Maximizing Profitability Through a Data-Driven Decision Support System

The challenge: Combining orders on one voyage to maximize profitability

What if you’ve long been the partner of choice for many companies, in many markets. And the market you operated in was originally a niche, but is now experiencing fiercer competition. In the world of heavy lift shipping, excellent service and safety levels are not the sole key to growth anymore. Next to that, the need to make “business as usual” more efficient to reduce costs is becoming more pressing. A difficult matter, with inquiries that are received at a high pace from all over the world. Besides the fact that processing them is time-consuming, combining them on the same voyage is an even greater challenge considering the numerous variables - such as the size of goods and preferred time windows - involved. To select and combine the right orders to maximize profit, transparency in cost estimates for voyages is crucial in the decision-making process. Considering their huge availability of data, for this pioneer in ocean transportation there are great opportunities to innovate and boost results by adopting a data driven commercial decision-making process.

How we created value: Enhanced cross-organizational efficiency through a data driven decision support system

To help the pioneer in ocean transportation with its journey to data driven decision-making, we together defined a roadmap for digital transformation. As a next - and sometimes overlooked - step, we made them aware of the tremendous value they could get from the data available. Building upon that and pursuing the Agile principles, we delivered a proof of concept by using short timeboxes - so called iterations. It resulted in a commercial decision support system enabling commercial agents to spot opportunities faster than before. In addition, the system’s dashboard provides cost estimations based on historical data instead of default values, resulting in more accurate estimations of project costs. As a side effect, the dashboard turned out to strengthen the link between commerce and operations. Commerce will be better able to oversee the supply of project orders and processes and to combine the right ones to ensure vessels are operated profitably. Operations, however, needs to make sure these project orders will be executed according to plan, and so are now able to participate in the voyage estimation process already during the commercial decision-making process. Capturing activities that are related to both departments, the dashboard strongly enhances cross-organizational transparency, quality and efficiency.

Better results: The start of a data driven journey boosted by direct value

Before the start of the journey, the ocean transportation pioneer was unaware of the power of data and analytics. By delivering the commercial decision support system, it directly showed the significant value that could be derived from the pioneer’s own data. Besides direct efficiency gains and cost control, it boosted their knowledge, experience and confidence in data and analytics. The project has paved the pioneer’s way to become a data-driven company (and accelerate it), where taking the riches out of their data gold mine could just be the key to success in what is still a conservative market.

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