The power of shipping analytics is now being seen as a major competitive advantage for shippers.

The term “predictive analytics” is making a big splash in the supply chain industry these days. Why? Because it provides companies information to act on today in light of what they can anticipate on happening tomorrow. For example, MHI’s 2017 Annual Industry Report states, “Predictive analytics can provide companies with a look into the future and give them opportunities to identify emerging patterns in the marketplace that can lead to highly effective and personalized customer engagement strategies.”

Today, predictive analytics is being used to improve efficiencies in supply chain operations. In the shipping realm, it’s seen as a source of competitive advantage. But, too often players in the shipping industry forget the power of parcel analytics and shipping software. Your shipping data and the analysis of carrier performance, shipping rates, and so on can provide useful analytics to optimize your supply chain and improve your logistics management strategy.

Many times, the issues are that too much data is coming in, too many other projects in the forefront, and a general sense of being overwhelmed on where to begin with revamping their logistics management strategies.

Insights That Improve Supply Chain Processes

Below are five insights that shipping data and analysis can provide to your supply chain to help improve process quality and performance.

1. Monitoring Carrier Performance

Shipping analytics software provides real-time data on carrier performance, which is a powerful tool for shippers to have. Carrier performance directly impacts the customer experience. For instance, to improve relationships with consumers and enhance your customer experience, you need to know if deliveries are showing up on time. Late deliveries can impact repeat customers, and shipping analytics can keep track of carriers’ on-time delivery performance over extended periods of time. You can then calculate whether the cheapest carrier or the most efficient carrier is the one you should be using to balance both shipping spend and the happiness of your customers.

2. Shipping Costs

Shipping analytics can also help with the issue of cost per pound, or cost per package. For the best supply chain performance, you’ll need to measure both together. There are many factors that can cause variation in these data points, but being aware of them can help you uncover if and why costs are hurting you, which can push you toward making better logistics management decisions. Shipping costs per package and per pound are predominant indicators of deeper shipping cost increases. Managing them independently won’t help you solve major problems, but it’s difficult to manage them in unison, and that’s where shipping software comes in. Let the analysis of these issues be automated with algorithms programmed into easy to use shipping technology to get actionable data in your hands.

3. Distribution Zones

Zonal distribution begins to combine cost and customer shipping data. This data looks at an analysis of distance. Distance affects both customer satisfaction, as it relates to time-in-transit and cost, because the farther the packages are shipped the higher the costs and fuel surcharges. Today’s consumers are more concerned with fast shipping times than ever before. Data on shipment cost, compared to distance, compared to transit-time combined with zonal distribution can work to optimize your shipping strategies and supply chain management. Shipping every package in the same way is never the answer because each one is unique. In order to most effectively manage unique shipments, you need equally as unique solutions.

4. Weight

Managing costs can be difficult, but weight distribution analytics are the perfect way to get on top of it. Between potentially applying weight distribution to contracted rates, concerns about dimensional billing, and even more issues with package weight and shipping costs, shipping analytics can provide you with information on how you should be handling your shipments. This data can generate ideas on exactly how to save on parcel costs or get cheaper shipping rates without sacrificing faster shipping times. This aids in refraining from upsetting customers which helps to improve logistics management strategies and enhance supply chain performance.

5. Shipping Rate Visibility

One final aspect of the supply chain which can be improved through shipping software and parcel analytics is visibility into shipping costs. Unfortunately, the exact expenses involved in parcel shipping aren’t always laid out in detail in the beginning. Shipping data, however, can track trends to show which carriers estimated routes vary from the invoice consistently, which have unexpected accessorial charges, and so on. This visibility will allow you to make better decisions about parcel shipping to turn your shipping function into a competitive advantage.

Shipping data matters because what can’t be measured, can’t be managed. Being able to track changes in your small parcel shipping spend through shipping software and analytics highlights where there might be weak spots in your supply chain. Predictive shipping analytics provide a comprehensive view of all your supply chain and logistics management strategies so that you can both save money shipping and optimize your shipping performance.

Use shipping software and predictive analytics together to get actionable data and bring your supply chain to a whole new level.