Big data and how 3PLs leverage it

Tom Sellin

By Tom Sellin Director of Business Development at King Solutions

If you don’t think that we live in a data-driven world, consider the following facts:

  • Over 90% of data in the world was created in the past two years.
  • The total volume of data being captured and stored by industry doubles every 1.2 years.
  • It is estimated that by 2020 the amount of big data in existence will have grown from 3.2 to 40 zettabytes (1 zettabyte = 1,000,000,000 terabytes).

There are more bits of data floating around in cyberspace than there are stars in the known universe, and you don’t have to search very far to find something that relates to your industry.

The Big Data Concept
Although the concept isn’t new to the logistics industry, many 3PLs are struggling to make sense of all the data. Even fewer companies are deploying policies that utilize concrete statistics that can make all the difference.

Just last year, only 8% of shippers and 5% of 3PLs reported that they were implementing big data initiatives that impact their supply chain, according to Capgemini Consulting’s Annual Third-Party Logistics Study.

That is staggeringly low number based on the amount of data that is available to 3PLs. In 2011 alone there were 12 million RFID tags sold worldwide. That number is projected to be 209 billion by 2021. These tags can be used by 3PLs to track the movement of goods from manufacturers to suppliers.

Yet with multiple strands of data being collected by numerous sources, many 3PLs are not leveraging their data in ways that benefit themselves or their clients.

It’s All About Optimization of Data Usage
Expenses are the clear factor in a company’s level of engagement with big data. Not all businesses have the money, time or manpower to invest in parsing through large quantities of industry and consumers figures. That’s why it has become imperative for companies, particularly large-scale 3PL providers to optimize their data utilization efforts.

Most data is easily obtainable, but not all data is worth a closer look. 3PLs that have mastered big data know to focus on the stats that impact their key performance indicators (KPIs) or that provide value insights that have the potential to drive their initiatives in the right direction.

Any data that makes sweeping generalizations or is vague in nature should be pushed to the side.

Read Between the Lines
It is indeed true that knowledge is power, but the ability to employ that knowledge is the key to mastering big data.

Take, for example, a 3PL that is trying to optimize a partner’s shipping speeds while keeping costs down. By using the historical shipment information from the companies supply line, data experts can analyze the need for new distribution centers that service particular areas or recommended route changes based on shipment leaving nearby warehouses.

Know The Importance of Data to All Employees
Good 3PLs have easily accessible stores of data for supply chain partners, clients and individual employees to utilize.

After all, employing large-scale initiatives isn’t the only key to the optimization of logistics there are other factors involved. Everyone, from executive to drivers, can utilize data to make a supply chain increasingly efficient.

Changing With the Times
It’s not enough to recognize the effects that big data has on the logistics industry. 3PL providers must keep up with the technology and information available to them in order to stay ahead of the competition.

At King Solutions, we recognize the power of big data and use it to revolutionize our services. The result is a fully optimized supply chain that reacts to the ever-changing industry.

Are you ready to use big data in your logistics initiatives? Let the experts at King Solutions show you how our big data initiatives can work for you.