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How shippers can improve efficiency through actionable insights

Are you reading your data incorrectly?

According to a report by Forrester, studies "found that while 74% of firms say they want to be 'data-driven,' only 29% say they are good at connecting analytics to action [...] We also found that leading firms were turning data into insight and action by building systems of insight ― the business discipline and technology to harness insights and consistently turn data into action."

It is common for many business owners to make the mistake of using their collected data to support an idea that they already have. For example, "My savings should go up if I switch from carrier A to carrier B." Using your data, you calculate the cost difference and break down all the areas you can save money with carrier B. You may be thinking to yourself, well, what's the problem with that? 

The problem is that there are better ways to use all those management and analysis programs. Taking advantage of that technology can remove personal biases and be the difference in what makes or breaks your business. Here's another example. Let's say the summer season is here, and volume requirements are ramping up in logistics. Maybe your data tells you that loading times have been increasing by 10%. But you already knew that, so there is not much insight to be found in that piece of data. However, if you can read your data and see that a particular carrier company arrives late 35% of the time and is making you lose profit, you can think about how to approach that issue in your business model and act accordingly. 

The statistics provided by Keboola below make a strong case for businesses investing in big data:

  • Data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers.
  • Businesses that use big data increase their profit by 8 percent. 
  • 62% of retailers report that the use of information and analytics is creating a competitive advantage for their organization. 
  • One-third of industry professionals highlight that the right technologies for data collection and analysis are essential for a better understanding of customers.
  • Insight-driven businesses are growing at an average of 30% each year; by 2021, they are predicted to take $1.8 trillion annually from their less-informed industry competitors.

If you want to try employing actionable insights, approach your data set with no questions in mind. Read the data results objectively, and then try to draw conclusions about what you should do next. Of course, actionable insights won't come to you each time you try this, and you should remember that you won't necessarily have an immediate solution, or even find the insight useful to you. However, it sets you onto the right track to help shape the future of your business, with specific strategies geared toward generating the outcomes you want. Your process may lead you to adapt a new approach, rethink your current plan of action, or simply leave the information in the back of your mind.

One of the best ways for a company to begin adopting the actionable insight approach to their big data resources is to have the support of the  executive team. What the CEO prioritizes will trickle down to the company’s culture and become what the  employees prioritize. Employees follow the example given by their leadership, and a leadership team that invests in big data and emphasizes the advantage of following data-driven insights is imperative if you want your data to give you the edge and agility your business needs.

Harvard Business Review shared a 2019 study surveying top C-level executives, which found that "Companies report (77.1%) that business adoption of Big Data and AI initiatives remains a major challenge. Executives cite multiple factors (organizational alignment, agility, resistance), with 95.0% stemming from cultural challenges (people and process), and only 5.0% relating to technology." According to this information, most of the difficulty in getting to the best of this technology is culture-driven, which loops back to the culture perpetuated by management. It might seem overwhelming, but don't worry - there are many  technologies and solutions out there to help ease the learning process. (Harvard Business Review)

Putting together education initiatives for your employees, purchasing a management/analytics product, or hiring specialized employees for analytics are all ways to begin taking advantage of the valuable data sets right at your fingertips. Looking for more information on how to apply actionable insights? Keep reading our articles here at Zuum, and find an answer to your question.