Adding technology to the supply chain has been a struggle for most companies over the years. While technology adoption is happening, only 6% of the worldwide supply chain surveyed in 2017 state “they have end-to-end visibility regarding their supply chain.”
This also brings up another subject: Real-Time Visibility. The majority of alerts sent by logistics providers are with a lag time. How can you call an update real-time if the customer must to ask for the notification or it happened hours ago?
Without the proper automated technology pinpointing a driver's specific location, stakeholders cannot be sure they are receiving accurate information. The immediate transferring of this data enables stakeholders to make more informed decisions; thus, reducing unnecessary costs and potential errors.
Clients in the past may have tolerated delayed status updates, but no longer is this acceptable. You can accurately track the pizza you ordered for delivery down to the block, but you can’t track your Next Flight Out or On-Demand courier. Stakeholders want precise information from point-to-point, with a transparent chain of custody.
Surveys show supply chain visibility is one of the most significant strategic priorities for time-critical and high-value shipments. For this to function correctly, all departments within an organization must work in tandem. Having the ability to utilize a system that can distribute real-time data to all involved is a necessity for tech-enabled logistics providers.
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The main challenges that arise with real-time visibility can be answered using technology. For example, by using a web-based platform for shippers to place their orders online, stakeholders across the country can access that data in real-time from any device they want.
A new pattern is forming where the level of service is as significant as the shipment itself. The combined effort of retrieving the product, transporting, and delivering the shipment on-time with full transparency will become the component that separates tech-enabled providers from their competitors. Shippers can no longer only consider the initial cost when placing shipments. They must factor in the final price for poor performance or delays created by the service provider due to lack of communication or information.
For example, a downed aircraft can cost up to $150K an hour, and if the quoted delivery time is 5 pm, then you are going to staff the technicians at 5 pm to meet the shipment. However, when the cargo doesn’t arrive until hours later, you now have to pay the technicians to sit around, lose money on missed flight opportunities, and reschedule any other flights that were dependent on that plane. These operational costs could have been avoided by utilizing real-time notifications. Delays happen, so why can’t communication?
The new norm will be increased awareness of web-based information built on real-time notifications. Placing orders for time-definite or time-critical shipments should have the same advantages as e-commerce. Look at Amazon; they notify you via their app, emails, and their system regarding any delays, order status changes, or updated delivery times.
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While automation is at the forefront, there will always be a need for human intervention. A team of industry experts must watch and monitor every shipment behind the scenes to ensure all customer specific requirements are being met.