Like the customers they service, transportation service providers also utilize trade data to perform competitive analysis at both an aggregate and detailed level. In a business as competitive as transportation services, any advantage is important, but concrete information received from trade data allows users to deliver results from their competitive intelligence efforts. Below I describe two ways that some of Zepol
’s 3PL, NVO, and Carrier subscribers are using trade data to derive business intelligence.
First, at the detailed level, individual sales representatives and managers with access to trade information have a distinct advantage. In practice, this requires researching accounts before making sales calls to understand all the details about a company’s import activity. One of the key elements that should be examined at this time is who the importer’s current transportation service providers are.
One of the ways that this information appears in the trade data is as a notify party on the manifest. It will often show what transportation service provider a company is using, but this is not required. The other element seen in the data for a shipper is the SCAC (Standard Carrier Alpha Code) shown in the Carrier field. This shows which company transmitted the manifest to the Automated Manifest System. Most of the time, this will be a NVOCC or Steamship Line, but will provide insights into what competitors an account executive is up against.
Secondly, at the aggregate level, executives and marketing personnel within 3PLs, NVOs, and Carriers will look at the rolled up information to make strategic decisions. They will analyze the market shares for specific parts of the market. For example, how market share growth trends for specific trade lanes or for all of the accounts in a geographic region helps leaders to adjust where they target their marketing and sales. Other companies will view how well they compete for a specific Line or even on the vessels operated by a Carrier.
While aggregate and detailed level competitive intelligence can significantly improve sales conversion rates and effectiveness of strategic decisions, it is important to note that the level of user penetration in your organization must be vast to feel the full affect. Many companies will attempt to save money by limiting the number of users in their company, but this only reduces the total effectiveness of your intelligence program and diminishes total ROI.