Transport Logistics and Data Analytics in AustraliaJanuary 24, 2020
The Australian transport and logistics industry is fast-evolving as it embraces the massive potential that sophisticated data analytics offers — an industry where the efficiency with which it can deliver the goods determines its success.
Government, seeing the value of data in the transport sector is also getting in on the action after allocating $8.5bn in November last year to build a National Freight Data Hub. In December, New South Wales became the first state in Australia to get a data hub up and running. It will publish data on where high productivity trucks that participate are travelling and how often. The initiative builds on the Intelligent Access Program (IAP) introduced a decade ago to monitor the compliance of heavy vehicles on the road.
Government has set up these initiatives to promote the sharing of freight performance and location data – an essential step towards building a sustainable, smooth-running and prosperous transport industry.
To maximise the benefits of data analytics, the transport and logistics sector are focusing on the following six imperatives.
Improving operational efficiency
Accurate and reliable data analytics can create substantial operational efficiencies and significant savings. It gives companies a comprehensive picture of what is going on through the entire supply chain on a real-time basis. Companies can use the information and insights they get to optimise shipping, operations and scheduling decisions. There should be proper visibility into the detail of fleet and field operations to identify challenges and opportunities. This may include a dashboard that analyses sales, scheduling, loads, routes, carriers, tendering, labour, bookings, customer filings and payment on an order or invoice line level to summarised level. Reporting should be streamlined in areas of safety, traceability and compliance with drill-down detail to documentation.
Predictive analytics to inform proactive decision making
The real power of data analytics is that employees can begin to anticipate problems or opportunities and take measures to avoid or exploit these using predictive analytics. For instance, management can anticipate slow and busy periods or traffic congestion and manage the fleet around these. While the Internet of Things (IoT) provides an even greater wealth of data via on-board diagnostics, telematics and sensors that can be analysed to reduce incidents and improve safety management.
Partner to achieve economies of scale
Transport and logistics companies could partner in building a data system that captures information across the entire supply system. The technology development could be outsourced to a third-party logistics business, who could take advantage of the economies of scale and set up and leverage the data at a scalable cost.
Manage the performance of resources
Access to business intelligence allows you to keep an eye on how your resources are performing and give you the insights you need to manage them. Companies can optimise the performance of vehicles and drivers by, for instance, reassigning loads if one of the trucks runs into problems on route to delivery. The information collected from the data can also be used to increase fuel efficiency and ensure that drivers are not driving too much or too little.
Ensure consistency and quality of service
All the data collected enables transport and logistics companies to offer customers a far better quality of service. Customers can track their packages and get real-time alerts detailing when they can expect delivery. Warehouses can prepare ahead using data analytics to optimise the supply chain every step of the way. This enables the transport company to offer a consistent, high-quality service that will put them in the best position to maintain its competitive edge.
Highly complex data made simple
Accessing operational and financial data from within your company can be hard, especially when they sit in multiple systems spanning many locations. This is where a focus on good data management practices helps alongside automated integration of data. With internal data managed effectively, then external data like weather or traffic patterns can be added to enhance insights.
The transport and logistics industry is one of the most complex to manage and thus stands to benefit most from putting the data generated throughout to intelligent use. Done right companies can benefit hugely from the economies of scale and the multitude of valuable insights that a sophisticated data analytics solution could potentially generate. As data and analytics specialists, Inside Info has worked with many transport and logistics providers to help them do just this, if you’d like to know just reach out.
Sharon Wood is an experienced writer, editor, communications manager and strategist, as well as former financial journalist, who became a communications consultant and freelance writer this year after working as a communications manager in the asset management industry for more than a decade.