Flexibility to customize for your unique needs
Without question, visibility and regular reviews of your freight data should be a fundamental element of your decision making process. But, one of the biggest challenges we hear our prospective clients face is the lack of access to consistent, timely, and accurate data. In this success story, we explore how VTM:
A well-known, international, shipper of consumer goods asked VTM how they could simplify their analytics and get better visibility into their freight data. Seeking a new partner after an engagement with one of the largest freight audit & payment providers, this shipper knew they needed better visibility into their spend and data, but were not making any progress with their current partner when asking for anything more advanced than a list of payments by carrier.
Further complicating their challenges was an analytics roadmap that called for many data sources to be integrated to produce a single set of metrics and KPIs. Their roadmap also came with a challenging timeline requiring flexibility and multiple iterations to gain alignment across multiple stakeholder groups.
In an increasingly data-driven environment, they were facing several key challenges that better access to their freight data helped address:
Can you get the data you need when you need it?
As simple as that question may sound, the answer is not always as straight forward as you might expect.
If you rely on an external partner for your data, are they always accessible and responsive to your requests? Are all of the data points you need available, and does your partner have tools that empower you to explore your data in a self-service environment?
And if you rely on an internal team for analytics, are your integration processes complete and efficient? And are your team members at full capacity?
74% of our clients say that they did not have adequate access to the data they needed to make business decisions before moving to VTM’s Transware Platform.
Your data is ready to tell you something. The question is, are you listening?
The Process & Solution
When it comes to analytics, we have found that no two shippers are the same. Virtually every organization has different needs, driven by many different stakeholder groups ranging from logistics to finance, accounting, and executive leadership. Because each group needs different data, metrics, and KPIs, it can be difficult to satisfy everyone at once. However, the VTM approach to delivering analytics includes:
The result of this approach was a solution that greatly improved their ability to make data-driven business decisions.
Getting to know the requirements
We began this client’s discovery sessions with a brief demo of our offerings in the space. Specifically, Transware’s Report Center report builder and Advanced Analytics dashboards. We like to start with a demo because we have found it gets users excited to experience their data through our tools. Because this client was transitioning away from a partner with very limited reporting capabilities, this session inspired key stakeholders and got the ideas flowing.
Even from the initial conversations, Transware’s Report Center was clear fit for a starting point. Report Center’s simple and intuitive drag-and-drop interface makes it easy for anyone to learn and start building, saving, and scheduling reports.
Report Center also offers 30+ prebuilt reports, each with a different purpose and focus on a critical workstream, like Finance, Accounting, Carriers, Payments, and Invoice Processing Inventory. These prebuilt reports are a great starting point for many of our most common requests. And the best part is, they are fully customizable by you and your customizations can be saved and shared with others.
Several detailed discussions later, we had fully explored the needs of the various stakeholder groups in their organization. One thing that was clear regardless of who or which group we talked to was that flexibility in any solution was a must-have for this shipper. Their management team and organization as a whole were undergoing some big changes, so as new team members rolled on, requirements were likely to shift. Transware’s reporting & analytics solutions were built with shifting requirements in mind, so adapting to preference and definition changes were quick and easy.
The client was able to get right to work using Report Center for many of their needs, but given the scope of work to accomplish for their more unique requirements, we needed a few weeks to deliver solutions. Their Dedicated Success Manager worked closely with them to prioritize their needs and then partnered with our Analytics team to create a reliable roadmap of build, test, and implement iterations with a clear line of sight into when they could expect to see new dashboard pages and fields.
Integrating several data sources
Out of the box, Transware is setup to capture hundreds of data points from your invoice data as well as location, general ledger, carrier, and other master data sources. However, it was clear from the first discovery session that we would need to integrate more than 5 of this client’s data sources to deliver on all of their expectations. These data sources were systems like several TMS systems, a CRM, a product database, and a special ocean data file.
These data sources were imperfect, but we worked closely with the client’s functional experts to model the data for their use cases. The challenges with the data did not stop there, however. Like many of our other clients, this client’s IT resources were unavailable to support major projects like these, at least in the short-term. This meant we had to be flexible with how we received the data. Our experts offered multiple solutions and workarounds to bridge the gap between what the client’s business team could do and what we needed IT’s support on.
Data integration and support from IT is often a sore subject for many of our clients. That is why our solutions for integration are built around several options and workarounds with low or no-code required. These solutions also support a variety of transmission methods, such as pushing or pulling files via SFTP, emailing Excel files, and REST APIs.
Dashboards that deliver insights
Report Center is very flexible and empowers users to drill deep into their data in Transware. And that is great for use cases where you have a special request, or just want to get data to Excel. However, Transware’s Advanced Analytics dashboards are an incredibly powerful way to manage and monitor your portfolio of metrics and KPIs.
Our clients come to us in all stages of their data journey. Our Advanced Analytics solutions are robust enough for power users, yet simple enough for casual users. If you already know what you are looking for, Transware is the perfect place to find it. If you need some inspiration, leverage our industry expertise to create an analytics experience you will love.
For this client, Transware’s Advanced Analytics dashboards were an important part of the solution. Our dashboards offer tremendous advantages when it comes to understanding and making decisions with speed, reliability, and consistency. Our boardroom-ready charts, tables, and graphs make drawing conclusions simple. And applying filters to drill into exactly what you are looking for is incredibly empowering.
Having a clear roadmap of requirements for each stakeholder group helped us enhance our robust core dashboards with their customizations. Our core multi-page dashboards offer plenty of insights with simple to understand summaries of data, but also total flexibility to drill into the detail data behind the summaries, like invoice and charge allocations all in the same place.
Some of the insights you can find on core dashboards include:
Without an analytics function of their own, this client found that leveraging our analytics expertise to create customized dashboards for their stakeholders allowed them to be much more nimble and reduce the time to value. Our analytics team delivered multiple dashboards over several iterations that helped this client unlock insights in their overall spending trend, least cost/preferred carrier usage, and locations that were responsible for driving up freight costs with what they considered to be “avoidable” charges:
Value Realization Scorecard
One of our most popular core dashboards is the Value Realization Scorecard. Hard dollar savings through invoice pre-audit is only one of the ways you will get value with VTM, but we are proud to offer the greatest transparency in the industry into your real ROI because we know you will truly value seeing the savings our audit team delivers.
On this dashboard, we net hard dollar audit savings with our processing fees and balance due payments to provide a clear picture into your real savings. See how those savings add up over time and month by month, and drill into specific carriers to see where we find savings for you.
Ongoing reviews and support
VTM’s Dedicated Success Managers are always keeping an eye on your analytics for you to spot trends, ask questions, offer suggestions, and unlock new sources of value.
For this client, regular and ongoing reviews with their Success Manager has lead to many more iterations, valuable tweaks and additions to their analytics. From tweaking calculations to adding entirely new pages, your Success Manager ensures you are maximizing the value you get from our services.