Visibility and tracking of shipping goods are important for both the shipping company and the stakeholders. Technology has improved over the years to allow more visibility for all involved parties, which helps provide peace of mind that the shipment will arrive on time and as intended. Learn more about why visibility and tracking are important when considering a freight company.
What does freight visibility mean?
Freight visibility provides real-time tracking information on specific loads to everyone in the supply chain, including shippers, carriers, 3PLs, and customers. Visibility and tracking programs take advantage of existing technology to track loads and shipments and collect data to pinpoint exceptions, and monitor processes. Freight tracking technology provides real-time visibility and delivers updates on the constant movement of freight, minimizing surprises in the supply chain that can cause serious headaches for all involved. These status checks include arrivals and departures at pick-up and destination locations and in-transit updates backed by concrete GPS-based positioning. Systems need to provide more frequent and detailed updates automatically on shipment status through a single point of integration to address visibility effectively. Using predictive analytics and managing shipments by exception helps to drive initiative-taking management practices that then lead to more informed decisions to help boost productivity and efficiency across the supply chain. Predictive analytics can help shippers manage issues by exception, not the entirety of their shipments, saving highly valuable management time.
Why is visibility so invaluable to the client?
Any product that is shipped is valuable, so clients want to know exactly where their product is at any given time once it’s in the hands of a freight services company. With real-time tracking, delivery times are very predictable and can be planned for. Consignees and receivers can effectively plan their operational staffing needs based off the arrival times of shipped products. To keep their business shipping running smoothly, clients need a dependable carrier to deliver freight on time] and keep them updated on their shipment’s status in transit. Freight visibility and tracking can do that. A good carrier will also keep clients updated on any service disruptions that could delay the shipment, so clients can keep their customers informed. Visibility is invaluable to clients and their business.
Visibility from the shipper’s standpoint
From a shipper’s perspective, they have quite a bit on the line, so it is important to have the best visibility and tracking possible. Consider this: load values can range between $75K – $250K, for which reputable shipping companies will carry adequate cargo insurance for.
Freight visibility is a top priority for trucking companies. Late shipment consequences are becoming more severe for freight companies. A late shipment or unreported delay can have a ripple effect on the supply chain. A factory might need to either idle or ramp up a production line to compensate. A retailer may have to work around an inventory shortage. A distribution operation may need to adjust staffing on its loading docks to account for both unproductive times and for personnel adjustments when a shipment does finally arrive. Any of these circumstances reflect poorly on the freight company and can impact their reputation.
To avoid wasting valuable time and money on costly disruptions, brokers and carriers constantly monitor the on-time delivery of goods. If they do not, the process slows down considerably and can result in expensive consequences. On a more positive note, greater visibility helps uncover hidden and/or new freight hauling opportunities for transportation services.
While every shipment is considered valuable, those that deal with food are especially vested in trackability. The food supply chain, if interrupted, can lead to multiple issues. Product that is tampered with or runs out of temperature (due to late delivery) could cause illness to tens or hundreds of people. The slightest error released into the mainstream food supply could ruin a shipper’s reputation that they may never repair. Visibility to the temperature-controlled transportation industry is exceptionally critical.
The future of freight visibility and tracking
Historically, simple track-and-trace methods were seen as an adequate method of gaining supply chain insight for all parties involved. However, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and other shippers now require 100% visibility into freight status and location. Brokers and 3PLs believe visibility is a core service offering and that shippers are using visibility capabilities as a metric when choosing service providers. With increased freight visibility, supply chains can improve exception management, predict transportation outcomes and delays, derive more actionable business intelligence, and improve collaboration across the supply chain. Freight visibility and tracking will continue to improve as both suppliers and shippers demand for accurate, real-time reporting and accountability.