Tech in Logistics: Part 6-Where's Your Shipment Right Now?

Real-time data management has indeed revolutionized logistics, thanks to the crucial visibility that it delivers across the supply chain landscape. This visibility has helped overcome some major challenges in the ecosystem - but the most important benefit of this capability has been in the tracking and tracing of shipments.

Transportation of shipments is the pivotal activity of logistics, with efficient inventory management, overall logistics performance and customer satisfaction being directly dependent on the efficiency of this activity.

Before the advent of command centers and data-enabled solutions, tracking consignments as they passed through various points of the delivery chain was quite a nightmare. This lack of visibility often led to shipment irregularities, loss of precious time, a limited ability to forecast disruptions, inefficient inventory management, misrouting, and eventually customer dissatisfaction. 

Incredible advance in technology has however delivered the ability to track shipment real-time from anywhere at any point in the logistics ecosystem. The ability to determine the exact status of shipments has given the control back to the logistics players, who have found the magic wand to stand out in this competitive landscape.

So let's take a closer look at this track-and-trace magic of shipment monitoring.

Why Is Shipment Tracking a Key Logistics Differentiator?

  1. The ability of the logistics provider to stick to plan and deliver on schedule without any complications is certainly a key indicator of superior performance. Real-time tracking of shipments provides measurable data on this aspect of the logistics provider's capabilities.
  2. On-time, every time is often a crucial starting point to optimize efficiency across the logistics operations. Hence reviewing even the minutest elements of a shipment's transit- from time taken for transit to on-time analysis and route deviation analysis - provides a clear overview of the current challenges of the ecosystem - pulling out the weak links that require attention.
  3. Customer is at the center of the logistics landscape - hence most of the differentiators that logistics providers strive to achieve have the interest of the customer as their core focus. Shipment monitoring is one such crucial element that ensures a positive customer experience.
  4. Of course, the direct advantage of shipment monitoring is the transparency it delivers to inventory management and in its ability to forecast any possible disruptions to transit and even improved security during transit.

With such incredible benefits to gain from shipment monitoring, it's really essential that we understand how data-enable technology can enable this process.

Data-Enabled Technology Simplifying Shipment Tracking

The entire logistics landscape today depends on technology platforms that leverage real-time data generation to track consignments from pick-up until delivery. With user-friendly capabilities such as multichannel access even on the go (from desktop to mobile phones and even automated email or short message updates), round-the-clock update on shipment status, and a simple user interfaces for easy navigation, logistics players are confidently offering customers options of delivering push notifications, a consolidated overview of multiple shipments, and even providing direct access to the logistics provider's tracking system.

The power of data

The shortcomings of the traditional approaches to shipment tracking – limited scope, lack of real-time accuracy, and security concerns – catalyzed the quest for more effective solutions.

The field of shipment monitoring has thus become an area of focus and at the center of all these initiatives is a common factor – data.

Fine-tuning the colossal data generated by a shipment in transit is critical to monitoring its status. This is possible because of a combination of multiple technologies that leverage this data to derive actionable insights - from data analytics to cloud technology. The data insights delivered today are not only in real time but also location based.

The contribution of the latest technological innovations

Technological advancements in shipment tracking have supported the seamless taming of big data to deliver crucial information in a timely manner. This area is currently in the spotlight with multiple innovative approaches springing up as possible end-to-end solutions. Let's look at a few such solutions: 

Tracking devices: These GPS and GSM-enabled trackers effectively provide real-time information about the location, speed, route, and other essential parameters (e.g., temperature control of sensitive goods).

Scanners: Scanners deliver point-to-point information about the status, as and when the shipments cross specific nodes of the route. Portals and apps deliver extensive reports - including tracking information and security checklists - indicating when the shipment arrived at the specific location and whether there were any noted exceptions.

Command centers: A command center is the control tower of the logistics ecosystem. This centralized data management unit receives information from every single transaction in the supply chain, qualifies the data, analyzes it, and delivers decision-worthy insights in real time to every stakeholder across all channels - from desktops to smart phones. Click here to get a glimpse of Ramco Logistics Command Center. 

These futuristic technological innovations are clearly revolutionizing the entire logistics landscape in terms of shipment monitoring. With exponential influence on improving the operational efficiency of every node of the logistics ecosystem, the real-time, accurate data on the where, when, and how of shipment tracking is indeed clearing away many clouds of worries from the supply chain landscape. But we are missing one last crucial link that will complete this journey across the logistics ecosystem - and that's automation and delivery. We'll look into this world next!

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 Part 5

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