Food Fulfillment and Warehousing: Using Logistics Data to Increase Efficiency


When grocery retailers must survive on low single digit margins and competition for the consumer wallet is driven by price, the effective management of transportation and logistics costs is more important than ever.  The ability to leverage and analyze supply chain data in real-time is essential to maximizing opportunities to optimize each component of your supply chain.  Here are a few ways that your transportation and logistics (T & L) data can streamline and enhance your operations.

Sharing Multiple Data Sources

You have a wide variety of transportation and logistics data points coming from many different sources that mean various things.  When all of this data comes together, it can provide the opportunity to create actionable items that will improve the efficiency of your supply chain.  The amount of information that can be mined from your product’s journey is immense.  With end-to-end transportation and logistics visibility, you can analyze real-time data from the steamship lines, rail, truckload, intermodal and drayage operators to make real-time decisions and gain strategic historical insights. 

Organize Your Data

Data can be messy so deploying systems and tools that organize and present your data in a way that allows you to make business decisions is now a must for all supply chain decision-makers.  Wherever possible use automation tools over manual data entry.  A significant part of data organization is understanding what inputs are the most important to track and then identifying and removing irrelevant or inaccurate data from your network will help you to avoid mistakes in your ongoing analysis.  Begin by developing unified data standards.  Without these standards your data will not only be more challenging to use, but it hinders the ability to share and present the information in a format that is visual and creates cleaner, higher quality data analysis and speeds decision-making.

Prioritize Data Collection and Technology

In the past, supply chain analytics and reporting could easily be categorized as a side-project.  It is no longer something that can get moved to the backburner or only reviewed during a service failure.  Realtime dashboards, analytics and reporting must become core to your supply chain planning with dedicated systems and resources.  Having the ability to not only analyze, but visualize, the massive amounts of information that moves through your supply chain is a distinct strategic advantage which can transform your supply chain into a competitive advantage.  Investing in Transportation Management Systems, ERP Systems and reporting tools incorporate machine learning platforms will continue to be a growing priority of logistics service providers.

With a focus on technology, Barrett Distribution Centers is a full-service third-party logistics provider.  Barrett has experience in the food and beverage sector, as well as the resources, facilities, and expertise required to help organizations improve their supply chains.