Data Visualization for Logistics

There’s something undeniably exciting about seeing live data streaming in, though it’s hard to describe exactly what’s so exciting about it. Is it seeing little blips move around a screen in real-time? Is it seeing the numbers change in a spreadsheet?

At VisualCue, we’ve had the opportunity to enter many businesses that had real-time, streaming data capabilities with no great way to visualize it. Every time we are brought in to implement a solution at one of these sites the thrill, for us anyway, is always the same. Seeing live data, for us anyway, makes it real. It’s easy to separate a static spreadsheet from anything tangible in the real world because, by it’s very nature, a static spreadsheet isn’t alive with data. As soon as the data stops coming in, it becomes a historical document.

But when you’ve got real-time, streaming data you are seeing exactly what’s happening in the moment, and that’s always exciting. Now you just need to do something with it. And that’s where we’ve learned a few things.

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5 Ways to Increase Executive Efficiency

Continuous improvement is a great idea. Come to think of it, it’s a great way to live life. To always be striving to be better at whatever it is you do keeps you active throughout your professional and personal life. It means you’ll never be complacent or lazy, and by the end of your career you’ll be a true master at whatever task you’ve undertaken and that has to feel good.

While everyone should always be striving to improve what they do, for some professions and positions it is an absolute necessity in order to not only be successful and happy, but to survive at all.

We’re talking about the managers and executives out there: those individuals entrusted with making the decisions that will guide the actions of entire teams and organizations. Profits are determined and jobs are kept or lost based on the decisions of these people, and as they improve so to does the entire team or business.

At VisualCue our entire business is built around improving efficiency. We’ve seen how a lot of managers and executives improve and gathered our favorite stories to boil it down to five basic principles.

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Interview with Robson Granero

Surely everyone out there, at some point, has had to move. Whether it’s for a new position at work, a new school or just for a change pace, packing up a lifetime’s worth of accumulation and heading out to a new place can be both an exciting and simultaneously daunting task.

Think about it. Even moving just across town can be a logistical nightmare. Items need to be lovingly packed and stored, trucks need to be ordered, blankets need to be secured to keep furniture from scratching and that’s not even counting the army of loyal friends or a handful of professional movers to help actually lift your material life from one location and put it in another. And that’s just residential.

Small wonder then that for the big moves, like those between countries or where the items being moved are more than just pants and shirts, entire teams of logistics professionals are needed to make the process as smooth as possible. These businesses exist to make large, complicated moves easier. They arrange pick up, transportation, temporary storage and eventual relocation into the new home. The best services also help the person moving with any necessary paperwork, domestic help or maintenance their new place might require. And in a process with so many steps, there is bound to be data.

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VisualCue in Action

Recently, the VisualCrew had the opportunity to visit a large hospitality company located in Nashville, Tennessee that has been using VisualCue to improve their sales and marketing.

We went there with a simple goal: to see our product in the wild and understand how people were using it. We had hoped to use that information to make improvements and see how we could do what we do better.

When we got to Nashville we were absolutely astounded with the amazing things the people there were doing and the results they were seeing with VisualCue.

So we thought we’d share.

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VisualCue for Contact Centers

Contact centers have been some of our most successful implementations. And with good reason- their multiple feeds of streaming data all happen in real time, but the tools contact centers use to visualize and analyze those streams are inadequate.

Why? Because the data was coming into spreadsheets, which then got turned into charts and graphs the next day. And that’s the key point: the next day.

Contact centers are busy places- their data happens in real time, so should their analysis.

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How VisualCue Brings Value

In spite of all the research that’s out there (we’ve mentioned it here and here in case you missed it) that says data visualization and cloud-based analytics software is a sound investment and can lead to massive savings at an organization, we still get this question a lot.

“What kind of value can I expect to see when I implement VisualCue?”

And you know, in retrospect, it’s a fair question. VisualCue is, at it’s core, a presentation layer. How can changing the way you look at data lead to any significant value?

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VisualCue Mosaic

Data Arts

The thing we love most about the VisualCue Tile is just how versatile it is. Ultimately customizable, Tiles can be adapted in our Tile Builder to fit just about any organization or business. Once created, they can be placed on maps, calendars, diagrams or even augmented reality.

While Tiles have been applied in call centers, vacation ownerships, food distributors and logistics companies we are just beginning to scratch the surface of what intuitive data visualization can do.

For example, what sort of role would data visualization play in the arts?

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VisualCue saves logistics company $1.3M

VisualCue: Secret Weapon

In businesses where it’s been implemented, VisualCue is a powerful tool for change. As such, many of our most well-known clients don’t want to broadcast the tool giving them an edge over the competition.

VisualCue has become, essentially, a secret weapon. While we’re really proud of that, it also means we can’t always directly talk about our clients and their experiences.

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Farm Data: Using Operational Intelligence In A New Way

Sometimes I think we limit ourselves on how we define operational intelligence. I mean, who says it can only apply to things like call centers or fleet management? Let’s break down those words and see what they actually mean. Operational, in this sense, refers to routine functions. Intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge. Operational intelligence, then, should be any activity that acquires and applies knowledge related to routine functions. Anyone can do this, and they should. How are we supposed to improve those daily routines if we can’t measure them?

Take this recent article in the NY Times- “Working the Land and the Data.” The article describes how modern farmer Kip Tom uses data to improve the function of his farm in Iowa. He said “we’ve got sensors on the combine, GPS data from satellites, cellular modems on self-driving tractors, apps for irrigation on iPhones.” Mr. Tom dreams of a day when drones with infrared cameras will tell him which crops are in trouble while other farmers are currently take readings from combines every three seconds on a 60,000 acre plot- just imagine the amount of data that is. Real, operational data.Read more

Analytics and Big Data – Press pause on the Stairmaster

Our lives have become hectic. We are working harder and longer. We talk about life balance, but for so many of us we continue to have imbalance. Every once in a while we need to step back, press the “pause” button on the Stairmaster exercise machine, take some deep breaths, and reflect on  just what the heck is going on. I’d like to reflect with you my take on what is driving the accelerating interest in analytics and Big Data.Read more