Everyone is looking for the answer to business success, no matter what industry they work in. In the age of social media and ‘digital living’ – that is, portraying and living a life online – it seems as though there is ever-increasing competition across a number of industries. Transportation and logistics is no exception to this perception.

So how to get ahead? The usual suspects: knowing your clients, understanding what they want, and in-depth market knowledge are the keys to a successful, profitable business no matter its size. From entrepreneur to SME to huge corporations, you’ll have similar answers. There’s a lot of data out there for almost any market which can support your business strategy, but how can it help?

Data analysis can assist with understanding everything from forecasting the market you work in, to interpreting an economic downturn. Some jobs will rely on this data more than others: supply chain directors will use this data to understand how many of their clients will churn, how many retain and for how long, for example, and a supply chain coordinator may use data to understand efficiencies and room for improvement in the supply chain. Where utilised correctly, there’s no doubt that this invaluable information can form a huge part of a company’s competitive strategy.

For those smaller companies who might not have the time or find it difficult to analyse and interpret data, there is data analysis software available to help. Think about Google analytics: one of the most commonly-known analysis tools. You could use Google Analytics to find out what day and time would be best to publish a blog post, given traffic patterns to your website. There is KPI management software for your internal staff, database processing and analysis software, and programmes to scour social media statistics. If you are looking to set yourself apart from your competitors, you want to have as much insight into your audience and even your own company as possible.

Still no time? There are even analysis companies and consultants you can outsource to. This is particularly important when it comes to market analysis, which tends to be more specialist and time-consuming.

The rise of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning mean that these technologies are producing more accurate and more vital information every year. Can you afford to miss out?