Big data has the potential to transform the world of logistics completely. With the application of big data in transportation and overall logistics management, companies can hugely benefit from big data technology.
With the use of big data in logistics, the efficiency of distribution and production networks can be improved. According to research done recently, 91.6 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies are increasing Big Data and AI-related investments. This study clearly indicates that a number of companies have started adopting big data by realizing the benefits big data can provide and the impact it can have on their organizations. Also, the transportation process in logistics has become complex due to traffic, increasing fuel prices, driver shortages, weather conditions, and government regulations. So the use of big data in transportation can eventually help in simplifying the whole transportation services involved. Let us see how big data can be utilized in the case of logistics and supply chain management:
One of the major benefits of big data is that it can help companies track the delivery of goods and supplies. With the help of big data, the entire process of the transportation of supplies from start to finish can be tracked. Traditionally, the process of delivery could not be tracked. Even though the delivery vehicle might have left at the exact time for delivering the supply, there might be reasons the delivery person might not be able to deliver the product on time. For instance, the delivery vehicle might get stuck in a traffic jam or it might be difficult for the delivery person to find the destined location. In such a case, the delivery person would probably not be able to deliver the product on time and hence keeping the recipient waiting for it. Thus, in such circumstances, it was usually tough for the recipient to track how long it would take the delivery person to deliver the product. Big data technology can help overcome this tracking problem. With the help of big data technology, the entire transportation process of goods and supplies could be tracked from start to finish, that too in real time. With the real-time insights provided by the supplier, the recipient could track his purchase on his smartphone and thus can check his delivery status. Similarly, the delivery process could also be tracked by the company delivering the product, as to know how far the delivery vehicle has reached. This makes the entire transportation process truly transparent benefitting both the customers as well as businesses.
Big data can also be used for route optimization in logistics and supply chain management processes. Since the logistics process involves moving products from one place to another, that can create bottlenecks, by using big data, you can find the cause of the bottlenecks. You can assign the shortest route possible by the vehicle for delivery. With the help of sensors installed in delivery vehicles, along with big data technology, data related to the weather report and traffic update can be retrieved by the supplier. By making use of this data, the supplier can save a large chunk of money that usually invested in fuel to a great extent, and it can help in delivering supplies at a faster pace than usual. One of the global analytics and advisory firms recently announced the completion of their study about the use of big data for route optimization. Based on the study, the big data analytics experts at the firm says, "Big data analytics reduces costs by helping companies to proactively react to inbound and outbound events. It also helps the logistics service providers to improve their supply chain processes and create a robust interoperability model to improve collaboration between sectors.”
Big data technology can be used to deliver products at their best quality. For instance, perishable goods such as dairy products must be delivered on time. In case if the product is not delivered on time by the delivery vehicle, it might lead to deterioration in the quality of the dairy products being delivered. Thus, with the help of sensors along with big data technology, companies can deliver quality products to their customers. Temperature sensors can be installed in the delivery vehicle, which can help monitor the quality of the products stored in the vehicle. The data information collected from these sensors can thus be accessed by the driver and the company.
Have you ever come across an incident where you wanted to order a product online through a company’s website, but the product was out of stock? In such cases, what do you usually do? Either you wait for the product until it is back in stock or you order the product online from the website of a different company. In the second case, when you order the product from a different company, it results in a loss for the former company. Big data technology can here come to the rescue of the companies in maintaining the stock of their supplies. Of late, a number of companies such as Amazon, Alibaba, and DHL are adopting ‘smart warehouses’ for effective maintenance of goods within the warehouses. Smart warehouses thus improve the promptness, performance, and efficiency as compared to traditional warehouses. With the help of real-time insights provided by big data technology, companies can implement big data technology in their warehouses to monitor or track the stock of supplies available. Thus, big data technology can provide efficient warehouse management.
By utilizing big data technology, the overall customer service could be improved. Customer feedback helps in maintaining the dignity of a brand or an organization. Therefore regular customer feedbacks should be taken for improving customer services and hence help in the betterment of the company. Using big data technology through social media and surveys can help in improving customer service. For instance, companies can ask their customers through social networking sites that what time do they expect their ordered products to be delivered. Thus, companies can make an attempt to deliver their customers' orders within the time period specified by the customers. By meeting up to the expectations of their customers, can help companies to strengthen their relationship with their customers, and eventually lead to boosting up their businesses.
The hurdles being faced by companies currently can be overcome by the implementation of big data in transportation, and overall logistics and supply chain management. According to a recent study by Grand View Research, the global supply chain analytics market size is expected to reach USD 9,875.2 million by 2025, registering a CAGR of 16.4% from 2019 to 2025. This signifies that a number of companies of late have started adopting big data technology since it ensures faster operations and cost-effective maintenance. Thus, the effective use of big data technology by companies can help revolutionize global logistics and supply chain management.
Naveen is the Founder and CEO of Allerin, a software solutions provider that delivers innovative and agile solutions that enable to automate, inspire and impress. He is a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience, with extensive experience in customizing open source products for cost optimizations of large scale IT deployment. He is currently working on Internet of Things solutions with Big Data Analytics. Naveen completed his programming qualifications in various Indian institutes.