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 a recent UK customer survey by Paragon Software Systems.
The survey was completed by more than 100 industry professionals using the company’s route optimisation software. 58 per cent 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, the survey showed that for many there is still a reliance on manual reporting systems.
When asked who they were sharing transport data with, the most common responses were their operational (81 per cent) and logistics (66 per cent) teams, closely followed by the finance (65 per cent) department.
A significant proportion of businesses are 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 per cent are now sharing information with their customer service function, while 50 per cent are providing performance data direct to customers.
More than four fifths of organisations (83 per cent) have some sort of process in place to handle their data sharing requirements. However, almost half of these (49 per cent) are still providing historical reporting manually, compared with 31 per cent that are using an automated historical reporting system or 20 per cent that are providing automated real-time reporting via a portal or dashboard.
Of the 17 per cent that did not have processes in place, incompatible IT systems (47 per cent), lack of time or resources (29 per cent) and lack of data (24 per cent) were to blame.
As operational reporting becomes increasingly demanding and complicated, says Paragon, 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 per cent) stated that their Paragon routing and scheduling software had been connected with other internal IT systems. WMS (28 per cent) and OMS (17 per cent) were the most common system integrations, followed by CRM (nine per cent), finance/payroll (four per cent) and SCM (two per cent).
William Salter, managing director of Paragon Software Systems, commented: “The results of Paragon’s annual customer survey provide us with real insight into the growing demands placed on the transport office. 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 our suite of 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.”