuance of a power user.

Since we work with hundreds of companies across every sector, our analysts can also compare clients’ data to industry-wide trends. This is data that companies wouldn’t have access to on their own—and the insights and recommendations that come from it can provide a serious competitive advantage.

Take a deep dive into your supply chain data.

CTSI-Global’s industry-leading data tools and services empower companies to go deeper than the surface level—so they can uncover the wealth of insights that their data holds.

We take data very seriously, which is why we also gather, analyze, and act on feedback from our customers on an ongoing basis to ensure our tools not only meet their expectations but surpass them.

Most companies aren’t getting the most value from their supply chain data. Be the exception.

Contact us today.

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