October 16, 2019

Shippers continue to demand more precise information about the location and status of their shipments. The bar has been raised for freight visibility, which has become apparent with the numerous acquisitions within the load-tracking sector. For example, Descartes purchased MacroPoint, Trimble purchased 10-4 Systems, and more. This flurry of activity simply validates the importance of real-time data in the transportation industry. So, how exactly can this information be utilized to improve your supply chain operations?


Data can be used to implement scorecards and to track carriers on various measurements, such as on-time pickups and deliveries. The data can also assist in identifying areas with high detention times and to help correct these types of errors before they cascade into other problems, potentially leading to unnecessary costs. Setting KPI’s ultimately guides good decision making and provides a clear picture of how your transportation operations are running and which carriers pose a possible threat.


There are a multitude of ways that shipment visibility can improve warehouse productivity. One way is to ensure that warehouse labor is being managed accurately and that your customer service and receiving teams are working the appropriate hours that make sense for your budget and operations. Another way is through inventory planning, especially for shippers who have just-in-time schedules. Being able to judge when your goods will be arriving allows for more appropriate planning so that plants rarely run the risk of running out of crucial materials.


Whether you’re shipping your own products to a storefront or shipping to customers individually, uncertainty in shipping is never a good thing. Your end customer will ultimately be happier that you are able to provide track & trace information to them at a moment’s notice…and not just the basic location of the shipment, but if the driver is on time, ahead of schedule, any weather implications or traffic interruptions, etc. Being able to offer complete transparency into every shipment will allow you to stay competitive in your industry.


When your product arrives late or doesn’t arrive at all, who takes the blame? With tracking data, it’s simple to see who made a mistake and where. This increased accountability motivates brokers, drivers, and shippers to stay on top of each load in order to avoid delay, loss, or damage.


The end goal to increased freight visibility isn’t to make everyone feel watched, but to keep everyone accountable and motivated to succeed. Utilizing tracking data to your advantage will allow for savings in time, transportation spend, and overall increased efficiencies within your operations. As outlined in last month’s blog, Spot now requires of all its carrier partners to provide some form of automated location updates to us while servicing our freight. To review these options, click here.