The vast majority of Internet surveys surrounding supply chain and logistics report that visibility is an essential aspect for stakeholders. However, we continue to accept the industry’s antiquated response to our most crucial need. Even in the most time critical logistics situations (next flight out and on-demand), shippers endure the fact the vast majority of forwarders only provide two data points: when the shipment is picked up and when it has been delivered. This might be acceptable if the delivery is on time (and if it’s the 90s). But, what happens during transport? And, what about the stakeholders who need visibility into their shipment during transit?
Let’s walk through the most common practice by today's providers. A customer contacts their forwarder to move a critical shipment, explaining their needs by phone. The forwarder takes every precaution and says a silent prayer that they have captured all of the crucial information from the customer. Now the work begins on behalf of the forwarder. What type of vehicle is needed to move the shipment? What driver qualification is required? Do they need to be TSA qualified? Once a half dozen phone calls are made to potential drivers, how many are available and able to cut off time for the flight? So, after taking the information from the customer, locating the right driver in the right place can take upwards of 45+ minutes. Keep in mind; this is only the pick-up portion of the process. The illustration below is a great graphical display of this traditional, and unfortunate real-world process. It includes a duplicate method on the back end of the shipment. If you’re lucky, the delivery driver will put the proof of delivery in the mail, and you can have it in a few days… or weeks.
It’s 2018, and the expectation is now 24/7/365, instant gratification of information to be delivered when, where and how the customer expects it. For goodness sake, you can track a pizza in real-time on your phone. Why would you accept lagging updates for a human organ or an airline part that has a passenger plane grounded? In both of these cases, there is one thing for sure. There is a team of costly professionals awaiting their shipment. Every minute they wait for the delivery costs the company thousands of dollars. Did I mention it’s 2018?
Technology is only one piece of the solution. How impactful is total visibility if you cannot manage data produced? Does it matter if you receive real-time carrier updates if the information is wrong?
As shippers seek visibility and control over their freight movements, tech-enabled logistics providers have seen a new level of service for customers. “Real-time visibility” is the promise for many of these providers, offering businesses the ability to know every step of the order process as it occurs.
A forwarder with the right resources, technology, and commitment to service can scrub data in near real time, using algorithmic intelligence to determine whether it is correct. If it is not, they are responsible for following up with the carrier to reconcile errors and omissions, enabling your business to make data-driven decisions.
For example, if one of your carriers consistently delivers later than stated, having that information at your fingertips can help you choose a better alternative for the next shipment. Better yet, machine-learning can analyze this individual driver's behavior and automagically select a better solution for you. This is what we refer to as turning data into actionable intelligence.
Tech-enabled logistics companies provide you access to real-time. For instance, you can discover:
- Which driver is closest to your shipment
- Estimated time of arrival
- Driver pick up/drop off times
- Optimal flight and driving routes
- And of course real-time package location
Imagine being able to do this with your organization's most essential shipments? Imagine being able to do this directly from your smartphone or tablet?
That time is now, and we’re here to help.