Data Is Calling
After a whirlwind couple of weeks attending both the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) and the National Defense Transportation Association (NDTA) conferences, I am left dizzy with trends and causes and concerns and opportunities. There was a room busting at the seams to hear Amazon’s secret to success; there were speeches from generals heralding the transportation industry for their work in helping with this country’s defense. There was so much that I gave up taking notes and started taking pictures of the slides instead! But once I was able to sit down and digest it all, a small voice echoes in my head with a phrase I heard more often than any other in both shows.
Data. That’s right. Data. How do we get more data? We need to be more effective and more efficient and- don’t forget- get more data. Consumer-specific data. Supplier data. Data from our WMS. TMS. ERP. Data from our carriers. Data. Data. Data. (And if you read that last part to the tune of “Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!” you are not alone.) If there was a thread to both shows, it was data.
In the Internet of Things, we look at all Things as bits of data. That truckload is tied to a bill of lading, which is fed by TMS that is building the load from various orders in a sales order system, which is fulfilled at the warehouse powered by a WMS, which is fed by inbound product ordered from suppliers on every ends of the earth and carried through every mode of transport. Each box on each pallet is loaded with widgets that have SKUs which are scanned at some point in it’s life- whether at a hospital by a nurse before put into use or via a cash register at a traditional brick and mortar- or in transport at a mega-warehouse for fulfillment. The phone calls we make from our smart phones have become secondary functionality to texting- replacing our voices with bits of data disguised as emojis and abbreviations (it makes you miss calls! Ikr? Ty! Yw!)
Technology is accelerating at a rapid pace. New pressures are put onto carriers and 3PLs to both keep up and compensate for any elusive data missing from the shipper. While shippers are more capable than ever, new initiatives in consumer-focused shipping (same day, flexible terms) and blockchain will push carriers even more towards delivering the same level of service in data as they do in transport.
Our industry has already seen the impact of the Internet of Things- from the virtual supply chain to warehouse robotics to Directional Short-Range Communications (DSRC) pushing autonomous vehicles ever further on the course to mainstream transportation. As the industry evolves, it will become imperative for those carriers to recognize not only that data is desired, but that they should also desire it. The old adage of “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” has been re-written to “you can’t measure what you don’t capture.”
Data, data, data- it’s the call we all need to answer.
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About the Author
Roberta Tamburrino serves as the Director of Market Development for Daycos. She has held leadership roles in supply chain for the past 17 years, working in both the physical and financial supply chains for the betterment of her clients. Roberta may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.