Freight Data Management: Taking Your Supply Chain to the Next Level

Data management is an integral part of any successful global business, including supply chain management. The logistics and transportation industry is undergoing rapid changes, with an example being the more than 30% YoY increase in ecommerce sales during COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever is the time to be at the forefront of the competition.

Although managing all the data that pours in for your Transportation Spend Management is critical to make real-time decisions and optimize your global supply chain, it’s also a challenge, with the numerous platforms, data inconsistencies and inaccuracies, and other factors involved. 

At Trax, we know that navigating and overcoming the challenges of data management are possible. We’ve helped companies master freight data management, and continue the journey to fully optimizing their Transportation Spend Management. Optimizing your freight data management is a step toward setting up your company to be a leader in the industry. 

Challenges with Freight Data Management

Freight data management is a complex matter because of the sheer number of variables involved. When done correctly, however, it becomes an elegant and steady fountain of valuable information. Let’s discuss some of the most common challenges that we see with freight data management.

Numerous or outdated platforms

Many companies use a plethora of systems, which is often born out of necessity. What started as one system for this need and one for that as a company grew and grew soon leads to a global company with dozens of ERPs, several order management systems or transportation management systems (TMS), and even homegrown accounting systems. And usually these systems aren’t fully connected enough to leverage for efficiency, cost reduction, and data-driven insights. These systems that served quite well when supply chains were more linear can become outdated and a hindrance. Trying to bend or force systems to meet your changing needs is difficult, as some systems simply can’t capture, analyze, and manage data in today’s world. All of this variation and detachment of systems makes obtaining a comprehensive view, much less control, over global performance quite the challenge. 

But we’re here to tell you that it can be done. You don’t need to settle for chaos or disjointed views and disconnected data. At Trax, one of the first things we do is investigate the reliability of your incoming data, resolve any data inconsistencies or holes, and navigate data through a downstream system that harmonizes, standardizes, and centralizes your data management. You gain a comprehensive view of all the information you need to make data-informed decisions, boost your business intelligence, and drive up your Return on Investment (ROI). And that’s just the start of what we do to help you begin optimizing your Transportation Spend Management.

Using local platforms for global supply chains

Not all supply chain solutions are created equal. It especially becomes problematic when you try to manage global needs through a platform built to handle only local capabilities, not global needs. Similarly, it doesn’t work to patch together multiple local platforms in an attempt to create a make-shift global one. The hassle of shipping to or from multiple countries while using different platforms for each region is a necessary evil. The optimal course of action is to choose a global solution. A true global solution functions on a global scale, yet it can be managed locally.  

Working through a global platform that’s designed to address supply chain needs on a global scale takes your supply chain to the next level. A good global platform has the ability to collect varying data from different localities and produce a standardized, comprehensive report. Without the data and the ability to interpret that data, the fountain of knowledge available at your fingertips is worthless.

Vendors use their own platforms

Many vendors use their own data platforms, increasing the complexity of your supply chain management. It can dilute your data and even leave holes in your metrics, especially if you don’t have seasoned experts on your side to guide you through the labyrinth and help create consistency in your data. 

A partner that has the capability to harmonize all the data coming in is a crucial first step to remedying this matter. At Trax, we collect the data, evaluate it for reliability, and then match it to its metric and other data sources that it could augment and improve. For example, we match incoming data with a manifest so that our clients can get SKU-level cost metrics for their shipments. Data leads design and not the other way around. Shoehorning irrelevant data into specific metrics can do more harm than good, which is why we help you obtain the necessary data to measure the metrics you want.

Poor data visibility and inaccuracies

Reducing costs is only possible when your incoming data is pure and accurate, and you have the visibility and control needed to leverage the analytics. A Gartner study found that by 2023, 50% of global leading enterprises will have invested in a transportation solution that provides real-time visibility. 

Poor data visibility, along with data inaccuracies, can lead to erroneous, outdated, inconsistent, or irrelevant metrics. Evaluating your data is key. Pure data, when efficiently analyzed, leads to greater visibility and a clear view of your supply chain performance. You can make informed decisions, see where you can improve and save, and much more. What you see, you can control.

Importance of Freight Data Management

Freight data management plays an imperative part of any supply chain’s success. The better the data, the better your ROI and business intelligence to make informed decisions that widen the lead over your competition.

Save time, resources, money

Through a streamlined data management process, you save time, resources, and money in data collection and analysis. Once you have pure data going in and reliable information coming out, you can highlight areas where you can cut costs. You can reassign resources to areas that will help grow your business, as opposed to tasks that can be minimized or eliminated with optimization, such claims management. It also means you have the increased profits and resources to go after opportunities that will grow your business. This visibility gives insights so you know how much you spend, where you spend, and what you get in return. 

Centralized supply chain information

At Trax, we believe that information must be easily accessible. One central location for your supply chain information, with consistency standards, makes it easier to analyze your data. As we said before, different systems can be problematic, which is why we aim for data integration between systems to deliver a seamless stream of information. You can increase operational efficiencies, streamline practices, improve global compliance, and meet business requirements.

Boost business intelligence 

Data and analytics are the golden ticket to business intelligence. A high-quality, optimized freight data management practice delivers an unobscured line of sight that leaders need to be successful. Your business intelligence strategy in today’s market can be the difference between simply surviving or becoming a leader. 

This is especially important when it comes to optimizing your supply chain. With this business intelligence, you gain data and insights for multiple carriers, currencies, locations, plus heightened consumer demand for faster delivery times. In turn, you can streamline and optimize your Transportation Spend Management. This end-to-end visibility is a roadmap for where you need to go and how to get there. Having that level of business intelligence creates a beautiful cycle that keeps feeding itself and helping you grow a prosperous, competitive business.

Furthermore, the unmatched visibility that comes from boosting your business intelligence allows you to become more agile and dynamic. Successful, real-time decisions can happen because they’re informed by data rather than a gut feeling. Windows of opportunity become visible and more attainable. Decision makers have a wealth of data for future planning and expansion. You have resilience in uncertainty and changing circumstances, and you can predict shifts in the market, global trends, and more, giving you the upper hand in an already competitive landscape.

Become a leader in the marketplace

Companies that want to be leaders in the market need the insight and data to make decisions that set them apart from the competition. Freight data management is a strong start, as it impacts your entire process to become more efficient and proactive. 

For example, freight audit and payment (FAP) is one of the most important yet difficult aspects of supply chain management. Yet, FAP can be optimized with better data management. Increasing data quality leads to more visibility into where spending is unwarranted, what inefficiencies exist, and how to optimize your Transportation Spend Management. You gain control over the entire process. While other companies are busy reacting to the market, you have the funds, resources, and business intelligence to be proactive and take advantage of opportunities to be a leader in the marketplace.

To really lead  the market, it’s not enough to only collect the data. It’s about how you use it and manage it. We at Trax have engineered a way to broadly and elegantly manage the entirety of freight data that pours into global companies like yours. We’ve created a maturity model so you can move from basic supply chain visibility to mastering Transportation Spend Management, so you have unparalleled visibility, unyielding control, and absolute efficacy throughout your supply chain. 

As you move through our Trax Transportation Spend Management Maturity Model, your supply chain will transform into a behemoth of productivity and profitability.

Trax Transportation Spend Management Maturity Model

The Trax Transportation Spend Management Maturity Model is a robust framework that creates a roadmap for large, global enterprises to shift from limited or a lack of visibility and control to a fully optimized and accurate data-based transportation supply chain, encompassing all modes and geographies.

The maturity model has stages that you progress through that optimize your Transportation Spend Management. 

  • Proactive—Companies in this stage respond to issues as they arise, but eventually begin to plan and anticipate matters that lay ahead. For freight data management at this stage, for example, companies react to incoming data, which may be inconsistent, irrelevant, or erroneous. 
  • Optimizing—Accurate and high-quality data is obtained and analyzed, offering a company better visibility and the ability to make informed decisions based on data rather than assumptions. Companies here are better equipped to deal with uncertainty. Freight data management at this stage is optimized, from data quality to data management and utilization.
  • Leading—Companies at this stage can weather challenges and use them to their advantage. These companies have aptitude, capabilities, versatility, visibility, control, and optimized operations. They become pioneers of the market, leading change and innovation while growing their market share and cutting costs. 

Freight data management is a key cornerstone of building a solid foundation for Transportation Spend Management. Progressing through the Trax Transportation Spend Management Maturity Model takes you from chasing savings to leading the market. It incorporates carrier data, transportation performance KPIs, spend distribution, and more into your model so you gain visibility and control. It puts the power in your hands—what you can see, you can control. 

Optimized Freight Data Management: A First Step Toward Success

The importance of freight data management cannot be understated. It serves as a roadmap that shows the way to growth and prosperity. When you optimize your freight data management, you can obtain comprehensive visibility to make data-driven, analytical, and objective decisions. 

The impacts of strong freight data management are plentiful, ranging from saving money and resources, enhancing processes and efficiencies, and eventually leading the market. The latter is based on a strong Transportation Spend Management process, one we at Trax would be happy to walk you through. 

To learn more about optimizing your freight data management, contact us today.

Trax Technologies

Trax Technologies

Trax is the global leader in Transportation Spend Management solutions. We partner with the most global and complex brands to drive meaningful optimizations and savings through industry-leading technology solutions and world-class advisory services. With the largest global footprint spanning North America, Latin America, Asia, and Europe, we enable our clients to have greater control over their transportation performance and spend. Our focus is on your success.