Read the full article on Inbound Logistics.
As a logistics professional, you’re familiar with the value of high-quality data. Experienced supply chain practitioners recognize that the value of data is directly related to its utility: Raw data without context or consequence is virtually meaningless.
With even more tracking systems contributing to a dramatic increase in the volume of available data, companies are looking for new tools to transform unfiltered information into meaningful insights. With that in mind, it is unsurprising that dashboards are becoming an increasingly popular tool for many logistics companies.
Dashboards are essentially a single-screen view of all critical data, monitored in real-time and presented in an easy-to-read format that makes it possible to understand large amounts of complex information at a glance. These tools present an opportunity to track, contextualize, and leverage data in a way that can dramatically enhance operational efficiencies and simplify logistics.
Flexible and powerful, new dashboard technologies make it easy to identify inefficiencies and optimize processes, allowing decision-makers to drill down into data to gain a more detailed understanding of their operational landscape.
Simplicity and Efficiency
High-quality dashboards are more than just a simple digital readout—they are designed to provide a visually appealing interface with an extraordinary level of accessibility and transparency.
This real-time window into complex operations engages viewers to more closely examine data and act upon the insights revealed. As a result, information is transformed into meaning.
The impact of this transformation is profound. Managers can make decisions on the fly based on up-to-the-second data, while executives and high-level decision-makers can make informed and more strategic business decisions that can successfully impact the company’s bottom line.
Metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) can be closely monitored to ensure that systems are operating efficiently, benchmarks are met, and continual forward progress is being made.
Logistics professionals recognize the value of efficiency and understand that factors such as resource allocation and logistical complexity are enormously important to their professional success. At a time when sophisticated transportation management systems can deliver an unprecedented level of detail, such as costs, tracking, scheduling, and inventory, dashboards are able to take that granular data and reveal the bigger picture.
Best Practices for Success
Dashboard solutions are a powerful tool, but, like any tool, they need to be used responsibly. Industry professionals looking to move forward with a dashboard solution should understand the accepted best practices for designing and deploying their system.
What? Arguably the most important prerequisite for establishing a successful dashboard solution is the process of determining which key metrics will be monitored. Take time to develop a clear understanding of what information is mission critical and should be included on your dashboard.
Who? Determining who should and will be able to access your dashboards is important not only for security purposes, but also because dashboards can present different information in different professional contexts. The CEO of a company is almost certainly going to want to access and track a different set of metrics than a warehouse manager or regional supervisor.
How? Striking a balance between detail and clarity is vital. A dashboard’s analytical power stems from its ability to provide a clear perspective—and any information that muddies the waters with unnecessary or redundant detail should be discarded.
A successful dashboard should be understandable (and usable) for anyone who needs access to the data to make decisions or do their job more effectively, including but not limited to:
• Business users
• Front-line employees
Flexibility and Customization
The most effective dashboards are highly flexible and can be customized to meet the needs of individual companies. Be sure to select a dashboard solution that can integrate your various data sources and meet your customization needs.
For logistics professionals, data is meaningless without context, and dashboards not only help provide context, but also do so in a way that enhances decision-making capabilities—ultimately helping logistics professionals improve efficiency, eliminate redundancy, and enhance their bottom line.