Data-Driven Decisions Rule the Modern Supply Chain

Posted by PLS Logistics February 9, 2017 at 10:04 AM

Shifting capacity, increased shipper demands and unpredictable disruptions make informed decision-making a top priority for logistics professionals. For shippers trying to optimize the supply chain, efficiency is the number one priority, and analytics drives results.

71% of shippers said real-time analytics from 3PLs help them better understand shipping alternatives.

The challenge? Data accuracy. An estimated 80% of relevant data is unstructured.

But, in transportation there are many sources of structured data to provide business intelligence. Costs, demand forecasts, bar code systems, claims data, RFIDs, mobile sources, surveys, and delivery performance are a few places for a shipper to collect data.

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3 Technology Applications to Advance Your Supply Chain

Posted by PLS Logistics October 12, 2016 at 2:05 PM

The fast e-commerce environment, which is increasing competition, and the initiative to use data to analyze trends and operational efficiency are contributing to the demand for hi-tech logistics solutions. Technology is the key driver to an organization’s supply chain efficiency and success. Shippers are familiar with transportation management software (TMS) systems that give them a competitive edge. New tools like mobile apps, cloud-based software and big data provide shippers immediate, enhanced visibility that breaks silos and generates communication, collaboration and efficiency.

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Are Railroads the Golden Standard of Real-Time Data?

Posted by PLS Logistics June 22, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Shippers and trucking companies alike could learn a few things from the ways rail companies, especially Union Pacific (UP), are implementing real-time, big data technology to overcome supply chain obstacles.

Union Pacific had several problems to address, and technology was the only solution.

UP’s Problems

Freight rail companies like UP face unique problems. There are 140,000 miles of railroad tracks across the U.S. that move 5 million tons of goods a day. Maintaining visibility into train and track conditions across this vast, high-traffic network is extremely difficult.

Adding to the challenge is the fact that most freight rail cars don’t have electric power. This means that RFID technology, which has been used by passenger trains since the early 90s, is not a viable means of visibility into train location.

The lack of electric power also means a lack of knowledge into train and track conditions. Heavy duty trucks have the capability to utilize technology which can notify a carrier of truck malfunctions so that a crash or delay can be avoided as best as possible. Freight train cars do not have this capability.

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The Building Blocks of Transportation Visibility

Posted by PLS Logistics April 14, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Many businesses want to leverage big data in supply chain initiatives to drive efficiency, cost savings and unparalleled operational visibility. In order to do this, however, a business must have enterprise-wide infrastructure for information gathering. Only 35% of organizations use a transportation management system (TMS), meaning most companies do not have much visibility into shipping processes, but more importantly, don’t have access to data that’s part of the end to end supply chain insight that’s necessary for big data initiatives.

Use a TMS for Data Collection First

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The Remarkable Impact of Processing Big Data in Transportation

Posted by PLS Logistics February 24, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Only 23% of companies have a big data strategy, which isn’t surprising, considering there’s an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day. It’s impossible to analyze it all, but leveraging big data in transportation and logistics can enhance operations and elevate the bottom line.

Big data has nearly limitless potential. It’s a powerful tool that transforms everything it touches. A transportation management system (TMS) can turn data into something indispensable – actionable intelligence.

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How to Use Big Data in Freight Transportation

Posted by PLS Logistics January 21, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Big data has been a buzzword for some time, and for good reason. There are some pretty radical potential applications of big data, such as accurate demand forecasting or industry-wide real-time visibility. Oracle calls big data the “electricity of the twenty-first century – a new kind of power that transforms everything it touches in business, government and private life.”

But how does it apply to freight transportation?
Most transportation data revolves around operating a transportation management system (TMS), which tracks and analyzes freight performance. Implementing a big data initiative can be overwhelming and the return on investment is hard to predict.

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Market Update: How the Transportation Industry Starts the Year

Posted by PLS Logistics January 13, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Last year turned out to be a great year for transportation. Rates stayed fairly even despite predictions that they would rise, trucking companies were able to make significant profits for the first time in years, and capacity was loose enough to meet demand.

There are numerous predictions of what will happen in 2016, but it may be more useful to take a look at where the industry is at this point in time. Below are several trends occurring within the transportation industry that are shaping the way it operates and will continue to influence the industry this year.

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Technology Transforms the Trucking Industry

Posted by PLS Logistics November 17, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Technology has made supply chains and transportation more competitive, more convenient and more profitable. Technology’s biggest gain for shippers is actionable data. Shippers who examine transportation data develop strong operative initiatives, identify inefficiencies and improve inventory management.

What are some transportation sources that shippers can generate data from?

  • Transportation Management Software
  • Demand Forecasts
  • Claims Data
  • Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs)
  • Social Media, Blogs, Email Records
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Why Supply Chain Visibility Isn’t Enough

Posted by PLS Logistics October 22, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Visibility is a buzzword in the logistics environment; it represents the real-time status of supply chain processes. Nancy Marino, from Columbus Consulting, believes that today's businesses need to go beyond visibility to full transparency. In her interview to SupplyChainBrain, she claims that consumers want to know where their order is at every point in the supply chain and that requires more than supply chain visibility. What does it mean for companies -- to go from shipment visibility to true transparency and put its supply chain under analysis?

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4 Tips for a More Dynamic Supply Chain

Posted by PLS Logistics September 1, 2015 at 8:30 AM

Businesses today face a continuously changing supply chain environment. There is a perpetual factor of change, whether it’s supply chain disruptions or unpredictable customer demands, that must be managed quickly and effectively to stay competitive in the marketplace.

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