Ask AFS: How Can You Improve Your Data Intelligence?

People analyzing dashboard data on a computer

Our company is great at capturing supply chain data. However, it doesn’t seem like we’re using it very well. Got any helpful advice?  

Collecting data and expecting it to work for you “as is” is a lot like getting building materials delivered and wondering why they haven’t automatically morphed into your dream home.   

No matter how much data you have – or how great it initially seems to be – there’s a lot of constructive work that needs to take place before that data is going to be the hard-working game-changer that you’ve heard so much about.   

Priority number one is to make sure that your data is cleansed and normalized, since even data points that appear to be identical usually have small deviations or idiosyncrasies that can turn into major roadblocks.  

Like building a home, this process can take several months and require a lot of technical and business expertise, but it’s always worth it, because once everything is standardized, it will make everything that follows far more reliable, agile and effective.  


We’d love to standardize our data, but we have too many different clients or divisions within our company who like to measure things and generate reports their way. Any suggestions for how to get them on the same page? 

We feel your pain. Our industry is adept at creating many different names and KPIs for the same services – and for changing the rules for how things get shared and/or scored.  

What this requires is a Master Data Management (MDM) effort, through which we will be able to keep source data’s integrity, while creating metrics or data fields that follow conventional industry standards.

Admittedly, this will create extra work for you. In some cases, it’s the only way you’ll end up with data that’s clean enough to aggregate with or benchmark against other data. 


Any additional advice?  

We have a ton of it, which is why we hope to revisit this discussion in the near future.

Meanwhile, drop us a line at [email protected] if you’d like to discuss how our dynamic application of analytics can help improve everything from your freight audit and payment to your LTL and transportation management performance. There’s a big difference between data gathering and data intelligence, and AFS is here to help you bridge it.



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