Big Data in logistics: from operational efficiencies to sustainable advantages

Nowadays many industries are able to unlock the value of data, and the supply chain is no exception.

On January 25, 2023

Using Big Data in Supply Chain Management is a real game changer for logistics service providers. Not only does it provide intelligent insight into improving operational efficiency, it also helps to better satisfy customers’ economic and environmental expectations. But on one condition: a solid foundation for Data analytics must be built.

Thanks to the latest advances in technology, logistics service providers are now capable of better exploiting data, which brings a host of benefits to the entire supply chain: planning; production; delivery; returns; improved truck circuit management; prioritization for new orders; improved delivery times; better route planning; and improved traceability, etc. By using Big Data, supply chain players can optimize operational costs, enhance their operational efficiency, and help customers find the best ways to deliver their products to consumers. “Our customers request more analysis about their data so that they can improve their SLA, lead time, efficiency, and benchmark their performances against that of their peers”, says Sabine Bock, FM Logistic Business Model and Data Director.

Building a foundation to successfully exploit data / Transforming raw data into intelligent data

While the advantages of Big Data are now widely known, they only become tangible if the correct approach is used. And this is exactly what FM Logistic has been doing over the past two years. “We have embarked on a long-term journey to better exploit the potential of our data in our different operational systems, such as the TMS (Transport Management System), WMS (Warehouse MS), Control Tower and Co-packing”, explains Sabine Bock. “Concretely, we are building an adequate data platform architecture to allow the information to be transmitted and analyzed in real-time. It mainly consists of replicating our raw data from one operational database into a Google Cloud platform and of converting it into a format that can be easily accessed and understood by all, not just our TMS or WMS experts. Once it’s all completed, we will benefit from centralized access to 100 % of our data and be able to produce standardized reports and KPIs.” 

Enhancing the customer experience

Thanks to the work carried out over the past two years, intelligent data is becoming more accessible to FM Logistic’s operational teams. “We built dashboards to monitor our activity on a daily basis, both for our warehouse and transport operations”, says Sabine Bock. “We now have KPIs for volume monitoring, the daily number of pallets prepared and shipped, productivity, delays, anomalies, and much more.” Regarding transport, FM Logistic offers its customers a portal which is connected to the OMS (Order Management System), WMS and TMS, so that they can visualize real-time preparation, route planning and delivery. Customers also have access to information about stocks, delivery disputes, enabling FM Logistic to solve them more quickly and effectively. Big Data in urban logistics is a real bonus in dynamically monitoring order preparation up to the last mile delivery. If there is one area where Data can really make an impact it is in helping customers reduce their carbon footprint. “This is a strong demand from our customers”, says Sabine Bock. “Our TMS gives us many environmental metrics such as transport CO2 emissions. This kind of information is key for our clients because what is clearly measured is the first step for decreasing of environmental impacts”  

Going further in data analysis / Unlocking the full potential of data

It takes quite an effort to reap the full benefits of Data analytics. Whilst FM Logistic is beginning to see the advantages of its investments in Data implementation, the priority now is on providing more comprehensive analytics so that it can make better data-informed decisions for its customers. Another main project on FM Logistic’s agenda is to create a transversal database, combining data collected from different sources and covering the entire value chain: functional, commercial, operational, HR, and so on. “Once it’s all integrated, we will be able to offer more value to our customers”, concludes Sabine Bock.

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