What’s the similarity between shooting darts in the dark and a traditional supply chain? Both lack visibility. Gartner sights poor ‘visibility’ as one of the major challenges that supply chain and logistics businesses face.
With regards to supply chain, lack of visibility of freight movement results in loss of productivity, longer delivery cycles, inaccurate ETAs, theft, and pilferage, poor customer engagement and increases risk of products getting damaged.
Impact of Poor Supply Chain Visibility
A research by American Shipper reveals that almost three-fourths of supply chain stakeholders cite visibility of freight as one of the most critical challenges to their business, second only to rising operational costs.
Poor visibility can have a significant impact on productivity across an organization's supply chain. For instance, let's say that you have a customer who is waiting at a dock to receive his shipments. Now, owing to your organization's inability to provide adequate visibility of delivery progress, the customer has no clue when his shipments are going to arrive. Hence, it would become extremely difficult for him to calculate the exact number of manpower required to unload the ship to compensate for lost time or delays.
Visibility is a key aspect of supply chain and logistics with regards to ensuring high levels of delivery happiness score.
Think of another situation where you supply heavy equipment to telecom companies responsible for setting up towers in remote locations. You have sent out a full truckload of antennas and fiber cables to a remote location some 500 miles from your manufacturing unit. Before the journey commenced, based on some manual analysis of historical data, you informed the customer that the delivery will be done in two days.
Based on your information, the telecom company has already assigned a team of engineers that will reach the remote destination on the day the antennas and cables arrive. But unfortunately, your delivery truck reaches the location a day late and as the customer has no visibility of the delivery process, he barely had any idea about the delivery getting delayed. Hence, he does not have any contingency plan to deal with the delay.
Result? A ripple effect! Owing to the customer’s lack of knowledge about the delay, the entire engineering team’s man-hours for a day gets squandered. The next set of engineers who were supposed to take over the task from the first team is now on its way only to wait for another day. This is how the hours keep adding up and the estimated time to make the tower up and running goes way beyond the budgeted time. And for your telecom customer, this ripple effect can result in losses adding up to millions of dollars.
Trucking Management Software to The Rescue
Advanced trucking management software can empower supply chain and logistics businesses by drastically boosting visibility of freight movement. It allows supply chain and logistics stakeholders to gain real-time insights and updates as to what’s happening on the ground.
Even from an end-customer perspective, ensuring visibility of freight movement can be game-changing. Modern trucking management software help customers gain real-time visibility of freight movement. Customers, at any given point of time, get to know where their shipments are, how much distance has already been covered by a delivery truck, if there are delays in the route and what will be the exact ETA. Armed with this information, a customer can easily plan for exceptions and delays to minimize productivity losses.
Ensuring predictive visibility is another key feature of advanced tracking management software. By leveraging machine learning (ML) capabilities, these platforms can navigate through historical data of already traveled delivery routes and generate critical insights to boost fleet productivity and reduce costs.
Say, one of your delivery trucks needs to travel through point A, B and C to reach a delivery location. Crawling through historical data, trucking management software can benchmark the time taken to reach point B from A and point C from B, by using ML. In case the duration to reach any of these points exceeds the already set threshold, it will immediately trigger alerts and help transportation stakeholders take quick action. This eliminates the chances of further delays. In cases where stoppages go beyond hours, a modern trucking management software can automatically trigger alerts warning delivery stakeholders about possible situation of theft.
Savvy businesses are already leveraging such advanced trucking management to optimize delivery processes. One of our manufacturing customers achieved 100 percent operational visibility, reduced theft and pilferage by 57 percent and turn-around-time by 32 percent.
The question is how far your organization is with regards to optimizing supply chain and logistics operations?