Real-time visibility of freight is every companies’ dream. Imagine never having to wonder where your cargo is. Or immediately knowing whether your container is on a ship just ahead, or right behind the blockage in the Suez Canal. Companies having these insights, never want to turn back the clock. Yet this is only a reality for a minority of the companies and I don’t understand why. Is your organization hesitating to bet on real-time visibility? Or would you like to see the benefits listed? Using five reasons, I will show you the gigantic potential.
- Customer service on the rise
If you want to retain customers, you need to invest in service. Companies usually pull out all the stops to serve their customers. Less often they look at how the entire process affects customer service. Real-time freight visibility may seem to be especially useful for you as a seller, but this information is actually very valuable for your end customer as well. After all, if you know exactly when a delivery will arrive, you can proactively inform customers about it. In addition, you are better able to safeguard agreements with customers. After all, you can adapt faster if the transport goes differently than planned. A well-informed customer is more understanding than a poorly informed one.
2. Reducing problems
Being able to adapt faster also allows you to reduce problems. Suppose a number of containers with food and beverages are on their way to the port of Rotterdam. Real-time visibility will also provide you real-time insight in the container's temperature. If it turns out to be out of order, you know this immediately and can order a new cargo right away. Without this real-time information, you only discover on arrival at the port that the contents of entire containers are unusable. If you yourself are aware of any problems in time, you can also inform other stakeholders early. Which brings me straight to the next advantage.
3. Optimize processes
The supply chain naturally consists of a chain of links that all affect each other. Process disruptions in one link have an impact on all subsequent links. The earlier you have insight into unforeseen or unexpected circumstances, the faster you can change gears and inform the rest of the affected parties, resulting in a better planning. Think of unloading containers at the port, planning the subsequent transport by truck and unloading these trucks at the distribution center. All these activities require manpower. If you know exactly when a ship arrives at the port, you can plan tightly. This saves a lot of staff doing nothing if a ship does not arrive today after all. In this way, real-time freight visibility ensures that the entire supply chain is optimized considerably.
4. More accurate stock management
A good balance between supply and demand is essential for a profitable business model. You don't want 'empty shelves', but neither do you want unnecessary stock. Companies that have no overview of transport do not dare to take risks and often keep larger stocks than necessary. This ultimately costs money. If you know exactly where your delivery is and when it will arrive, you can manage your stocks more accurately. What if it turns out that a delivery is delayed? In that case, you check whether that delivery is essential to your production process. If it threatens to stall, you can always fly in a buffer. That way, you avoid a delayed delivery hurting your market position.
5. Cost reduction
Real-time freight visibility enhances one’s efficiency, which then results in cost reductions. Some examples: better division of your staff because you know when you need them. But you can also better inform customers and other stakeholders.
So, my business case would be made very quickly. The investment required to have real-time visibility will be returned in no time through efficiency in all your processes. If you ask me, real-time freight visibility is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have.
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