Date: February 13, 2014
Time: 11:48 PM
Location: A room jam-packed with television screens, computers and other electronic devices in Los Gatos, California.
A group of men and women are huddled around a conference table in a room that has the words “War Room” printed on the door. They are frantically preparing for a launch at 12:00 that could impact as many as 40 million people around the world. We’re talking, of course, about Netflix, the online video streaming company, preparing to release the second season of “House of Cards”, the hit political series starring Kevin Spacey as a demoniacal US politician.
The men and women of Netflix were preparing to track, in real-time, the exact number of viewers watching the show in order to head off any problems. Netflix places a high degree of importance on data. Decisions at the company are usually data-driven; the choice to produce “House of Cards” in the first place was based off of viewer data.
And if real-time data is important for Netflix, imagine how important it is for the supply chain.
In a recent study backed by Material Handling and Logistics, 18 months were spent interviewing every possible sector in freight in an attempt to establish what the supply chain will look like in 2025 (coinciding with the 18th season of “House of Cards”). Four out of the ten trends were directly relevant to data tracking.
eCommerce in Logistics
Online retail is expected to grow by 9% every year until 2017 (and is worth $370 billion annually today). By 2025, the report is confident that all shipments will be trackable in real-time, from the ordering stage to the delivery. A similar evolution in the freight world will likely create exhaustive amounts of data.
Competition today is centered on price and service. In a world where the top-ten enterprise freight forwarders dominate 44% of the market, SMB forwarders will need to improve their service. Analyzing buying patterns and shipping patterns using big-data capabilities will be crucial to improving services and prices.
Amazon already has robots on the warehouse floor. Google recently acquired 8 different robotic companies. Anyone who can automate is trying to do so as quickly as possible. This helps lower the cost of operations, increases efficiency and can leverage amassed data to push a business farther ahead with less overhead.
Big Data. Big Wins.
Amazon (notice a theme here?) announced that it is working on anticipatory shipping, relocating goods to the closest distribution center based on consumer buying habits. They can only do this because they have the right data but also have the right tools to look at it.
What does it all mean?
Technology platforms, whether at Netflix or Amazon, have changed the way big companies do big business. Properly used, automation can take the grunt work out of the day-to-day, freeing up your salespeople to focus on generating new leads. For example, instead of spending hours on each spot-quote, you can now automate the process online, even letting customers generate their own quotes on your website. No less importantly, dynamic tracking of company activity with business intelligence tools can help companies save big bucks, cutting down where necessary and scaling up when the data demands it.
Freightos recently launched a free sales management and business intelligence suite that compliments our automated quotation tool. Give it a shot at http://www.demo.www.freightos.com.