Data is unlocking new efficiencies across many different organisations and logistics is no exception. According to DHL, wide adoption and use of big data in logistics will remould the industry through “previously unimaginable levels” of optimisation; a fine showing of praise from one of the industry’s biggest players.
Starting with a driver’s journey, one role for big data analytics in logistics lies within dynamic route planning – a way of accommodating updates to weather, traffic and orders. In this instance, data gleaned from sensors within a truck, a weather report or similar is used to give advice to drivers on their best possible route.
A similar approach is used for capacity planning, where an operator can use predictive analytics for a look into their availability of assets and personnel to allocate resources where they’re most needed. Such measures prevent the same trucks heading in similar directions and ensure a better, more efficient operation.
The use of data-collecting sensors within vehicles has been huge for the logistics industry, not least due to its intilling of transparency around organisations.
It’s now possible to track the whereabouts of every vehicle to provide updates over a likely time of delivery. For the overachievers, this information can even be used to prove their reliability in the securing of new contracts.
The end goal should be for data to create a more open logistics industry where a group’s all-round performance is put beyond doubt. Again, for the most efficient groups – regardless of their size – it could prove a great signal of worth.
Away from the trucks and ships, big data and analytics can even influence matters on the bottom line.
Evidence suggests that logistics could soon be the latest adopter of dynamic pricing: a model which factors in the likes of market demand and asset availability to dictate how much a delivery is worth. A technique adopted by airlines, venues and online stores, it’s one that could be used to maximise profits around key periods.
There is even the chance to use data in predicting custom for a given period. While great for the balance sheets and business planning, it’s in these areas where groups can also predict the circumstances that could derail their operation around busy periods.
If we’re looking to put a monetary value on this work, the World Economic Forum attaches a worth of $1.5 trillion between 2016 – 2025 to logistics’ digital transformation. Its main players should now be looking to big data as an entry point to this growth.
In the above we can see how data is being used to power a more refined version of logistics; a transformation which should be vital when considering what’s about to come.
Given the evidence, perhaps a more analytical approach could provide the answer to whether the industry is fully prepared for record-high levels of business.
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