Big data, AI and the promises of other new technology-enabled possibilities are being talked about all the time. For many of us in the supply chain, logistics and transportation industry, it is hard to imagine the efficiencies tech will bring, as we are still trying to understand how to best compile excel reports and make sense of it all.
In the age of IoT, the connectivity of devices is rapidly progressing. In the case of logistics, the end-to-end tracking of cargo in real-time is now a reality. What was once a ship-and-pray-it-arrives strategy has been transformed into an understanding of real-time cargo movements. We can now understand the exact location of our cargo on its route to the end-consumer, which gives us an enormous wealth of data for analysis, thereby opening up the entire shipping process to new optimizations and adjustments.
As you know, logistics is complicated , and simply being able to understand the movement of your goods does not show the full picture. The coordination of the movement of goods is only one facet in a very complex chain. The procurement of freight is a critical node in the supply chain and sits on an invaluable set of data that is increasingly becoming the epicenter to support an efficient and innovative supply chain strategy.
All these areas are producing a mass amount of data, however, because data is available, it doesn’t equate to an instant understanding of the daily challenges faced by professionals day in and day out, and definitely doesn’t point to any obvious solutions.
Data on its own is worthless. A few years ago, all industries were busy throwing the Big Data term around. So, you have all this data in all shapes and forms. So, what. What are you doing with it? Do you know what to do with it? Do you have the right tools, the right people on board to appreciate the value of the data you have collected? How are you connecting all this data to provide value to your business? The industry is complex, not to mention the ocean shipping market.
Each mode of transportation has unique pricing strategies, contract management and regulatory constraints. While as an industry we can appreciate all this as a generality, the complexity and nuances can be mind-blowing. Adding to the challenge, enterprises may be organized as separate entities, and most often use different software and technology stacks. Nowadays, there is a system for everything: TMS, quoting tools, ERPs per industry type, supply chain analytical tools; then not to mention the myriad of data from static reports on volume, transit times, capacity, and the list goes on. So, in a connected world with a wealth of data waiting for analysis, are we able to progress without first breaking down the classic data silo problem?
Logistics is not alone in this problem. Nearly all industries that operate complex, siloed processes experience this challenge. The promising news in logistics is the commitment of leadership in embracing notions of digitalization and modernization to evolve their supply-chains. Complementary data sources. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We must work together and connect, not just devices, but information.
Our industry got so busy creating systems to crunch, analyze and make sense of all sorts of data, that we forgot to ask if the end user could actually manage and make sense of all the data, and all the disparate tools.
At Xeneta, we strive to support the modernization efforts of industry leaders in logistics. Our company was built on the promise of making data accessible, breaking down silos across the entire industry and providing data transparency in an otherwise opaque world. We offer real-time market freight-rate data, with the largest coverage of trade-lanes in the industry. We are able to do this by providing one common platform that unites all players in the industry: shippers, freight forwarders and carriers. The goal of modernization of the supply chain is not in the distant future – we are experiencing the promises of sharing data in the logistics industry today.
It is our collective responsibility to educate ourselves and embrace the value of opening up data to unlock intelligence. At Xeneta, we are contributing to the future of the supply chain with real-time ocean and air freight rate data. The journey to complete optimization of the end-to-end supply chain, from real-time tracking to real-time cost analysis of all modes of transportation, may be a bit further down the road, but we are excited to be a part of this journey with customers and partners.