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Technological Innovations in Air Cargo: Issue 2

September 30, 2016


  • Business Intelligence: an umbrella term that refers to a variety of software applications used to analyse an organisation’s raw data.
  • Data Management: an administrative process by which the required data is acquired, validated, stored, protected, and processed.
  • Big Data Analytics: the process of large data sets to uncover hidden patterns, unknown correlations, market trends, customer preferences and other useful business information.

In today’s world where everything is digitised no business can afford to neglect technology. In this issue of Technological Innovations, we investigate some of the new technologies and buzzwords around Business Intelligence (BI) and analyse what benefits they can offer in the real world.

Being able to make decision faster than your competitors is a serious competitive edge and could help you stand out from the crowd. BI can also be a good investment if markets are slowing or if tight budgets are pressing on your resources. The most tangible benefit associated with BI is often the time and effort saved by not having to produce reports manually but this is far from the only benefit, or indeed the biggest.

Perhaps one of the most important questions to ask yourself to start with is, “How will a BI system help me make better business decisions?”.

Most organisations use a lot of resources putting together reports, which are often very detailed and which are distributed throughout the company to make sure everyone has the information they need. This can result in a huge amount of information which does not actually give a clear picture of the overall situation. As a result, the influence that this data could have made, or opportunities it might highlight, is sometimes missed.

Today’s BI systems, like the HBI offered by Hermes Logistics Technologies (HLT), allow you to run reports when you need them and also allow users to design new reports to match their requirements and provide individualised dashboards to collect the most important data for daily operations.

HBI is an in-house, built-in, integrated full Business Intelligence solution using Qlikview and Qliksense, which allows operations to see a full dashboard with current status and trends that directly affect your operation – from workload trends to SLA performance indicators and from yield analysis to process auditing views.

This type of functionality can help making important decisions easier by providing the latest information in real-time reports that show the state of the business in that very moment – not a historical view of how it looked days or weeks ago. By showing data on a high, aggregated level overall trends can be easily spotted and this can lead to quicker, better decisions being made.

However, even the most accurate and reliable of data sets can be useless unless they can be analysed and archived properly.

At HLT we focus on translating the latest technologies into best practice and business-relevant functionalities, and good Data Management is something we strongly believe in. We’ve already looked at how the amount of data available from a BI system can be invaluable to decision makers but on the other hand, historical operational data is not important for the ongoing operation and can easily become a burden on the database unless correctly archived. To solve this, our HBI system incorporates an automatic archiving solution to keep fresh operational data separate from historical data.

Big Data Analytics is another popular buzzword and another process where some technical innovation has improved user experience.

Big data analytics is the process of examining large data sets containing a variety of data types to uncover hidden patterns, market trends, customer preferences and other useful business information which, if used properly, can help you make informed business decisions that can affect your profits and give you an advantage over your competitors.

Simon Elmore, HLT Chief Operating Officer said, “In my experience reporting structures in busy cargo handling terminals are often ad-hoc, lightweight or lacking data veracity. With HBI the volume, variety and velocity of key cargo data can be analysed quickly and effectively ensuring that key stakeholders within a cargo handling facility can make accurate and timely business decisions. Being able
to provide operational data to prove SLAs are being met, to display near real-time KPI information and to enhance accuracy of budgeting and forecasting have been an incredibly useful innovation for our customers.”

In the next issue…

We’ll be looking at Self Service alternatives that advanced systems allow their users. An example could be the HERMES Work Orders that have grown into a powerful tool and why this type of innovation is important in today’s highly competitive air cargo market.

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