A Recent Survey of over 600 Businesses Says Companies Need Better Truckload Visibility - Here’s How to Get It

In the fast-paced world of logistics, real-time visibility in transportation is more critical than ever. According to Descartes Systems Group’s 8th Annual Global Transportation Management Benchmark Survey of over 630 shippers and logistics service providers (LSPs) across North America and Europe, 47% of respondents identified Truckload (TL) as the mode requiring the most improvement in real-time visibility. Truckload has been the top choice for this question since the survey began in 2017, and that raises an important question, why is this the case? This blog post will examine some of the potential factors that lead to this sentiment across supply chain professionals.

Simplify Complex Truckload Networks

One of the primary reasons Truckload visibility perception lags behind other modes is the inherent complexity of TL networks. Unlike small parcel shipping, dominated by a few large players, Truckload involves a vast array of carriers, brokers, and third-party logistics providers (3PLs). Each company often employs different systems, processes, and communication methods, thus creating a fragmented and inconsistent visibility landscape. Adding to this, many Truckload carriers are frequently added and removed from a company’s network, so on-boarding efforts don't end. Although, the right visibility provider will have the scale of network and carrier workflows required to remove or simplify these ongoing efforts from their day-to-day tasks.

Do Not View Visibility as a Commodity

Many in the industry mistakenly view real-time visibility as a commodity, assuming all visibility platforms offer similar performance. In reality, there are significant variations in the number of loads tracked, frequency of tracking, and the accuracy of the tracking data provided by different vendors. Visibility providers that meet carriers where they are at, utilizing multiple connection methods (Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), carriers’ Transportation Management Systems (TMS), mobile apps, etc.) will be able to capture more freight visibility information than the less flexible visibility solution providers.

Invest in Continuous Improvement Processes

In addition to visibility not being a commodity, improving Truckload visibility is not a one-time effort but a continuous improvement process. It involves regularly monitoring visibility performance, identifying issues, and addressing root causes. This iterative approach is essential for maintaining high standards of real-time visibility and adapting to the evolving demands of the supply chain landscape.

Integrate your TMS and WMS

Another critical factor is how visibility data is integrated into Transportation Management Systems (TMS) and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS). Some of the respondents may have good visibility data that is siloed within a web-based control tower, which is less useful than visibility data that is seamlessly integrated into operational systems. Automated updates and proactive alerts within TMS/WMS platforms are essential for maximizing the utility of visibility data. This integration allows for real-time decision making and more efficient supply chain operations.

Learn from Recent Global Disruptions

From the COVID-19 pandemic to the Red Sea, we’ve seen disruptions from around the globe that highlight the necessity of robust freight visibility. As supply chains face new and unprecedented challenges, the ability to track and manage shipments in real-time became vital for maintaining operational efficiency and customer service levels. The pandemic underscored the gap between the expectations for, and value of, TL visibility and the reality of what most companies have achieved with their visibility solutions.

The Universal Challenge Across Regions

Interestingly, the survey revealed no significant differences in responses based on company type or geography. This indicates that the challenge of improving Truckload visibility is a universal issue faced by shippers and LSPs in both North America and Europe. This universal challenge underscores the need for a concerted effort across the industry to continually address visibility in Truckload transportation.


The need for improved Truckload visibility is clear and pressing. As supply chain complexity increases and customer expectations rise, the industry must prioritize real-time visibility improvements. By understanding the unique challenges of TL networks, dispelling the commodity misconception, having the flexibility to work with carriers across a spectrum of connectivity methods, making visibility data available to customers, partners, and internal teams, while committing to a continuous improvement process, companies can bridge the gap between their current capabilities and their desired performance.

In the end, achieving superior Truckload visibility drives efficiency, enhances customer satisfaction, and improves competitiveness in an increasingly demanding market. As we move forward, the focus on real-time visibility in Truckload transportation will continue to be a critical area for innovation and improvement, ensuring that supply chains remain resilient and responsive to the needs of businesses and consumers alike.

If you would like to learn more about our real-time transportation visibility platform (RTTVP), visit the Descartes MacroPoint website to discover how we help drive better carrier collaboration and compliance across your supply chain.


2024 Global Transportation Management Benchmark Report

Descartes conducts annual benchmark research among global transportation professionals. The 2024 study reveals key industry trends, leading transportation management strategies, and future IT investment outlooks..

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