Think Tank 2020: Answering the Tough Questions with Transparency and the Right Data at the Right Time

Posted - April 6, 2020

In 2017, a group of talented Transplace data scientists started on a mission to re-invent reporting for customers. The group’s initial mission was to deliver reporting capabilities leveraging the latest in data reporting technology to configure a virtually unlimited array of customized reports most relevant to our customer needs. The idea was to share easy to read and understand reports throughout the customer’s organization to deliver actionable information where it was needed to most effectively guide logistics operations for performance and efficiency. What began as a small team and new reporting capability has now become the functional backbone of our intelligence gathering function at Transplace called the Think Tank.

Data is at the heart of Transplace’s core values and is one of its key differentiators. With over $9 billion in freight under management in North America alone, the magnitude of data available, analyzed, and curated by our business intelligence team today is unprecedented. These insights are invaluable and integral to achieving the necessary level of operational efficiency and productivity for our customers and the many stakeholders that can leverage the data.

Through our data intelligence gathering, Transplace’s transparency and accountability thrills and empowers our customers to make better-informed business decisions.

The Goal and Impact of Think Tank

When the Think Tank was conceived, the goal was to find an answer to the simple question, “is there a better way to aggregate and display data?” Customer reporting was a tedious process involving overwhelming data and hours of time. Our data scientists hoped to create a more efficient way of reporting and make the reports easily digestible and actionable.

Toward this end, new reporting functionality was built on four pillars:

  • Accuracy/Data Integrity
  • Ease of Access to Information
  • Visual Design
  • Front End Time Consumption

As a result of these efforts, reporting time has been significantly reduced. Additionally, our customers have become savvier about KPIs, how they’re calculated, and visualized. Instead of Excel-based lines of data, modern dashboards and assessments enable our customers to easily identify trends, reference benchmarks, and highlight actionable items in real time during meetings.

Think Tank intelligence gathering involves accessing and optimizing the right data at the right time. At Transplace, data transparency comes from integrated analytics and data science that provides a 360-degree view of businesses without long lead times and complicated data extracts. The goal is to access the best possible data from a variety of different sources in near real-time and provide value with that transparency—using it to fuel data-driven decision-making, unparalleled support, and best-in-class tools for our customers.

We use advanced technologies to enhance our real-time, predictive risk analytics capabilities which enables us to bring greater predictability and optimization to the supply chain.

How the Think Tank Helps Drive Logistics Performance for Our Customers

When looking at logistics performance, certain key questions come to play. The Transplace Think Tank has developed a process for rapid resolution of the tough questions that arise when KPIs change and all through the right applications of the right data.

Here are some of our customer’s key questions that are continuous in nature and under unrelenting scrutiny:

  • What were the financial plans in terms of bid expectations or budget, and are we meeting them?
  • Is my routing guide serving my needs well or should I consider looking to the spot market for a percentage of my loads?
  • What are the cost and service expectations of my providers, and are they performing as expected? What are ways I can communicate their performance back to the carriers for improvement?
  • Where is my potential to save money and where am I spending too much?
  • How accurate was my strategy for bid compliance and how much am I losing?

The Think Tank is continually striving to identify new ways to use intelligence from many different sources and put actionable intelligence to work to support decision-making for both our operators and our customers every day. These data insights help provide answers to the above questions and many more with designed processes to:

  • Provide rapid, yet agile, onboarding capabilities supporting in-depth KPI visualizations and dashboards.
  • Help define benchmarks and performance levels relative to the industry and their peers.
  • Support the development of continuous improvement initiatives, with a focus on transportation value.
  • Create a professional community with cross-implementation of use cases and industry level benefits.

The evolution of data science is upon us and is improving at breakneck speed. Our customers expect value from the data we collect as well as an increase in business intelligence, applicability, and automation on a continually improving basis. The Transplace Think Tank is taking data and analytics into the 21st century with transparency that thrills our customers and more great things to come in 2020 and beyond.

How are you making data actionable within your organization? Our Product and Services team can help! Contact us.