I’m a logistics business – why do I need business reporting software?

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As the manager of a logistics or transportation business, you know that your company creates data by the bucketful, day in, day out. Accurate business reporting is critical in a highly regulated industry, with multiple business lines, operating in a fiercely competitive

Our research shows that Logistics companies have very particular needs when it comes to information: margins are typically extremely tight and penalties for missing customer targets for delivery times, etc, can represent a serious profit risk.

Consequently, managers need to be right on top of day to day activity and spend – but to achieve that, they need accurate, up to date information, every day to ensure action can be taken as soon as a problem emerges. Reliable business reporting allows managers to spot trends and proactively look for areas of improvement.

The reality is that multiple categories of data are created every day, often using multiple devices – from complex software, through software apps and spreadsheets. The result is often a series of “data silos” and as a result, business efficiency is hindered with team members struggling to get access to the data they need across the business. In all businesses reduced efficiency means higher costs and lost profits but in fast-moving logistics businesses, these data silos can seriously undermine the development of the business as a whole.

Often managers assume that a more advanced or sophisticated accounting package can solve their data problems. The simple fact is that, whether the business uses the simplest accounting system or the most complex, it is invariably the case that the bulk of management information and decision making still relies on detailed spreadsheets.

Spreadsheets absorb hours every week; they are highly error-prone and they can’t be digitally shared. We have developed Octelas business reporting software, often referred to as business intelligence software, to completely remove the need for spreadsheets: in simple terms, this software combines all sources of business data into a single database, automatically once or more times every day. Then using some clever maths, the relevant bits of data are cross-referred to give users an immediate answer to questions which previously took hours of painstaking work, if it could be uncovered at all.

We have applied sophisticated security layers to maintain confidentiality by ensuring that each employee is only able to access the information they need to do the job in hand. As the business owner, you have complete control of the flow of information.

Our Logistics customers confirm that when they adopt business reporting software their data becomes one of their greatest assets, ready to shine a light onto areas with the greatest potential for profit and growth.

As an example for busy transport managers, dashboards can not only give information every day on high-level issues such as “How many loads am I pushing through today? How many have been assigned to carriers? But all of this can be linked to the targets and forecasts set for their particular division.

For general managers, dashboards are unlikely to tell enough of the story– they tell you what has happened but not why. Tabular reports, giving the ability to drill down to the underlying detail) provide full visibility over the whole business and are widely considered to be the better option.

Generally, a mix of both tabular and dashboard reporting gives the best results.

Push reporting emails can also be highly effective at heading off problems in this fast-moving environment. When something starts to slip, automatic emails can be set up to go out to managers as well as employees in charge of matters “on the ground”: an example would be loads that are supposed to be picked up tomorrow but haven’t been assigned yet. No more waiting until after the event to find out something has slipped.

Because business reporting software can simultaneously scan across multiple systems and look back over historical data, it can be used to spot patterns – so if e.g., deliveries along a given route are consistently late, it becomes possible to identify the likely factors at work,
allowing management to reprice or redesign the route.

Business intelligence software has been viewed as expensive to implement because it is bespoke to the needs of the individual client and takes weeks or months to design and install. Consequently, even sizeable SMEs are unable to justify the cost.

By contrast, Octelas business reporting software was designed to meet the data management challenges of SMEs at an affordable price. Its clever design means that no bespoke coding is needed to produce completely customised reports meeting the exact needs of your logistics or transportation business.

Needing only the most basic familiarity with internet-based devices, reporting is truly self-service and available on any web-enabled device – phone; tablet or PC.

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