Lost In Translation

Without Expert Interpreters, Numbers Can Mean Nothing - Or Worse

25 October, 2019 // Business creates an ocean of data to navigate, but enterprise managers increasingly are adrift and drowning.

That’s the premise of Anne Fisher’s latest must-read Fortune story, “Now Hiring: People Who Can Translate Data Into Stories and Actions.” 

It’s particularly relevant to our readership. Nowhere are the waters deeper and murkier than in supply chain. On top of legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, there are streams of truck electronic logging device (ELD) information, Internet of Things (IoT) trackers, web updates from across the extended supplier base, manual updates and—gasp!—Excel spreadsheets.

Yet, even with the latest generation of visibility software stitching all that data together—kind of, sort of, when and where it can—there’s no guarantee of true insights. Instead of navigating to new frontiers of efficiency, we’re stuck in the great Pacific Gyre of unconnected and unreliable information.

That’s where the need arises for what Fisher calls “data translators,”—a profession that MITSloan Management Review describes as workers who fill “the disconnect between data scientists and the executive decision makers they support.” 

Data translation is one of the fastest growing areas in data science, with the McKinsey consulting firm estimating 2 to 4 million jobs for translators by 2026. To succeed, McKinsey says these new workers will need a combination of industry expertise, project-management skills, an entrepreneurial spirit and technical fluency.

Fisher’s story notes that while “artificial intelligence can be used to advise line managers on some issues and answer some of their data-related questions, it can’t replace humans.” 

Sears Merritt, MassMutual’s Data Science Development Program leader, tells Fisher, “Algorithms can only tell you what business problems you can solve. But human judgment and intuition can go way beyond that and tell you what problems you should solve.

Morgan has structured its own services around that idea. Our ChronosCloud technology helps to connect and harmonize data for multi-party manufacturing supply chains. We have built that platform to work gracefully with diverse systems and data sources—and without the need for heavyweight IT integrations. 

That technology helps calm the seas. But Morgan’s ship steams towards efficiency on 30 years of human and machine analytics, along with vast operational experience in multi-party operations around the world.

So, we don’t just see numbers. We find insights to transform supply chains from the ground up. Like how to reimagine complex transportation systems to increase utilization and enable mode shifts. Or how reducing or eliminating inventory ownership can unlock better transit and distribution models.

If next-level efficiency is getting lost in translation in your enterprise, let’s talk. There may not have been a fancy job title or term for it when we started, but we have been speaking fluent transformation for a long time.

 


 

While You Were Shipping…

More Recent Stories You May Have Missed That Caught Our Eye

 

Plug In, Truck On. (Commercial Carrier Journal) Peterbilt has delivered its first battery electric trucks for commercial use to PepsiCo’s FritoLay division. The zero-emission 220EV trucks have only 100 miles of range, so current best applications are local pickup and delivery routes. They join other near zero-emission trucks in various field trials of next-gen trucks.

CCJ also reports that legacy diesel equipment has gotten cleaner, with more than 40% of all commercial vehicles now using low emissions technology that complies with post-2010 guidelines. 

Efficiency Is At Hand. Literally. (Journal of Commerce) JB Hunt’s President of Highway Services, Shelley Simpson, shared her vision for smartphone-driven progress at a recent distribution conference. “We don’t think the driver shortage is actually as vrominten as one might think,” Simpson said. “The problem is access to information, access to understanding what capacity is available at any one time.” Increasingly, that information will show up on apps that drivers, carriers and others will have on their mobile devices.