How to Tackle the Rising Tide of Data: Three Tips for Staying Afloat

As supply chain connectivity increases around the world, so does the amount of data that we create, consume and analyze. It can become easy, at times, for fleet and supply chain managers to feel like they are drowning in data.

Identifying priorities and channeling focus onto what is important to you and your operation is the key to keeping your head above the rising tide of data. These three steps will help you define your connectivity plan and determine how to effectively leverage the data at your fingertips:

1. Identify your current capabilities

The only limit to the amount of data that can be gathered and analyzed about your forklift fleet is your current technology and capabilities. Connectivity through a fleet management system allows you to collect data on everything from performance and health to utilization and operator behavior. If your fleet is not connected through a fleet management system, it may be time to consider one. You can start small and take a phased approach to increase capabilities as your fleet grows and your needs change.

2. Establish your objective(s)

The effectiveness of data analytics increases dramatically when you can utilize it to work toward a specific goal or issue that aligns with your company’s business priorities. Begin with prioritizing a couple of objectives at a time and expand efforts as you achieve these goals. Some examples of these data-driven objectives could be strengthening compliance, increasing efficiency, improving productivity, enhancing safety, reducing impacts, optimizing utilization and reducing service costs.

3. Determine how to share and use the data

Having processes and algorithms in place to help analyze data and allow for sharing of actionable information to appropriate stakeholders (e.g., operators, service technicians, supervisors and human resources) is key. Establish a plan to address issues quickly and efficiently. Institute accountability and action by putting in place processes, resources, support (internal and external) and commitment to help ensure decisions are made based on the data.

We see customers generally falling into one of three areas when it comes to this question.

  • They only use the data within the application and standard reports.
  • They rely on analytic or Business Intelligence tools supplied by a vendor.
  • They import data via an Application Programming Interface (API) or Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) so they can do their own analytics using internal tools and applications.

With the rising tide of data, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin, but the key is to prioritize the data you need. It’s also important to note that the Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to evolve and the supply chain will become even more connected. Fleet and supply chain managers should continually uncover new pockets of data to gather and analyze. These three tips will help you identify the data that is most valuable and understand how to use it to make ongoing decisions that will enhance productivity and efficiency.

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