I was listening in on a webinar the other day and one of the speakers said: “I live and die by the data.” That was not the first time I’ve heard that sentiment expressed. Let me be clear, I think data is important — very important — but is only the start.
Collecting data for the sake of having data is of little value. You need to make sure you are collecting the right data from the right sources. You also need the right technology and people to analyze and make sense of all the information you are collecting.
What you want is to turn scads of information into actionable data. Basically, that means turning it into intelligence that allows you to make decisions based on having the clearest picture of the problem, situation or opportunity.
Be careful that you don’t fall in love with data to the exclusion of everything else. Within the walls of all of our businesses are a lot of people who have years of experience dealing with our customers, vendor partners and employees at all different levels. They too have a lot of valuable intel that you can leverage when problem-solving. They have insights into your customers’ behaviors that no algorithm can capture. The relationships they’ve built up over the years of working together with your customers are another data point that needs to be factored into your response to a problem.
Technology and data analytics are modern day marvels and have made all of our jobs easier in so many ways. But whether we like it or not, the trucking industry is, to a large extent, still a relationship business so don’t forget to factor in the tribal knowledge you have about your customers and how they operate.
When it comes to problem-solving and best practices, trust the data but don’t forget your history lesson.