Big data has become the lifeblood of countless businesses in almost every industry, and that's especially true when it comes to companies in the logistics sector. Your firm no doubt collects all kinds of information from your internal operations, those of your suppliers and customers, shipping partners and more. But how much are you really getting out of all that information?

If you don't really know the answer to this question, you're probably leaving plenty of opportunity on the table when it comes to increasing your efficiency. The following tips should help you get a better handle on the entire process:

1) Keep it simple

First and foremost, you likely collect a lot of data but put a lot of effort into interpreting and categorizing it, according to ArcBlue. The question is, how simple is your system? If it's overly complicated with a wide variety of tags and scads of data moving back and forth between departments, you may be missing out on some key insights.

With the right approach, a little more data can go a long way.With the right approach, a little more data can go a long way.

2) Collect as much data as you can

With that having been said, you should also be trying to find as much data from as many inputs as you can, ArcBlue said. When you have more data at your fingertips, it's easier to understand what's important and what isn't. That, in turn, allows you to lean into what is most important, and save the rest for deeper dives as needed.

3) Have an overarching plan

Your company needs to have a clear strategy when it comes to what you do with your data, according to Ivalua. You need to know who controls it, what they do with it, and whether they're getting as much out of it as they can. When you have a top-down directive in place, there is no confusion about the chain of custody or how data should be interpreted and utilized in decision-making.

4) Continually re-evaluate

The things that made your business work at its peak efficiency a year ago likely aren't exactly the same as what keeps you running smoothly these days, Ivalua recommended. Likewise, today's strategies probably won't work perfectly for you a year from now. As such, you need to convene your supply chain team regularly to see what's working, what isn't, and what's needed for the months, quarters or years ahead.

5) Gather it from more sources

When you're undergoing all these changes in a short period of time, it's certainly a good idea to make sure you are collecting all the data you've come to rely on, all on an ongoing basis, according to Procurious. However, you have to go beyond, and continually seek out new data sources so you can be sure you're getting the most out of these efforts.

6) Find ways to convert data into actionable ideas

Finally, you can't expect everyone in your organization to have the kind of deep understanding of supply chain data as the people who work with it regularly, Procurious noted. As such, you should always strive to think about ways you can interpret that data, translate it into visuals or simple explanations, and leverage it to take essential next steps that continually set your company up for success.

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