Visibility Isn’t Just a Nicety
Visibility isn’t just a nicety, as far as shippers are concerned, it’s an expectation. As part of a growing demand for efficiency and customer service, shippers want to know where their cargo is and be able to track and follow it as they please. However, visibility goes above and beyond the peace of mind for shippers, when carried out through the length of the supply chain, visibility offers a great deal of other benefits for shippers and carriers alike.
Shippers want to know where their cargo is and be able to track and follow it as they please
“In an electronic poll, three quarters of the transport and logistics executives at the 2017 Transportation Intermediaries Association Conference said, US shippers already have required they provide real-time visibility as a prerequisite to doing business,” according to an article from the JOC.
So just how much data does a shipper need in order to be satisfied?
So just how much data does a shipper need in order to be satisfied? Is it enough to know the general location of freight, or does a shipper need to know the precise location of each and every pallet during transit? Having both an answer and a solution to either question is what sets carriers and 3PLs apart from the competition, making it a viable means of growing the business while meeting the increasing needs of customer service. Increasing access to data combined with predictive models of inventory management creates a highly efficient system for manufacturers of every industry.
Is it enough to know the general location of freight?
Big data has more potential than just tracking, it can also help to prevent and reduce bottlenecks. When a truck breaks down, it creates delays and causes a ripple through the supply chain. Knowing that there’s an issue as it happens, allows shippers to make arrangements to avoid any serious kinks in the delivery schedule. In turn, this allows the manufacturer and the carrier to avoid unnecessary complications and costs in the day to day operation.
Visibility as a Differentiator
Visibility is also playing a bigger role not just for shippers expectations, but as a key to winning business for both carriers and 3PLs. Shippers aren’t just concerned with where their goods are anymore. They need a system in place that will show disruptions before they happen. They need a streamlined and seamless means of getting access to the information they want without getting bogged down in unnecessary back and forth via email. Providing this level of technology is becoming the leveraging point for winning business, now more than ever.
They need a system in place that will show disruptions before they happen.
“We’re better armed going into negotiations than we’ve ever been,” Brian Morgan, Senior Director of Logistics and Process Excellence at Leviton Manufacturing, said at the NASSTRAC Shippers Conference. “Look at the technology being introduced that allows shippers to have an eye into the brokerage world and see what capacity is in certain regions at certain times,” said Morgan. “That’s a paradigm shift from a shipper standpoint.” The ability to mine data “makes you a more powerful negotiator when you’re sitting down with your carriers, because you have all the information they do,” Morgan added.
The ability to mine data makes you a more powerful negotiator
This data provides more than just a value service from carrier to shipper, it also allows a carrier to make more informed decisions when it comes to picking shipping lanes and what cargo to haul and what to pass on. It also means that shippers are able to negotiate better rates with carriers. Allocating more traffic to specific lanes to help carriers cut down on operating costs, creating a mutually beneficial partnership between the two.
Bridging the Gap
From start to finish, the Supply Chain is the lifeline of any business. Like all things, however, it requires a delicate touch as there is a need for both access to right technology as well as a need for the right data to be delivered at the right time. As both shippers and carriers are moving into a more technologically based realm, having the right technology in place is quickly becoming the driving force for success.
From start to finish, the Supply Chain is the lifeline of any business.
The real question is, do you take a chance on picking one data platform over another and hoping it works? You could, but why take the risk? Why not work with an intermediary that can provide the necessary data and the tools to deliver it when you need it most? 3PLs are upping the ante with just that, providing the data and tech to bridge the gap between shippers and carriers and allowing both to leverage their business more efficiently.