At the the Teradata Summit that was on in Sydney and Melbourne this week, Nikolaus Walkowsky, Global Head of Business Intelligence at DHL Express outlined some of the recent analytics innovations they have implemented.
He started with an anecdote to demonstrate the central place which information holds at DHL. Way back in the 1960s, founders Hillblom, Dalsey and Lynn (DHL) saw that by flying bills of lading ahead of the goods being delivered they could expedite the customs process and deliver goods more quickly. Hence in some ways the information describing the goods was as central to the business as the goods themselves.
DHL progressed their analytical maturity from descriptive analytics (what happened yesterday?) in the period 2000-2005, through failure allocation, root cause analysis, and benchmarking in the period 2005 – 2010 to the current state of multiple refreshes per day, tactical decision-making and operational embedded intelligence in the period 2010 onwards.
The key question they now ask of their data is : “What can we do to make everyday my best day ?”.
They also view the role of analytics as identifying business opportunities in billions of rows of data – but to do this in small increments. Rather than searching for the elusive $20 million opportunity, they concentrate on finding the 200 x $200,000 opportunities.
To this end, knowing the cost and profitability of each delivery is key for DHL. They have implemented a global costing system which reconciles with global P&L. Shipping, billing and general ledger information fed into Teradata Data Warehouse which runs the Teradata Value Analyser (TVA) calculation engine. From this DHL enables margin management, carbon accounting, profitability reporting, cost management, operational benchmarking and trade-lane control.
Running a global enterprise in a competitive marketplace constantly under threat from new and emerging technologies (think drone delivery) is no trivial undertaking but DHL have shown that with intelligent use of data and a well architected analytical infrastructure a significant competitive advantage can be developed.
Ross Farrelly is the Chief Data Scientist for Teradata ANZ, Ross is responsible for data mining, analytics and advanced modeling projects using the Teradata Aster platform. Previously Ross ran Datamilk, an independent bespoke data mining consultancy specialising in data mining and advanced predictive analytics. Ross is a six sigma black belt and has had many years of experience in a variety of statistical roles including Business Development Management at Minitab and as a SAS Analyst at New Frontier Publishing. Connect with Ross Farrelly on Linkedin.
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