Data-driven Logistics: Building a Transportation Dashboard

March 22, 2019

Mieke Houbrechts

Start taking a data-driven logistics approach! Learn how to build transportation metrics dashboard with this cheat sheet and example dashboard.

Big data is going to play a bigger and bigger role in almost every sector. That’s not different for logistics. Over 90 percent of Third Party Logistics and shippers believe data-driven decision-making is essential to supply-chain activities . Which data is interesting and useful in logistics? How is this data used to improve your business?

This article will give you an overview of important KPIs in logistics. Before jumping right into it, let’s give an overview of what we will discuss.

  1. Transportation: how to make the planning of your fleet and reduce costs?
  2. Warehouse: How to manage your inventory efficiently?

Let’s start with the first domain that is key to logistics: transportation. Transportation covers a huge deal of the total expenses for many companies like retailers, online shops, manufacturers… It’s important for these kinds of companies to keep a close eye on this and to have a good oversight.

How to report on transportation metrics

What are the total transportation costs? How long does delivery take on average? What is the freight payment accuracy? What percentage of deliveries arrive on time? How long is the average time spent between the exit for collect/delivery and the return of the vehicle to your company? How many total number of shipments has your company completed?

There are a lot of elements to be taken into account in transportation and logistics, often directly related to your company’s profit. So for example when your total transportation costs go up, you’ll want to know why and how this happened.

Therefore, it is very important to keep track of important KPIs concerning transportation and logistics. A good insight into your data will help you discover strengths and weaknesses of your transportation. It can help you embrace your strengths and improve your weaknesses.

Don’t worry, there are a lot of tools nowadays that help you and your company better manage your transportation process, for example tools that help you find the most efficient route or tools that help transportation companies offer leftover space in their trucks or ships. A lot of these tools also have a segment where you can analyze and follow up all this data.

Of course having these kinds of data of the previous paragraph on its own isn’t going to help you very much, therefore you need to know exactly what you want to keep track of out of all the available data. If you know what to keep track of, you need to figure out how you want to present that data.

List of common transportation metrics

You can analyze all kinds of data concerning transportation but you obviously don’t need everything for your business in particular. You need to ask yourself which information is important for your department

These KPIs you choose should align to the goals your company has set. It should be KPIs that really set goals or solves struggles.
Here are some more tips on how to define the right KPIs.

To help businesses start off, we made a list of KPIs that are potentially very interesting for your business. This can be a good starting point to set more specific KPIs.

  • Number of shipments
  • Number of payments
  • Amount paid
  • Shipping duration

Creating a transportation dashboard

Once you have decided which KPIs to use, you’ll get the most out of them if they are presented in a visual, up-to-date report. Real-time dashboards can be a good solution.

Are you already using software for you transportation data? If you’re lucky, it might already offer a form of reporting inside the platform itself. If you’re still looking for the right tool, this type of additional reporting can really make the difference when making your final choice. We’ve made an example dashboard to give you an idea how it would look if you want to visualize your KPIs.

Play around with the embedded dashboard below, to discover how it works.

Getting started with data-driven logistics

Big data is of increasing importance to you and your business. You have to figure out what kinds of KPIs you want to measure, analyze them and take action.

Now it’s up to you! Good luck making better data-driven business decisions!

Are you active in logistics technology, looking to offer these kind of insights inside your logistics software platform? Get in touch, and we’ll show you how easily it’s done!

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