The importance of business intelligence can be felt in almost every industry.
Business Intelligence, or BI in logistics is the process or set of processes that allow managing the volume of data generated by the business to be transformed into valuable information that allows greater control of the operation and facilitates the strategic decision making.
These processes are supported by one or several technological BI tools that streamline, process and automate information flows to be displayed in real time and interactively.
What is Business Intelligence in logistics for?
In the logistics and supply chain sector, a significant volume of data is generated, derived from the multiple operations that are carried out every day and that involve a large number of actors, such as clients, freight forwarders, logistics operators, warehousing, transport, customs, ports, administrations.
All this swarm of information sometimes means that valuable information is lost that can be decisive when it comes to knowing the profitability of an operation, many times due to:
- Difficulty in collecting data
- Information hosted on different platforms
- Complexity in reporting
- Manual update of information
The complexity of producing global, up-to-date and reliable reports often means that the costs associated with each operation are not known clearly enough.
Business intelligence seeks to solve these problems, using big data, among other things, to clearly and easily offer a complete vision of the evolution of the business.
Benefits of Business Intelligence in logistics
The benefits of using this type of business intelligence and big data tools are already palpable and measurable. Many companies are already moving towards a new way of managing their business, more efficient and competitive thanks to them.
Accurate and clear information
At a glance, it is possible to know the status and evolution of the entire business, without having to consult various sources and cross data using spreadsheets. This also reduces the time required for employee training.
The business intelligence tools are automatically updated every time there is new data. This reduces reporting times and updates.
Greater agility and responsiveness
In the event that something happens in your operation that affects the business, it is possible to receive immediate alerts that help speed up decision-making.
The information is readily available to all users with the appropriate permissions, so that it is not necessary to ask each of the area managers for the data that is needed to make status reports.
Greater context for information
By creating evolutionary reports, it is easier to know the context of the data we handle. In addition, these types of tools provide visual information, such as shipment tracking maps.
Business Intelligence allows collaborative work, making it possible for all users to participate in the preparation and analysis of status reports. This makes it easier for users to detect problems and drill down into information until they find its source.
What to consider when implementing Business Intelligence in your business.
Although business intelligence tools can be critical in meeting the challenges of the future, it is important to keep in mind that this is a significant change, both at an operational and strategic level.
The consulting firm PwC already warns in its study that when implementing this type of tools, it is not so much the quality of the software contracted as the strategic vision of the company. Therefore, the following aspects must be considered:
Strategic vision of the company: it is key that the strategic approach is part of the implementation of this type of tools, because in the long term it will determine the success or failure of the implementation:
Ability to relate the data of the operations: relate data of the operations: being able to join and relate all the operations to measure the implications of each of the changes that are applied is essential to obtain the best performance from the information
That your business understands: business intelligence is common to all sectors, but it does not work in the same way. Therefore, it is important to consider that the tool you choose is proven in the sector and responds to the needs of your business.
User experience: simple and intuitive. Today no development thrives if it is not easily usable by the user.
Reliability: these types of tools offer highly valuable information for decision-making. But it must be borne in mind that these types of decisions involve a multitude of people, companies and involve large investments, so that the information offered is as reliable and accurate as possible.
Areas of application of business intelligence
Tasks for employees
The tasks in the area of business intelligence are diverse. Employees have a correspondingly high level of responsibility because strategic management decisions are based on their work. As an interface between specialist departments and IT, they should have good communication skills and solid technical knowledge.
In addition, activities in the field of business intelligence require conceptual skills, strong analytical thinking and the ability to recognize and explain complex relationships.
The most common positions in business intelligence are:
A BI Architect designs the BI processes and structures and formulates specifications for the system and the tools. To do this, he has to know the company very well, understand the requirements of the specialist departments and be able to implement them in appropriate processes and data structures. As a (partial) project manager, he defines goals and requirements and guides those involved in the project. Depending on the company size and organizational structure, a BI project manager is also used.
The BI Analyst is responsible for data acquisition and maintenance. In this context, he tests various tools, gives recommendations for action and, if necessary, trains other employees in how to use the various applications. As an expert on (a sub-area of) data, he can not only analyze it very quickly and with high quality, but can also make recommendations for action.
It is the job of the BI Developer to analyze the existing data for specific questions and to prepare the results for the decision-makers. Above all, complex issues and the resulting reports are part of his tasks.
The database developer takes care of the management of the data warehouse with all its sub-aspects. He is therefore not responsible for the actual BI tool, but for an important part of the substructure: for performance and problem solving as well as the interfaces of the data warehouse system, for recognizing optimization potential and continuous improvement of the system.
The application of business intelligence in logistics and transport are enormous. And it also offers the industry’s numerous advantages that has made it an essential tool to consider when venturing into these industries.
I’m Henny Jones, a Content Marketing Manager at HData Systems awarded As Top Big Data Analytics and BI Consultant Company. Company offers services like Data Science, Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Data Visualization.