Serving Customers with Smart Logistics: It’s All About the Data…

Key takeaways

  • Supply chains run on data, so you must treat data as a critical asset.
  • In a data-first world, you must consider data first before launching an IT initiative.
  • Businesses that failed to pay attention to data upfront have regretted that oversight.
  • Reliable data enhances sound decision-making, whether on-the-spot-or long-term, leads to and cements competitive advantage.

Customer service is the new logistics driver in the New Normal. Customers have changed their buying patterns. They’ve raised their expectations. They want to be in the loop.

As a result, customers are a more integral part of the supply chain than in pre-pandemic times. To provide the service and support your customers demand, you need reliable data.

Logistics technology by itself self is ineffective.

Business processes are the foundation, which technology helps to optimize. That is, technologies enable new business processes. But technologies need accurate, accessible, and clean data.

Simply put, data is critical to your business processes and your technologies. But data is often an overlooked asset. The graveyard of failed IT initiatives is full of projects that did not treat data as a critical asset.

The success of logistics IT projects rests on the viability of their data. Business processes, IT solutions, and data have a symbiotic relationship. To work in harmony, you must consider all three. By heeding data issues upfront, you can ensure your supply chain performs as intended.

The outcome will be a superior supply chain that works when others fail in the face of disruptions. Relegating consideration of data as an afterthought puts your supply chain at risk.

With that background, let’s focus on four critical criteria. They are data integrity, data standardization, data cleanliness, and data security.

You need all four to achieve reliable data you and your customers can count on.

1 – Data Integrity. This refers to data accuracy and consistency. Data integrity is important because supply chains run on data. More and more, the post pandemic world is moving towards a data-first world. That means the flow of goods will follow the flow of data. (Recall, the four flows underpinning logistics are goods, paper, money, and data.)

The pandemic has accelerated technology initiatives. And to have any value they rely on incontestable data. When you have reliable data, you can rest assured data-based decisions are accurate. Decisions informed by accurate data lead to increased effectiveness and efficiency.

2 – Data Standardization. This refers to data formats that are the same. Standardization enables seamless data exchanges across systems and networks.

Furthermore, it provides a Common Data Format by creating a structure for disparate datasets. It enables the “…storage and manipulation of multi-dimensional data sets”. (Wikiwand)

Data exchanges in the New Normal will extend beyond your enterprise across organizations. They will extend to your suppliers, logistics providers, and customers. This benefits all stakeholders.

It does that by facilitating closer collaboration and coordination. With everyone on the same page, you’ll be able to work in tandem towards the same goal.

3 – Data Cleanliness.  This aspect of data is crucial.  It refers to the process… “of fixing or removing incorrect, corrupted, incorrectly formatted, duplicate, or incomplete data within a dataset”. (“Introduction To Data Cleaning | My Master Designer”). Compromised data, on the contrary, leads to flawed decisions.

Dirty data can sabotage lead times and create chaos instead of order. Dirty data can corrupt warehousing, transportation, and real-time visibility. At worst, dirty data can bring your business to its knees.

Your supply chain must be agile and responsive. So, you must ensure data cleanliness at the outset of any IT project.

4 – Data security.  We all should be familiar with this aspect of data. Data security is the… “practice of protecting digital information from unauthorized access, corruption, or theft throughout its entire lifecycle”.

Highlighting the importance of data security, we need only look at the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline.

Data security can make or break your supply chain. Taken together with business processes and enabling technologies, data represent a force multiplier. It’s the lifeblood that feeds your supply chain. Therefore, your network should be impenetrable with data operating behind a virtual shield of armor.

Given the increased value of data to your business, you must rethink how to secure your data. That should be a proactive event – not a reactive one. Once cyber criminals breach your network, you’re fighting a losing battle.

Data is not something you can improve and fix in an ad hoc manner. Therefore, you must account for data security at the beginning of a project.

Wrapping Up…

In summary, technology is important to today’s supply chain initiatives. However, you cannot afford to overlook data. It’s a critical asset you must consider upfront in all your IT projects.

Relegate consideration of data as a secondary factor at your own risk. Recall, there’s a graveyard full of failed logistics IT projects.

Data reliability is a “must have”. Without it, your business will fail. That’s not subject to debate. Given data’s clear-cut value to any logistics IT project, it only makes sense to treat data as a strategic asset.

Data represent the lifeblood on which your supply chain runs. More important, reliable data will inform daily as well as future business decisions.

Your Next Steps…

Reliable data puts decisions on a firm footing, whether making tactical or strategic decisions. Reliable data will help guide you through the ups and downs of today’s market landscape. You’ll be ready to respond to fluctuations with confidence and conviction as they occur.

That said, tackling logistics IT projects requires meticulous attention to data. That being the case, it’s prudent to find an experienced partner who can help you.

At American Global Logistics, we’re all about data. We understand the value of data. And more important, we understand the value of planning your data needs early and upfront.

Contact us today to learn more. We treat data as a critical asset because it enables smart logistics.

If you want to cement your competitive edge, then contact us today.