Data versus Blimps
Why you should combine logistics data and shared knowledge to compete against Amazon
Amazon recently submitted a patent for a floating warehouse, basically a “drone mothership”, that would float over metropolitan areas and dispatch packages like bees from a hive. Imagine submitting an order on your web browser and soon thereafter hearing the “whir” of a drone as it makes its delivery. In this era of extreme competitiveness Amazon knows that prompt service is critically important which is why this idea may not be so far-fetched. Whether by blimp, drone or truck, Amazon wants to control every aspect of delivery and they are not alone, all businesses strive to do the same.
When a customer makes a decision to buy a product it doesn’t matter if they are buying toys for their kids, parts for their machine shop, or steel for their assembly plant, prompt, timely delivery is expected. Being able to match this expectation has a very high correlation with customer satisfaction. Your business cannot afford to get this wrong. Fortunately for many of us there are alternatives to floating warehouses!
Thankfully you can still compete with Amazon (and their blimps) using the old-fashioned approach: with data. Transportation Data Source (TDS) is a perfect example of a business aimed at helping companies do just that. They recognize that the partnership between a shipper and a carrier is vitally important. It is not a matter of simple, blind determination that a manufacturer hands over their goods to a complete stranger and his or her truck. Great care must be taken in selecting the right transportation partner. TDS helps to make this a reality.
TDS collects data from a number of public and private data sources and allow their customers to access this information in a simple to use, web-based interface. They then monitor this data for changes in key characteristics such as:
Changes to authority (e.g. license revocations)
Changes in safety ratings
Changes to insurance
Changes to fleet characteristics and routes
And many others critical data points
A sample report from TDS displaying a history of inspections for a specific carrier. Is that spike in violations in August of 2016 an anomaly? Or is there a pattern of behavior that would make this carrier suspect?
TDS save their customers the time and effort from having to collect and analyze this which is a tremendous value given everything involved.TDS save their customers the time and effort from having to collect and analyze this which is a tremendous value given everything involved.
As you can see from this Process Tempo model, there are several sources and categories of data an organization would need in order to create the composite view that TDS provides. TDS collects 200+ data points on a staggering 2.8 million motor carriers in US, Canada and Mexico. This data as you can imagine, changes constantly. Anyone attempting to aggregate this data on their own would require a considerable amount of technical expertise and infrastructure.
TDS also alerts their customers when changing a carrier might be a good idea such as when a carrier loses its legal authority to operate. However, an organization’s ability to implement this change is often not that easy as changing carriers is rarely a simple process. This is where Process Tempo can help. Taking advantage of both internal data and that from TDS, Process Tempo can help paint a picture of the potential impact of change and thereby greatly assist with decision making.
In the below example, Process Tempo answers the question “What customers, orders and routes are handled by Acme Trucking Co.?”
As you can see, there are two repeating orders, two customers and three routes which are dependent on Acme Trucking Co. This is the bread and butter of what Process Tempo offers: the ability to visually navigate data in ways businesses have never been able to do before. To discover this information a Process Tempo user simply starts with a search for “Acme Trucking Co.” Process Tempo then returns an interactive model similar to the one above showing all of the key interactions and dependencies a business may have with a given carrier. The user can then choose to drill-down on any part of the visual model to explore more information. In the below example, the user has drilled down on the route “NYC --> Philly” and can now see other carriers that operate within this same route.
Armed with this type of information the ability to make faster and smarter decisions greatly improves. In our very simple example, we now know that there are at least alternatives to Acme Trucking Co. that may be worthy of further inspection. Having this knowledge would not be possible without combining internal data, TDS data, and the ability to visualize this data using Process Tempo. This is a perfect solution for problem-solving, discovery and decision making when it comes to finding the best transportation partners and this is just the start. There are potentially many opportunities within this data worthy of exploration.
If your organization does not operate its own fleet of trucks (or blimps) it may be worthwhile to take a closer look at your data to see if it is providing the strategic and tactical views you need to make decisions. An investment in this area will pay dividends as it will help your business to react to change much faster and thereby become more agile. Up-to-date, accessible data is the key to staying competitive. Without it you just may hear the drone of the competition whisking away your bottom line.
About Transportation Data Source
TDS is a high-powered search engine and database designed by a trucking company owner. Whether you need to monitor carriers, build qualified carrier databases or prospect, you can do it all right here – regardless the type of fleet! Learn more at www.tdsource.com
About Process Tempo™
Process Tempo™ delivers state-of-the-art technology and innovation aimed at helping our customers curate the knowledge required for smarter decision making. Using crowd-sourced data collection methods and a brilliantly simple user interface, we allow the entire business to participate in driving knowledge throughout the organization. Learn more at www.processtempo.com