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BONN: A new report by DHL says "Big Data" will become the fourth factor alongside resources, labour and capital as essential to competitive differentiation.

Big Data is the name given to the huge amounts of information that can be systematically collected from various sources and then analyzed and evaluated with the help of new technologies.

DHL claims many providers realize that Big Data is a game-changing trend for the logistics industry. It cites a recent study on supply chain trends where 60 percent of the respondents said they are planning to invest in Big Data analytics within the next five years.

DHL Smart truckAccording to Martin Wegner, vice president Research & Development, DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation, "Big data and logistics fit together perfectly. Logistics companies manage a huge flow of goods and thereby create massive volumes of data. Specific data about millions of deliveries, including destination, size, weight and information about contents, is recorded every day. That data offers huge potential for new business models, among other things. That allows logistics companies to become search engines for users from every conceivable field."

The aim of the DHL study was to identify significant trends in three areas: real time optimization of package delivery routes, the ability to predict delays in the supply chain, and ideas for new business models.

Jointly developed with T-Systems and Detecon Consulting, the report says Big Data has much to offer the world of logistics: "Sophisticated data analytics can consolidate a traditionally fragmented sector and put logistics providers in pole position as search engines in the physical world".

As long as postal privacy is retained, DHL says logistics providers can refine this data in order to provide a compelling service that can be offered by third parties.

"Several organizations have led the way for us – Google, Amazon, Facebook, and eBay, for example, have already succeeded in turning extensive information into business. Now we are beginning to see first movers in the logistics sector. These are the entrepreneurial logistics providers that refuse to be left behind," adds Wegener.

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