Both shippers and carriers can gain concrete performance improvements if they improve their collection of company supply chain data and consult those key performance indicators (KPIs) at least once a week, according to a speaker at the CSCMP Edge trade show in Nashville, the annual industry conference for the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals.
In a study of over 1,500 shippers and carriers, Coyote Logistics—a freight brokerage division of UPS Inc.—found that many shippers have room for improvement on measuring KPIs. Respondents typically struggle to get data that is both accurate and consistent, and then to use that data to actually change their strategies and tactics, Coyote’s vice president for managed services, Ben Steffes, said in a session titled “What Shippers & Carriers Really Think About Supply Chain KPIs.”
Citing findings of a Coyote study called “The metrics that matter: Supply chain KPI research,” he said that reliable benchmarks are more valuable than ever after two years of extreme volatility. The study found that shippers ranked the three most important KPIs as: on-time delivery, cost per shipment, and appointment scheduling compliance. Those variables finished above options like freight tracking compliance, on-time pick-up, and cost per pallet.
The study also found that shippers aren’t the only party that sees value in performance statistics. Fully 77% of carriers said they appreciated—not resented—so-called “carrier scorecards” because those grades can help them improve and foster better long-term and mutually beneficial relationships with their customers.
Despite those potential gains, only a minority of companies see themselves as accomplished in this area, Coyote said. Just 26% of carriers and 36% of shippers said that they thought of themselves as “experts” at taking KPIs and turning them into action in daily operations or strategic decisions.