Transport planning teams are under pressure to share more information than ever before as businesses look to increase visibility of their distribution operations, improve customer communications and remove internal silos.
According to Paragon Software Systems’ recent UK customer survey – completed by more than 100 industry professionals – 58% of respondents claimed that operational reporting requirements had increased in the past 12 months. While most now have processes in place to share transport data, many still rely on manual reporting systems.
When asked who they were sharing transport data with, the most common responses were their operational (81%) and logistics (66%) teams, closely followed by the finance (65%) department.
A significant proportion of businesses were also using transport data to improve the customer experience, which reflects an increasing demand from clients for real-time and historical delivery information. In particular, 58% were now sharing information with their customer service function, while 50% were providing performance data direct to customers.
More than four fifths of organisations (83%) had some sort of process in place to handle their data sharing requirements. However, almost half (49%) were still providing historical reporting manually, compared with 31% that were using an automated historical reporting system or 20% that were providing automated real-time reporting via a portal or dashboard. Of the 17% that did not have processes in place, incompatible IT systems (47%), lack of time or resources (29%) and lack of data (24%) were to blame.
As operational reporting becomes increasingly demanding and complicated, companies are looking to technology integration as a means of sharing data between different areas of the business. With this in mind, over half the respondents (53%) stated that their routing and scheduling software had been connected with other internal IT systems. WMS (28%) and OMS (17%) were the most common system integrations, followed by CRM (9%), finance/payroll (4%) and SCM (2%).
“The results of the survey provide us with real insight into the growing demands placed on the transport office,” William Salter, the MD of Paragon Software Systems, said. “The need to share real-time data both with colleagues and customers is another compelling reason for empowering the planning team and transport office with systems that track the live performance of the distribution operation. Tools such as live planning software modules give access to easy-to-use analytics and dashboards that significantly reduce the time spent on reporting, increase the visibility of KPIs and provide the basis for continuous operational improvement.”