Modern Manufacturing

How Smart Logistics and Transportation Management Leaders are Leveraging Data to Improve Operations

John Klinke
Director, Oracle Industry Strategy Group

Guest Author: C. Prasanna Venkatesan, Director of Digital and IoT Industry Solutions, Oracle

The transportation and logistics industry is at a crossroads. For years, many companies have been experiencing labor shortages that will continue to worsen, while fleet operators are under increasing pressure to make their operations more efficient and cost-effective. There are even greater challenges on the horizon: Customers are becoming increasingly used to receiving goods and services on-demand. Luckily, shippers and fleet managers at Logistics Service Providers (LSPs) have a valuable resource to help address these challenges. By better capturing and leveraging their shipment and fleet data, they have the potential to create new business models and increase operational efficiency. 
Industry leaders have adapted to these challenges by adopting an always-on, on-demand, and highly digitized strategy that combines the Internet of Things (IoT) with a cloud-based information infrastructure. The following covers the capabilities these solutions have in common and real-world examples of how companies have benefited from them. 
Capability #1: Track and Detect
Fleet managers and shippers need to know the location and status of vehicles, trailers, and cargo at all times. By installing the appropriate sensors (GPS, cargo temperature, on-board diagnostics (OBD), etc.) and gathering key data, they have a clear snapshot of where their equipment is, how it is performing, and how well cargo is being handled. Knowing the location and status prevents loss for shippers, while the OBD data helps LSPs understand driver and vehicle performance, enabling the optimization of their fleet operations. This offers multiple benefits, such as: 

  • Cargo management: Where is my shipment? On which truck? Under what conditions? Is it on schedule for the promised delivery window? 
  • Driver KPI management: Which of my drivers are following safe practices, and which aren't? 
  • Location management: Have any of my vehicles deviated from their intended route? Does this have downstream implications for delivery of goods or services?  Where are my trucks and trailers, and which available ones can I dispatch efficiently to the nearest pickup at the least cost? 

Real-World Example
Schneider, one of the largest truckload carriers in North America, found that its legacy technology was placing limitations on its quest to reinvent itself as a fully digitized company. With Oracle’s Digital Logistics capabilities, Schneider provides customers and employees with relevant, up-to-the minute information, such as delivery schedules, as well as predictive analytics to assist with planning for future loads and orders. Drivers receive step-by-step assignments, and managers are notified of deviations so they can correct them quickly. The solution also detects driver behavior patterns for immediate intervention or future coaching.
Capability #2: Visualize and Predict
The next level in enhancing fleet operations is harnessing data to visualize and predict the status of your fleet before a negative event can disrupt operations. A connected Digital Logistics system can supply predictive analytics to deliver superior customer experiences and avoid disruption, resulting in: 

  • Precise ETA: Digital Logistics allows you to combine multiple sources of data, such as routing, prior stops, and live traffic, to arrive at a more accurate prediction for Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA), so recipients downstream can be proactively notified with push-alerts from chatbots.  This avoids wasted time by keeping loading docks ready and available for imminent arrivals.  
  • Preventive repair: Using data from on-board diagnostics, Digital Logistics can deliver advance warnings of impending equipment failure, allowing operators and fleet managers to take corrective action, ensuring better availability and lower costs.

Real-World Example
Dragon Logistics is a global company in Vietnam providing warehousing, trucks and trailers to meet the logistics needs of its customers. Historically, the company had poor visibility and control over its fleet which impacted its SLAs with its customers. Dragon Logistics implemented Oracle’s Digital Logistics solution, incorporating the IoT Fleet Monitoring and Transportation Management applications, among others. This resulted in real-time tracking of shipments, better ETA predictions and automated rules to trigger notifications for delayed shipments and ultimately increased customer satisfaction.

Capability #3: Integrate and Act
In order to have end-to-end insights, a best-in-class Digital Logistics solution integrates with other business processes such as transportation management and customer service, including advanced chatbots. For example, with responsive analytics you can publish leaderboards and gamification rewards for your best drivers and provide coaching tips and nudges for the rest to improve. In addition, with access to driver and customer schedules, it is easy to plan your maintenance windows intelligently so your fleet utilization remains higher, increasing your bottom line.
Real-World Example
Lochbridge, a market leader in IoT solutions and implementation in the automotive industry (since acquired by DMI), leverages the analytics power of Oracle’s IoT platform to give its fleet customers the predictive power to know when a vehicle—or any connected device—needs service. This capability allows fleet managers to adjust operations and avoid expensive downtime. By incorporating gamification in smartphone-based apps used by drivers, Lochbridge is able to promote better driving behavior and help LSPs retain their best drivers.  
Next Step
The ability to gather, synthesize, and act on data presents an enormous opportunity for businesses in the logistics industry to adapt to the challenges they face. Oracle has extensive experience in this area as we are not only experts in data management and analytics but also have market-leading logistics and transportation management solutions. For more information on how you can move to a modern, data-driven transportation and logistics solution, visit Oracle Logistics Cloud.