Scouting for Success: The Role of Data in NFL and Dispatching Strategies
Oct 18, 2023
9 mins read
Two decades ago, apart from the obvious things like talent and skill, the National Football League (NFL) scouts would give a chance to launch multi-million dollar careers based on characteristics and intangibles like maturity and confidence. Today, teams are armed with data like never before, making the jobs of NFL scouts more efficient.
Whether it was Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, or any great player, an NFL scout first identifies them, bringing them to the attention of team management. After all analytical discussions, the NFL scout has the final say before the manager decides if the player is worth signing.
Dispatchers in logistics have much to learn from the modern NFL scouts and how they operate. Let’s dive in now!
Keep tracking players’ performance – Quantifying how drivers fare
The best NFL scouts, like Hall of Famer Gil Brandt, always mention that scouts must find players where others aren’t looking. Another Hall of Famer, Bill Nunn, discovered players from Historically Black Colleges and universities to a predominantly white NFL.
Similarly, Alonzo Highsmith, Bill DeKraker, Blake Beddingfield, Biran Gardner, and many more – all these best scouts are up-to-date in keeping track of the players’ performance. These NFL scouts track and evaluate the talents from high school and college and bring them into the professional environment. They leverage the power of analytics to narrow down the prospects and select those few players who can drive the team to glory.
But what is it about a data-driven approach that gives scouts the edge?
In his book, “Sports Analytics: A Guide for Coaches, Managers, and Other Decision Makers” Ben Alamar mentions that analytics enables sports organizations to ask more refined questions and help them find better ways to play the game.
The NFL scouts analyze key data points of each prospect like throw, release point, spin rate, deception, control, power, location, maximum speed, acceleration, jump strength, reflexes, injury frequency, and change of direction. These metrics prove to be an early indicator of the future success of NFL players.
Similarly, a logistics business must invest in a high-end control tower system. This tracking system and analytical insights enable companies to make the right dispatching decisions.
- What is the idling rate of a driver?
- Has the driver been able to complete deliveries on time?
- What was the On-Time In-Full (OTIF) for a driver?
- Has the First Attempted Delivery Rate (FADR) fallen for a driver?
- How many route deviations did the driver make?
- What is the time under the roof for a vehicle?
- Which vehicles had maximum downtime during the operational hours?
- Which driver contributed to the highest cost per mile?
- Which driver had the highest per-unit profitability of deliveries?
These metrics come in handy, especially when businesses plan their logistics operations. For instance, the NFL scouts often check if a player is prone to injuries and consider it while drafting them. In the same way, real-time fleet tracking software makes it easier for dispatchers to monitor the downtime of vehicles and plan earlier so that deliveries won’t be affected.
NFL teams ensure that their targeted big-match players are fit and available for the upcoming games. It helps them build a strong core team to counter challenging opposition. Similarly, before the peak shipping season, logistics businesses must secure their capacity and ensure the best drivers are available during those unforgiving times. This enables them to deliver efficiently when order volumes peak and win a broader customer base.
When logistics businesses have updated data on drivers based on the analytical insights from the real-time fleet tracking system, it becomes easier for driver payouts. They can provide incentives to the best-performing drivers and retain them. Also, they can devise strategies to improve the delivery performance of the least-performing drivers by addressing their bottlenecks and operational inefficiencies.
Visibility – A critical component for NFL players and logistics
The best NFL scouts look for strong instincts in players in terms of their match presence in the field. They want to see if they can read the field well, and react to cues much in advance to find themselves at the right place and time.
The good players know where the ball is presently. In contrast, the great player knows where the ball will be. How do the NFL scouts know this particular aspect about that player? They use reports, statistics, and film videos to understand the prospects they are analyzing.
Similarly, end-to-end visibility is a critical component of a profitable logistics operation. But it does not stop here. A business needs end-to-end and predictive visibility on the logistics operations to ensure the efficient functioning of logistics operations.
For instance, a business must be able to find out if there will be a likely delay or delivery exception. It enables it to change its on-ground operations and accommodate these delays while planning the upcoming deliveries. But how do businesses know there is a high likelihood of a delivery exception or delay?
When businesses use a dispatch management platform, they can clearly find out if there will be a delivery exception or delay. This kind of predictive visibility enables dispatchers to inform customers about likely delays and accommodate the delayed orders on an ad-hoc basis.
Positioning matters – Right driver in the right service area
The sports world is changing, and we are witnessing players taking up diverse roles within their teams. The traditional positional roles are getting more responsibilities in the NFL as it turns out to be a quarterback-led league. Also, in recent years, NFL teams have started looking for multi-positional players. But the primary role for each position stays almost the same in the NFL.
NFL scouts attach different criteria to evaluate the prospects to play for each position. They can’t assess the cornerback with the same standards they use to evaluate a quarterback. A quarterback is selected based on their game throws. But the running speed, muscular strength, and arm length determine if a prospect can play as a cornerback.
Here are three essential qualities for other NFL positions that scouts look for in different positions apart from quarterback and cornerback.
|Offensive Line Prospects||Defensive Line Prospects||Wide Receivers Prospects||Running Back Prospects||Tight end prospects||Safety Prospects|
|Agility||Hustle||Ball Skills||Receiving ability||Knowledge of field coverage||Tackling ability|
|Toughness||Three cone scores||Route running ability||Acceleration ability||Mental toughness||Ability to read run/pass|
|Smartness||Freakish Athleticism||Good hands||Sharp vision||Run blocking and ball skills||Agile enough in flipping hips and cutting routes|
Similarly, drivers in logistics have different skill sets, and they vary on the type of deliveries they fulfill and the distance they travel. It is necessary to consider these when planning routes for drivers or when assigning the drivers.
A driver who serves the on-demand orders must be ready to take on rush deliveries. Similarly, the driving skills required for long-haul drivers vary from those needed for the short-haul drivers.
Most importantly, every driver has tribal knowledge or human intelligence about one specific or a few service areas. They know how to ensure smooth riding in those areas without getting stuck in traffic or road closures. The dispatchers need to take inspiration from the NFL scouts, who decide a player’s optimal position based on the qualities of prospects. When businesses account for the driver’s tribal knowledge about the service area, it adds to the drivers’ confidence and enables them to complete the deliveries on time.
Bring in the best driver in job like an NFL scout with Locus’ Dispatch Management Platform
Whether it is the NFL or logistics, data-informed decision-making combines analytical insights and human intelligence to make optimal decisions.
Dispatchers must use technology to make data-informed decisions based on what they learn from past data and human tribal knowledge. Is there a platform that helps dispatchers make these informed decisions in logistics operations?
Locus’ customer experience and dispatch management platform is a market-leading end-to-end, multi-leg dispatch management platform to make informed and optimal logistics decisions.
With its advanced real-time fleet tracking system and analytical insights, Locus’ dispatch management platform enables dispatchers to select the best drivers for the job. Also, it provides predictive visibility on setting up realistic Expected Time of Arrival (ETA) targets and alerts businesses when there are any likely delays or delivery exceptions. This makes it easier for dispatchers to accommodate these delays and exceptions with the ongoing order fulfillment plans.
NFL coaches or scouts provide a detailed game plan and playbook for selected players to follow the team strategy. Similarly, Locus’ customer experience and dispatch management platform offers straightforward turn-by-turn navigation from a street view for drivers. It ensures the drivers reach the correct destination while improving the First Attempted Delivery Rates (FADR). Also, its dashboards and reports containing the analytical metrics enable the dispatchers to reward the drivers with incentives based on their best delivery performances.
Most importantly, Locus’ dispatching platform learns intelligent route recommendations from the driver’s knowledge of the service area. This unique combination of intelligent route plans and analytical insights, along with the drivers’ tribal understanding of the service area, enables dispatchers to make optimal order fulfillment decisions like the NFL scouts.
Looking to make informed decisions in dispatching like an NFL scout?
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Scouting for Success: The Role of Data in NFL and Dispatching Strategies
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