Logistics and Big Data — The Perfect Couple

Big Data in the Business World

The risen in success and power of new giants such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and eBay may have give us insight into a new factor of production. Information has appear along side with resources, labor and capital as the fourth production factor which can greatly distinguished company from its competitors.

Companies world-wide are making a trade-off between gut-feeling for accurate data-driven insight in order to obtain effective business decision making. No mater the issues to be decided — anticipated sales volumes, customer product preferences, optimized work schedules — It is data that hold the power of success for business.

However, why is it so complex to search for meaningful information ? The answer is due to a massive amount of information liter across the public internet and within companies. Back in 2008, the number of available of digital information pieces (bits) has already surpassed the number of stars in the universe, and with the upcoming of social media, network access and rapidly increase in number of smart devices. Today’s “digital universe” is expanding at a rate that doubles the data volume every two year.

In addition to this exponential growth in volume, two further characteristics of data have substantially changed. Firstly, data is pouring in. The massive deployment of connected devices such as cars, smartphones, RFID readers, webcams, sensor network adds a huge number of autonomous data sources. Devices such as these continuously generate data stream without human intervention, increasing the velocity of data aggregation and processing. Secondly, data is extremely varied. The vast majority of newly created data stems from camera images, video and surveillance footage, blog entries, forum discussions, and e-commerce catalogs. All of these unstructured data sources contribute to a much higher variety of data types.

Information-driven Business

In everyday life people are familiar with making use of their information for variety of activities such as purchases, route planning or finding a cinema. However, in contrast companies are quite behind in this matter. In order to make use of their vast amount of information assets, companies will have to firstly change their attitude about how to use data. Before, decisions were made and then confirmed with data analytics. Nowadays, companies must transition towards a charge-ahead style of data analysis that can generates new insight and alternative answers, not just for confirmation of decisions. This shift in mindset will require new experimentation, cooperation and transparency across the company.

Along side with this transition, another requirement to becoming an information-driven business is to establish a specific set of data science skills. This included mastering both data analytical procedures and having a comprehensive understanding of the business. Companies must take new technological approaches to explore information in a deeper depth of detail. Disruptive paradigms of data processing such as in-memory database and eventually consistent computing models promise to solve large-scale data analytics problems at an economically feasible cost.

There is already existed an enormous amount of data that the company owned. However, there is a lot of refinery to be made on those information so that they can be practical and useful for business. With Big Data analytics, companies can achieve the attitude, skill set, and technology required to process data and generate more value from their information assets.

Logistics and Big Data — The Perfect Couple

The logistics sector is ideally placed to benefit from the technological and methodological advancements of Big Data. A strong hint that data mastery has always been key to the discipline is that, in its ancient Greek roots logistics means “practical arithmetic”. Today logistics providers manage a massive flow of goods and at the same time create vast data sets. For millions of shipments every day., origin and destination, size, weight, content, and location are all tracked across global delivery networks. But does this data tracking is fully exploit value by the company ? Probably not.

Most likely there is a huge hidden potential for improving operational efficiency and customer experience, creating useful new business models. Consider, for example, the benefits of integrating supply chain data streams from multiple logistics providers, this could eliminate current market fragmentation, enabling powerful new collaboration and services. Many providers realize that Big Data is a game-changing trend for the logistics industry. In a recent study on supply chain trends, sixty percent of the respondents stated that they are planing to invest in Big Data analytics within the next five years.

DHL had predicted 26 Trends to impact Logistics. Big Data will likely to have an significant impact in less than 5 years.

Logistics is being transformed through the power of data-driven insights. Unprecedented amounts of data can now be captured from various sources along the supply chain. Capitalizing on the value of big data offers massive potential to optimize capacity utilization, improve customer experience, reduce risk, and create new business models.

I want to hear how involve is your business in Big Data or Do you have a plan to invest in it ? :)