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How Visible Are Your Shipments?

Do you know where your trucks are on the road?

How about your truck drivers in route?

What if a shipper calls you and asks where his shipment is? Can you tell him?

Consumers are used to the communications they receive from Amazon about where their packages are. It’s called “The Amazon Effect” and has changed customer expectations significantly. People want their orders ASAP, to know where their orders are at all times, and when the order will arrive. If the package ships via a parcel carrier like UPS or FedEx, consumers get timely updates on the location of their package and are alerted to when the package has arrived. You even get a nice picture of the package at your door.

Visibility is so important that Gartner introduced its first Magic Quadrant for Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platforms last year. This report defines these platforms as systems that provide businesses with real-time insights into shipments. Visibility helps companies avoid supply chain disruptions and make smarter decisions to ensure orders arrive on time, in full.

A recent KPMG report discusses how the pandemic has caused numerous supply chain disruptions that will continue into 2022 and beyond. Even if the disruptions recede and things go back to normal, “it will likely take some time before things return to normal. In the interim, you should expect to see higher prices (as high freight costs are passed onto the consumer) and longer waits for retail shelves to be replenished (especially imported products). Consumers should reset expectations, as items requiring repairs and maintenance could also be delayed in lengthy service queues,” per the report.

For trucking companies, transportation visibility is a different story. Many truck drivers and transportation companies still use manual processes today – keeping logbooks of mileage and expenses, along with receipts. These cumbersome manual processes introduce delays in processing payments and invoices. Administrative errors are more frequent as information is keyed into accounting systems by hand. Manual processes put a strain on employees and company resources, also.

To meet customer expectations for faster shipping and better communications about shipments, trucking firms need to go digital and use technology. Visibility into transportation processes gives trucking companies a competitive edge. Real-time location information can be shared with customers, keeping them happier.

How do trucking companies gain visibility into their transportation processes?

Many trucks have ELD, GPS, and telematics devices that give real-time location information of the asset. Real-time visibility provides the exact location and time of a shipment. Companies get more details than just the location of a truck. The technology that supports these devices gives managers information on where the vehicles are located, how well they perform, and whether the driver is driving safely. Managers can know in real-time if drivers are accelerating too quickly, braking hard, or going over the speed limit.

Telematics devices help trucking companies get more performance out of their trucks by keeping preventative maintenance schedules. These devices measure mileage and how well a truck is being driven while keeping track of when a truck is scheduled for regular maintenance. Telematics equipment can help save on fuel consumption as managers can monitor if the truck follows a planned route or not or if the engine is accelerated too quickly, wasting fuel. Lowering mileage and fuel usage leads to more significant sustainability efforts.

Real-time visibility involves the accurate track and trace of a shipment, providing precise ETAs. GPS, ELD, or telematics hardware located on a truck includes information as to the location of the truck once it leaves the dock door until it arrives at its destination. The more data collected, the more excellent the opportunity for savings, profitability, and customer satisfaction.

Visibility and Reporting

Shipment visibility systems provide reporting capabilities and dashboards that give insight into the status and health of your transportation operations. Dashboards show performance KPIs, such as on-time performance, cost per mile, revenue per mile, delayed shipment status, on-time arrivals, miles per gallon, and more. Hundreds of KPIs can be measured within your transportation processes, giving visibility into asset utilization, service, costs, compliance, safety, and planned vs. actual performance.

Monitoring KPIs improves operations by keeping costs in check and identifying inefficiencies that can cause delays. Through measuring and monitoring KPIs, you get visibility to make improvements and implement best practices. When a disruption occurs, such as an unexpected traffic jam, bad weather, accident, or illness, real-time visibility combined with information you collect across the supply chain allows you to make more informed, better decisions and responses.

Technology helps to improve decision-making, power greater efficiencies, and drive operational improvements. The Axele TMS is an intelligent transportation management solution that provides shipment visibility for the most reliable ETAs and greater customer satisfaction. One Axele user, Koom Transport, says, “Having all the information in real-time and in one place also means I can share the status of the trip with brokers through a quick link,” meaning Koom gets excellent shipment visibility.

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