What Is Big Data and How Do We Utilize It?

With all the talk of data in business lately, it’s likely that you’ve heard the phrase “big data” thrown around at least once or twice. But what makes data “big?”

In simple terms, big data refers to sets of data that are too large or complex to be processed by traditional data analysis methods. It provides a lot of information about a business and its assets very quickly and with the right tools, can provide valuable insights across different aspects of the business.

One example of where we’ve begun gathering and utilizing big data through on-board truck sensors and systems is through Werner EDGE, the innovation arm of Werner Enterprises. This data capture allows us to improve our operations, truck performance and improve the on-the-road experience for our drivers.

Managing Big Data

As mentioned before, big data means ample amounts of data that can sometimes feel unmanageable. So how are we storing all of our data for easy access and use? By utilizing a cloud first, cloud now approach, we’re able to host all of our data in the cloud, providing ample storage that’s accessible to different team members.

Utilizing big data goes beyond capturing and storage, it also needs to be analyzed for insights. Because of big data’s size, it is better evaluated using AI and machine learning technology.

In turn, we’re able to make better decisions for the business that help us to accomplish our growth objectives and to implement new programs that foster company-wide efficiencies and create better driver experiences.

How Big Data Improves the Driver Experience

What better way is there to use all that data than focusing it on our drivers? Though on-board truck sensors provide a lot of data to sort through, there are a few ways that Werner has begun to implement learnings from this information.

One example is our predictive maintenance system (PMS). Utilizing onboard sensors, our PMS can predict when tires will need to be replaced as a result of low tread depth. In turn, drivers can plan tire replacement around their trips to avoid a potential on-the-road event which could create a safety event as well as throw a wrench in a driver’s day.

Another example of how big data can be applied is route optimization. By compiling data on factors like traffic, weather and construction, routes can be improved to avoid potential slowdowns, improving the delivery experience for drivers and customers.

Is Big Data Too Good to Be True?

Data collection can be a scary concept to some. Ultimately, it comes down to application.

At Werner EDGE, we’re utilizing data to drive innovation. The data we collect means we can improve the supply chain, help our customers have the products that they need when they need and to improve our employee job satisfaction in their jobs.

On a more granular level, it allows us to streamline our routes, maximize our fleets and phase out time-consuming manual processes.

With data collection can also come security concerns. Werner operates using a zero-trust security method, which means we never trust anything or anyone inside or outside of our perimeter. With zero-trust, verification is required at every access point to mitigate security threats and safeguard our data as well as our customers’ data.

These are just a few examples of how Werner is implementing big data in across our fleet and team. As we can continue to gather data and harness its insights, we’ll continue to implement new systems that improve our driver’s day-to-day experiences and create a more efficient fleet. More data means more opportunity to drive innovation in transportation under Werner EDGE.