Use of BI
to Develop Strategy
and Tweak TACTICS

by Mike Starling

So, how do you manage your Transportation Operations? Still getting those Green Bar Reports every morning? Sorting and sifting through data and reports from non-integrated systems that don’t TALK to each other? Think you are trendy because you still data mine, searching for the magic nugget that will optimize your transportation network and justify your existence within the organization? Well, maybe it’s time you rubbed the BI magic lamp to make your wish come true.

What is BI? It’s Business Intelligence. BI allows companies to turn data into actionable information that can be used to Develop Strategy or Optimize Tactics.

How does it differ from the traditional way of analyzing transportation data? Simply put, the new transportation and supply chain BI systems push analyzed data at you rather than forcing you to pull data and analyze it.

What are the main categories of uses for Transportation and Supply Chain BI users?

 1. REPORTS:  Displays transportation service provider information data and key measurements in predetermined scorecard format. Used for day-to-day operational management and/or contract negotiation dialogue.

2. DASHBOARDS:  Provides operational and performance information in real time to enhance management’s ability to identify and resolve problems before they happen.

3. BENCHMARKING:  Provides ability to compare key transportation factors (i.e., freight rates, transit time in key lanes, on-time delivery percentages, etc.) with industry peers to gain insight for network and operational optimization.

What is the ultimate objective of using BI? Providing you the ability to take ACTION based on the analyzed data and information provided by the BI system to ensure achievement of Tactical Objectives and Strategic Goals as identified and specified in your Strategic Transportation Plan. (You do have a plan, don’t you?)

So, do you use BI?

If not, don’t you think it’s time you looked into how such a strategic tool can be used not only to improve your Operational Execution, but to provide the means for your Transportation Operations to reduce Operating Expense and contribute directly to improving the company’s Operating Cash Flow? Have you ever considered that as a Strategic Objective? If not, why not?

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