The supply chain is complex and intricate. From carriers to shippers to retailers, all are trying to ensure that goods get where they need to go on time, in-full without disruption. It’s not an easy task.
To make things worse, each partner in the supply chain ecosystem is working in their own disparate systems of record, making it extremely difficult to align on data sets and pinpoint what exactly happens when a failure occurs on an order or a shipment. This leaves partners pointing fingers when it comes time to refute chargebacks, hold a quarterly business review, or accurately determine who is accountable for these failures.
Recently, companies have started to rethink their operations to be more agile and are adopting new technologies to propel their business forward. However, they are failing to address a key piece of the puzzle: data collaboration and data integrity.
This article will take a look at why shippers and carriers are struggling to improve their operations and how they can proactively use data to make better decisions.
Data reconciliation is a major (and costly) supply chain challenge
In today’s supply chain, one major challenge is that shippers and carriers are not able to easily reconcile their data. This becomes a huge problem when measuring the effectiveness of their operations, specifically when it comes to understanding service failures.
Each company works on a separate system of record (sometimes multiple systems); important information like KPIs and SLAs are stored separately, and service failures are documented via emails and spreadsheets (if they’re documented at all). This makes it challenging to collaborate across stakeholders and nearly impossible to identify responsible parties or the monetary impact of a failure.
Data analysts are inundated with dashboard after dashboard manually stringing data together from their TMS and ERP to get a sense of the supply chain lifecycle and answer important questions like: “How much does it truly cost to serve my retailers?”, “How can I balance cost vs. service?”, and “Who are my most expensive carriers?”.
The process is inherently one-sided, time consuming and often results in inaccurate or missing data. Untrustworthy data is then used to fuel procurement decisions, carrier performance discussions and retailer negotiations. This results in billions of lost dollars from erroneous retailer chargebacks, suboptimal routing guide decisions and inefficient discussions with business partners.
Shippers need to be able to connect their disparate data sets, tie them to key performance indicators, service level agreements and associated penalty amounts and ultimately validate the data with their partners. Data collaboration will give carriers a chance to audit service failures and correct the record, and will allow shippers to understand where they’re underperforming, if they are being overcharged, and where they can optimize their network to improve cost and service.
Imagine going into your QBRs where you’re all aligned on what exactly happened instead of arguing about whose data is correct. Or being able to measure the true cost of a rejected tender or a missed pickup. So, what can shippers do to ensure they’re accurately making sense of their performance data and put it to good use? They need to collaborate on a neutral single source of truth.
The solution: Collaborative performance management
Isometric Technologies (ISO) offers a neutral platform for shippers and carriers to measure performance across their partnership through a single pane of glass. This transparency and alignment creates trust and helps both carriers and shippers identify issues faster (instead of waiting until a QBR to address operational challenges). Through ISO’s modernized Performance Management workflow, partners align on a standardized source of truth, while simultaneously normalizing and correcting their flawed data.
This normalized data can then drive efficiencies across the entire supply chain ecosystem - from optimized carrier performance monitoring to industry-wide benchmarking, to efficient retailer deduction management, next generation procurement tools and more.
In all, data collaboration is essential for supply chain optimization, improving overall service levels and building trust in complex business partnerships. With this level of transparency, teams can properly assess the cost of doing business and make impactful decisions that are based on data. A collaborative approach promotes an agile mindset with a focus on visibility, open dialogue and trustworthy data. ISO gives carriers, shippers and retailers the confidence to know they are making the best possible decisions for their supply chain.