The Data Challenge

As a shipper, you’re generating and capturing a ton of data around your transportation and freight, such as costs around loads, carrier OTD/OTP, lane history, and more. You may also subscribe to 3rd party data sources like DAT or Freightwaves.

Some of this data is useful for RFPs, whether you’re doing those annually or more frequently. But that’s a lot of data to collect, store, and sift through if you’re just using it for (admittedly important!) seasonal contract negotiations. You also likely have a lot of other data that is underutilized or totally unused.

Many (but certainly not all) shippers employ data analysts to process all of this data and produce actionable insights. Some TMS and ERP systems have some good analytic capabilities built-in. You may have a stand-alone analytics platform to aggregate data and help with this. Are you really using these solutions to their full capabilities, though? Are you looking at your data just in the bubble of what’s happening with your freight, or are you looking more broadly to see how you’re doing relative to the market? Without a person or a product dedicated to analyzing your data, you’re likely missing out on some valuable insights.

How are you deciding which carriers to keep in your network, what rates need to change (and how much they need to change), and other critical transportation decisions? Are these data-based decisions, or are they based on history/experience/rules-of-thumb? As Mike talked about in a blog post last month  a lot of shippers fail to segment their providers to and may unnecessarily be rewarding carrier who don’t truly qualify to be considering tier 1 carriers. It’s likely worth taking the time to use the data to determine which carriers really should be considered tier 1 and which ones should bump down to a lower tier.

There are plenty of immediate, measurable benefits to spending the time and effort on really analyzing your data. We’ve also seen some interesting second order benefits on applying some of the learnings to your network – e.g. your contracted carriers may feel they need to be more competitive on performance & service if you have accurate, real time data to discuss with them.

As part of Sleek OTS, we capture a lot of information on loads that move through the system. We can provide that data back to your TMS, although we do find a lot of TMS systems may not understand what to do with that data – so you may be limited in the insight you get from the TMS. If that’s the case, TL360 has a wide variety of dashboards and data you can access directly, and we are frequently adding new charts and tables based on customer requests.

The takeaway is this: You have a lot of data from a lot of sources, including from us. It’s likely worth your effort to try to get your arms around that mountain of data. TL360 is one way we can help you with that effort.

This blog was written by George Belle.  George is responsible for Solution Enginering at Sleek and has spent the last 25 years in logistics and supply chain software.