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Railroads, logistics and EDM

Interesting article in InformationWeek today - U.S. Railroads Rolling Out High-Tech Logistics - that made me think about applying EDM in railroads or other logistic problems. As I read the article I started thinking about the operational systems that could be impacted by an EDM approach.

  • Developing operational systems that manage the real-time routing of cargo using business rules (to implement expert know how and contractual implications) and predictive analytics (to predict bottlenecks, risks of delay etc). Some other logistics companies are doing this and some Telcos are using rules to reconfigure the network when they have failure, something that is comparable.
  • Using business rules to be proactive when service levels are not going to be reached or shipments are going to be delayed and calculating the - I know some Telcos doing this.
  • Deploying business rules to laptops to ensure that safety and security inspections are rigorous and meet the federal, state and company standards established - some ship inspections use this approach already.
  • Using business rules management systems to push rules on routing preference out to customers so they could choose risk of delay but opportunity for quick delivery, say, against slower but more predictable both as a customer and for an individual shipment.
  • Using rules and analytics to predict possible failures in equipment, assign the right engineers to inspect and fix etc. Some telcos already do this.
  • Using rules, and potentially analytics, to deliver BAM-like solutions that process the huge number of events in a network and correctly respond, either by sending information to people or by taking automated remedial action.
  • Managing permits and other paperwork requirements using rules - everything from making sure shipments have the right forms for their content and routing and to driving a structured dialog with customers to collect the right data up front. Insurance and banking companies already do this in similar circumstances.

Other things like pricing and packaging for complex shipments, dispute resolution etc etc could also be done but these are not noticeably different for logistics companies than for others. There's a lot of potential for EDM in logistics (and railroads).

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