Freight

4 mins

How Accurate Freight Transportation Data Saves You Money

Heather Mueller

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Heather Mueller
August 22, 2022

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Rail congestion at the Port of Los Angeles is leaving containers full of goods stuck in limbo waiting for a carrier. To avoid more bottlenecks, carriers are diverting ships to East Coast ports with more capacity to receive and transport goods. As shippers scramble to identify and lock down alternative routes, accurate and relevant freight transportation data can provide a competitive edge in the market.

The amount of data collected throughout the shipping process is astonishing. Shippers can record every metric from the linehaul price to the shipment’s exact arrival time. But just because they can capture it doesn’t mean it’s usable or accurate. Companies must stay vigilant to ensure the data they access from third-party providers is unbiased and organized — or risk making costly miscalculations and uninformed decisions.

You need clean and comprehensive freight transportation data to anticipate and react to market volatility. Advanced technology can reduce bias in your datasets, allowing you to make informed business decisions that improve efficiencies and limit costs across your supply chain.

Data Bias Constrains Shippers’ Decision-Making

Data is only as good as its collection, management, and interpretation process. And unfortunately, many shippers don’t have the tools to capture and organize the breadth of data necessary to make strategic decisions. Many shippers still use software that wasn't designed for the complexities of modern supply chains. This creates costly transportation data biases that could be avoided with more robust technology to collect and record metrics simultaneously.

Common side effects of poor data collection and organization practices include:

  • Inscrutable data: Every supply chain consists of thousands of data points. But what’s the point in collecting data points if you aren’t using the data to create value for your organization? Systems that fail to sort and tag data in real time make it impossible to interpret data into actionable insights.

  • Unreliable insights: Small flaws in datasets can compound over time to skew analytics, eroding the value of any potential insights. It’s important to validate data as it is collected, ensuring the system is processing the data accurately and eliminating outliers that could bias findings.

  • Incomplete datasets: Suppose you want to compare your carriers’ performance against the industry benchmark. You run a report only to realize your dataset isn’t robust enough to provide the information you need. When your system lacks the ability to collect and manage complex data points, you’re left making decisions based on incomplete intelligence.

Clean and Comprehensive Data Delivers Clear Results

Clear and comprehensive data delivers a complete view of your supply chain, allowing you to forecast and benchmark with accuracy. And reliable data is more important than ever given today’s increasingly complex and unpredictable transportation networks. You can’t identify opportunities for improvement or proceed with daily operations without it.

Strategic transportation management solutions leverage unbiased real-time data to help you answer complicated questions. These might include: Are you paying a fair fuel reimbursement rate on each lane in your network? Could a different carrier meet your needs at a more competitive cost? Where can you improve sustainability across your freight network?

Breakthrough answered several complex questions for Ball Metalpack (now Sunoco Metalpack), a sustainable metal packaging supplier that was looking for a more data-driven approach to its contract freight network. Using Breakthrough’s robust datasets, Ball Metalpack gained access to immediate feedback on activity within its supply chain and carrier networks. The company used this data to reconfigure its RFP process and reimagine its capacity procurement strategy. This translated to 8.5% linehaul savings and 80% carrier compliance in 2020.

It’s challenging to make educated decisions about your transportation network strategy when you don’t have clean and comprehensive data. Seek out transportation technology partners that value a data-driven approach and will work with you to establish transparent, accurate, and actionable datasets.

Ready to enhance your freight transportation data and establish clear network visibility? Download “The Case for Better Transportation Data” white paper to continue learning.

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