The data collected by logistics operators to deliver goods could enable them to become search engines for users from every conceivable field, according to a report by DHL on the growth of “big data”.
The “Big Data in Logistics” trend report focuses on three areas of application for data analysis by logistics companies and other industries: operational efficiency, customer experience and new business models.
“Big data and logistics fit together perfectly. Logistics companies manage a huge flow of goods and thereby create massive volumes of data. Specific data about millions of deliveries, including destination, size, weight and information about contents, is recorded every day,” said Martin Wegner, vice president research and development, DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation.
“That data offers huge potential for new business models, among other things. That allows logistics companies to become search engines for users from every conceivable field.”
The report finds that there are numerous obstacles to overcome (data quality, privacy, and technical feasibility, to name just a few) before Big Data has pervasive influence in the logistics industry.
“But in the long run, these obstacles are of secondary importance because, first and foremost, Big Data is driven by entrepreneurial spirit. Several organisation have led the way for us – Google, Amazon, Facebook, and eBay, for example, have already succeeded in turning extensive information into business.
“Now we are beginning to see first movers in the logistics sector. These are the entrepreneurial logistics providers that refuse to be left behind.”
And it argues that there is plenty of headroom for valuable Big Data innovation. “Joining resources, labour, and capital, it is clear that information has become the fourth production factor and essential to competitive differentiation.”