3 Requirements for Meaningful & Useful Data in Transportation & Business

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As data in transportation becomes more abundant and readily available, the question of “What data is available?” has changed to “Is the data meaningful?”  If you are in search of meaningful data it is imperative to understand its building blocks or foundation.  When choosing a provider of this data you must first determine where the data they are providing is coming from, how the data is provided, and if the detail or summary of data is useful to make better business decisions or improve business practices.  Following are the details of each of these considerations.

Where is the data coming from?

It is important to know who is providing the source data used to develop your KPIs.  If you are using components of source data outside of either you or your provider’s control, what are the means of auditing its accuracy?  In order to be truly accurate long term, the source data should be available for you or your provider to directly scrutinize.  If portions are supplied from other parties, it is vital to expose possible exceptions or differences in interpretations of the data provided in comparison to what you control.  This will give you the ability to capture what is actual in a given situation.

How is the data provided?

This goes back to the old adage “junk in/junk out.”  Is any portion of the data created by end users at the time of input within the environments of an organization or its providers and suppliers open to judgment calls in areas like classification, definition, estimations, or interpretations?  If you are using the results of this input to drive important decisions on the direction of your organization, it is important to fully understand the initial forming of the data in order to provide both control mechanisms and specific and consistent rules of engagement.  Proper system guides should be implemented along with individualized training to mitigate possible bad data entry.

Is the data presented as useful to make better business decisions or improve business practices?

Going back to the beginning, the question once again is “Does the data help me?”  Having large sets of very accurate data is not necessarily the answer.  If it is difficult to navigate, sort, or understand it is still relatively useless information. Another consideration on usefulness is whether or not the specific information extracted from the data is useful to your organization specifically.  The methods of evaluating metrics or developing KPIs vary significantly from company to company.  If the results of the data are derived from a boxed or cookie cutter approach it may not be helpful to the specific evaluations your organization requires.  Proper expectations should be set with your provider regarding the reporting requirements.  These should include the exact analytics needed, the timing of report generation, and parties within your organization responsible for collaborative evaluation.

Summary

A good provider of any data used as any part of your business intelligence should be involved intimately with your organization.  They should offer controlled and accurate data that is presented in a manner that speaks specifically to your organization’s objectives and initiatives, producing KPIs specific to departments responsible for their consideration.

If you are looking for more insights from your data in transportation, contact Cerasis to inquire about our reporting we provide to our shipper customers who use our transportation management system as an enablement tool towards transportation procurement efficiency. If you’d like to speak to me, shoot me an email at tphillips@cerasis.com.

 

In January 2020, Cerasis was acquired by GlobalTranz, a leading technology and multimodal 3PL solutions provider. To learn more, please read the press release. If you are a current or prospective Cerasis customer, we invite you to reach out to us to learn how our combined capabilities can deliver new services, solutions and enhanced value to your supply chain. To learn more about GlobalTranz, please visit www.globaltranz.com.

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