There was a time not so long ago when customers would wait patiently for their orders, and it was enough for shippers to inform them of the dispatch of the consignment. However, modern customers are now notoriously impatient. Not only do they want fast deliveries, but also want detailed shipment tracking, preferably in real-time. Poor shipment visibility brings a whole new set of challenges for businesses. These range from poor customer experience, growing transportation risks, and incorrect KPIs to a lack of real-time transportation visibility that can compromise efficiency and customer satisfaction.
What is Shipment Visibility?
Shipment visibility is being aware of where the consignment is at any given time during the entire transportation process from the pickup point to delivery at the intended destination. Shippers can track every detail of the movement of the containers, including their location and arrival and departure times across multiple modes of transport. Shipment visibility, especially in real-time, helps businesses plan their shipments, adapt instantly to changes, and overcome unexpected developments that disrupt the delivery schedule. Businesses can also use real-time shipment data to prioritize resources, identify areas of concern, streamline processes, and resolve numerous transportation-related issues. Real-time shipment tracking also helps businesses improve efficiency, conserve working capital, and encourage transparency.
Shipment tracking and visibility have assumed even more importance after the worldwide disruption of supply chains due to COVID-19. There is an increased focus by businesses and customers on confinement tracking to plan adequate stocking of products. A study by Gartner Corporation has found that half of all leading global businesses will have invested in real-time freight visibility by 2023. https://www.gartner.com/en/articles/gartner-predicts-the-future-of-supply-chain-technology
Challenges Posed by Lack of Adequate Shipment Visibility
The absence of adequate shipment visibility can lead to several issues and endanger time-critical delivery operations and business reputation. Some of the most evident impacts are as follows:
Poor Customer Experience: Contemporary customers are always in a hurry and demand transparency of shipping information. A robust shipment visibility tool also helps B2B customers to plan their ordering and inventory and delivery commitments to their customers. Often, real-time tracking information can give them a competitive edge and allow businesses to keep their customers happier.
Inaccurate performance benchmarking: Without access to accurate and quick information, delivery managers can find it hard to manage their fleet and third-party logistics providers efficiently. Without real-time shipment tracking, businesses cannot figure out if the deliveries are on time and the reasons for the delays.
Protracted delays: All the players in the supply chain benefit immensely from the availability of accurate and prompt shipment visibility information. They can be sure the deliveries are on schedule and find out about unanticipated delays caused by diversions, offloading, and breakdowns that can increase transportation risks and customer dissatisfaction.
Increased cost of shipping: Poor visibility of shipments can lead to non-optimized routing in case of delays and make you more vulnerable to freight theft and damage.
Implementing a robust real-time shipment visibility system can bring immediate return-on-investments. It also helps to cut down on inventory and warehousing costs. Shipment tracking also increases customer satisfaction and delivery productivity, optimizes routes and fuel consumption, and reduces dependency on manual interventions.