Big Data & Analytics Featured Supply Chain

How Analytics Can Help Shippers Combat Rising Intermodal Transportation Costs

Intermodal Transportation Landscape

In a 2017 American Shipper Report on global sourcing, 58% of shippers indicated that their biggest concern today is rising intermodal transportation costs. In the last few months, shipment volumes and expenditures have increased significantly year over year—an 11.9 percent increase in volume and a 17.3 percent increase in spending—according to another American Shipper article. These numbers signal a robust year for the transportation sector and the economy in general. With these steady increases and projections that these numbers will continue to grow in the near future, shippers must quickly find ways to manage this new expenditure if they want to remain competitive.

Earlier this year, DAT Solutions reported that high demand for transportation raised industry prices, and the load-to-truck ratio increased steadily over the course of 2017. Demand remains elevated into 2018 as well. With a transportation landscape of high demand across most modes of transportation and low supply in the current market, increasing efficiency and productivity is essential for shippers.

Trucker Shortage Amplifies Freight Price Increase

Low unemployment rates and an economic upswing coupled with high transportation demand have made it difficult to find the number of truck drivers needed for the volume of shipments going out, The Washington Post reports. Diminishing truck supply, high freight demand, and an ongoing driver shortage all contribute to rising rates in intermodal transportation. With shipping costs at an all-time high, supply chain agility is more important than ever.

Driver-Friendly Freight Advantage

Driver-friendly freight is vital to the transportation sector because it can make or break the timeliness of a pickup or delivery. Insight analytic tools such as Savi Insight™ can help shippers more carefully schedule open loading docks, allowing drivers to avoid spending hours waiting for a dock to clear at pickup or delivery locations. In a market where demand exceeds supply, shippers with efficient loading practices will gain a driver-friendly freight reputation, which can lead to booking more carriers, even while paying the same prices as other shippers.

Leveraging Analytics for Competitive Advantage

Today, supply chain planners, operations managers, and shippers can leverage predictive and prescriptive analytics tools to transform their supply chains into efficiency machines. It’s important to note that the volume, quality, and order of data have a significant impact on how accurate analytics are for the end user.

Making sense out of a maze of big data requires a platform that can quickly ingest massive streams of data, scrub, order, and normalize that data for analytics use. Savi Insight is purpose-built to handle gigantic volumes of live, streaming IoT data. Machine learning and proprietary algorithms are applied to streams of big data to identify which information to focus on— pinpointing potential operational disruptions, forecasting future outcomes and improving supply chain performance.

Analytics are a powerful way to harness the flood of data and give shippers targeted recommendations to combat today’s rising expenditures. For example, shippers can make their supply chains more efficient by booking with carriers that have the best on-time performance rates for a specific lane. Additionally, Savi Insight can help them reduce expenses by predicting which shipments will need expedites, so shippers are not expediting more shipments than necessary. Plus, shippers can see how to keep loads moving and reduce unnecessary waiting time for drivers. When the dust settles, those who have invested in improving performance and agility will be the ones who avoid supply chain disruption, retain customers and grow their market share.