The Power of Leveraging Shipping Data

Rich Harkey

May 30, 2024

Blog

Your product is the heart of your business, which makes your shipping and delivery system its vital pathways. 

The data held within those pathways holds the power of logistical optimization—and it goes largely untapped by many organizations. Shipping data can illuminate opportunities for increased customer satisfaction, cost savings, workflow efficiencies, and more. 

With thorough data analysis, these supply chain optimizations are within reach. And the best part? It’s easier than you think.

Unleashing the Potential of Shipping Data in Logistics

Shipping data is a promising tool embedded right into your supply chain. But before you learn how to leverage it, let’s start with the basics.


What is Shipping Data?

Your shipping data includes any information about your product shipments and how they arrive at your customers’ doorsteps. You can gather useful data during any step of the process, from order fulfillment to delivery.

Companies actively analyzing their shipping data maintain a competitive edge in their marketplace. That’s because key shipping metrics like shipping costs, order fill rates, delays, returns, and environmental impact spell out exactly where your business can outshine your competitor.

The Spectrum of Shipping Data: Understanding Its Scope and Impact

Shipping data covers a wide array of information—more than you may think. Understanding this spectrum and your unique shipping data within it paves the way for your success.

Key Data Types and Their Sources

Let’s start by asking two questions. First: what are the key types of data you should be looking at? Second: how do you find this data?

When you’re examining shipping data, start with:

  • Tracking information
  • Freight costs
  • Delivery time
  • Shipping method
  • Destination

Tracking information and delivery time have the biggest impact on your customers, and freight costs are important for you.

This data comes from conventional sources like warehouses, ships, dockyards, carriers, and distributing nodes. They track data points like fuel costs, commuting expenses, and transit time.

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Transforming Raw Data into Actionable Insights

Data alone won’t do your business much good. You need to know how to extract actionable insights from it.

This is where data analytics comes into play. Build your data profile with the aforementioned key data points, and then use that to:

  • Identify weaknesses like drops in shipment speed
  • Pinpoint strengths like low freight rates
  • Understand trends of frequent or recurring issues
  • Negotiate contracts with carriers
  • Collaborate with partners to improve workflow efficiency

This information helps you make better, more informed decisions. This way, you can improve your quality of service and increase customer loyalty. 

Operational Efficiency and Cost Management

Your shipping data isn’t only helpful with service and reputation. It’s also a crucial factor in the efficiency of your business operations and cost management.

Optimizing Shipping Routes and Inventory with Data

Use data analysis to optimize shipping routes and inventory. A dataset gives you important information on:

  • Inventory levels
  • Product or material waste
  • Fuel costs
  • Route efficiency

For example, you may have a hunch that more materials are being wasted at the packaging and shipping stage than are necessary, but you don’t have evidence. With shipping data, you can measure material inputs and outputs to gain certainty and make better business decisions. 

Data-Driven Strategies for Reducing Freight Costs

Contracting with a freight carrier is a crucial part of getting your product out to customers. When you select a carrier, you’ll sit down to negotiate a contract with them. In these negotiations, tangible data helps ensure that you get the best deal.

Use shipping data to locate your strengths and weaknesses. You can also build a benchmark portfolio to see where you stand compared to market rates. Use this as a leveraging tool with the carriers you’re considering partnering with.

With the right data sets, you can negotiate for benefits like:

  • Better freight rates
  • Loyalty member specialty services
  • A higher level of service

Then, pay this forward to your customers with lower shipping fees and reliable shipment schedules. These are prized by customers and can earn you return purchases.

The Role of Advanced Technologies in Data Analysis

In today’s age of technology, you have countless tools at your disposal to help with data gathering and extraction. Let’s take a look at up-and-coming technology that’s revolutionizing the logistics industry.

Leveraging AI and Machine Learning for Enhanced Insights

In 2023 alone, the shipping and logistics spaces experienced a huge leap in technological advances that propelled the industries forward.

And for good reason. Machine learning and AI can increase your speed, efficiency, and accuracy in shipping data analysis. With these tools, you have a smaller margin of human error and access to real-time data. 

Machine learning can log your business’s historical data and use it to mitigate potential future risks. Predictive analytics highlight business trends, too, allowing you to find optimization opportunities in a matter of minutes.

The Future of Logistics: Predictive Analytics and Beyond

Predictive analytics are already cementing their place in shipping and logistics. These tools help optimize logistics by reducing costs and increasing operational success. They also improve safety and security. You can even reduce your environmental footprint by lowering freight emissions. 

Other emerging technologies add to this trend. Blockchain, for example, provides a secure and transparent way for you to record your transactions. Having these records gives you the power to detect mistakes and identify areas of opportunity.

A few others to note:

  • Autonomous ships – Unmanned ships use cameras and sensors to avoid risks that cause shipping delays. These ships typically see more reliable and shorter delivery times.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) – These connected sensors collect data on the speed and location of shipping vessels. This reduces repair response time and gives accurate tracking information to you and your customers.
  • Big data – Information collected from the supply chain pinpoints trends and patterns.

Do you want to maximize benefits, minimize risks, and correct problems with your current business model? If so, these tech tools are indispensable.

Overcoming Data Challenges: Quality, Integration, and Analysis

As with any kind of data leveraging or analysis, data quality is key. Install quality checkpoints at every stage of your analysis and hold partners responsible for providing updated, accurate data. 

Best Practices for Managing and Analyzing Shipping Data

When you first start managing and analyzing your shipping data, you may ask yourself these questions: 

  1. How do you ensure that you’re gathering quality data?
  2. How can you integrate disparate data sources?
  3. How do you choose the right analysis tools?

Inaccurate data can lead to more problems than a lack of data, so how do you avoid it? Common best practices include standardizing data formats, prioritizing security, and establishing data governance policies. Data analysis technology can help you achieve these goals.

The Strategic Value of Shipping Data

Given how important your shipping data is, it’s no surprise that it plays a key role in your business game plan. With it, you can build long-term business success.

Informing Strategic Decisions and Long-Term Planning

Strategic business moves keep your company growing, and you can use shipping data to support and even fuel these decisions.

Use this data to select the best location for your suppliers and manufacturers. You can also choose prime distributing points that target your biggest customer bases.

Shipping data makes it a breeze to plan for the future, too. When you analyze your shipping history, you can glean what future logistics costs may look like. You can even use this data to decide if it’s a good time to expand your business, add new fulfillment warehouses, or hire more employees.

Enhancing Customer Satisfaction through Improved Service Delivery

Last but not least: your shipping data makes your business more appealing to potential customers.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a wonderful product, but with poor shipping and delivery fulfillment? If so, you know how fast bad shipping can sour a transaction. The last thing you want is for customers to associate your brand with unreliable shipping.

By gathering and analyzing your shipping data, you can pick out the weakest parts of your delivery system and polish them. You can also speed up your delivery service times, ensure smooth transfers, and get accurate delivery predictions. Your customers then enjoy your product with no shipping stress—and you can enjoy their glowing reviews.

The Strategic Edge of Data-Driven Logistics

Now you know the ways that shipping data serves the health and growth of your business. You also know more about the tools that harness this data and break it down into usable information.

Key Takeaways on Leveraging Shipping Data for Competitive Advantage

A data-driven approach gives your business a strategic advantage in contract negotiations, cost savings, customer service, and planning out the roadmap for your business’s future.

Shipping data is one of the most important datasets you have as a business. It helps you optimize your shipping routes and inventory. And over time, it can be instrumental in cultivating a brand reputation of trust and top-quality service. 

If you haven’t taken a look at your shipping data yet, it’s time to evaluate it. Break down how you’re using it. Consider implementing these strategies to improve your logistics operations.

And you don’t have to do it alone. Lojistic is here to help. 

Lojistic goes beyond typical parcel and freight auditing software; it's a cost-saving solutions and analytics powerhouse designed to put you in control. In addition to tools for analyzing your shipping data, Lojistic provides comprehensive services where our experts can help you identify inefficiencies, areas of overspend, and support your shipping strategy. Our detailed shipping reporting and shipping analytics will quickly become your greatest source of insights.

Enjoy the convenience of 24/7 access to your shipping data, coupled with the expertise of the Lojistic team, ready to manage it all on your behalf. Move from limited visibility to complete clarity and actionability with Lojistic by your side. Elevate your business with our hands-on support—reach out to discover more or check out our virtual demo.

Sources: 

EconDB. Best Data Sources in Container Shipping. https://www.econdb.com/blog/best-data-sources-in-container-shipping/ 

Supply Chain Brain. The Power of Data in Negotiating Shipping Contracts. https://www.supplychainbrain.com/blogs/1-think-tank/post/35114-the-power-of-data-in-negotiating-shipping-contracts 

International Forwarding Association. Emerging Technologies and Innovations in Shipping. https://ifa-forwarding.net/blog/sea-freight-in-europe/emerging-technologies-and-innovations-in-shipping/ 

Medium. Using Data to Optimize Operations Management & Logistics. https://medium.com/@RenderAnalytics/using-data-to-optimize-operations-management-logistics-1456a312c064 
ScienceDirect. Service characteristics and customer satisfaction in the container line shipping industry. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2092521219300045

Author

Rich Harkey

Rich Harkey

Senior Strategy Manager

Rich Harkey is a results-driven professional with extensive experience in the logistics and supply chain industry.

As the Senior Strategy Manager at Lojistic, Rich leverages over three decades of expertise to help businesses improve their shipping strategies and reduce costs. With a deep understanding of the requirements of shippers and the operational intricacies of carriers, he excels in everything from optimizing business rules and managing carrier invoices to negotiating carrier contracts.

Rich's comprehensive knowledge of the logistics industry, combined with his strategic insights and passion for data analysis, has enabled thousands of companies to gain visibility into their shipping expenses, driving impactful results.
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