Embracing new technology means that a truly connected end-to-end supply chain with 100% visibility is no longer a pipe-dream,revealsJeff Newman, Vice President of Supply Chain Visibility Solution Sales, CalAmp.
As the market for Less than Truckload (LTL) and last-mile deliveries grows, the problem of tracking individual shipments has become more complicated, proving a headache for logistics experts. In the past, it was enough to load a tractor-trailer and track it as a unit; now, with loads under 500 pounds on smaller trucks, the problem of supply chain visibility has become very real.
To fill the gaps in supply chain visibility, two important new technologies have emerged: fleet management and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Fleet management connects vehicles to the cloud, providing a two-way data channel that reports vehicle location and health while providing drivers with up-to-date traffic, routing and navigation information. Fleet management helps delivery drivers find the fastest route to each destination, provides up-to-date information about the location of each truck, and helps reduce operating costs by predictively managing vehicle health.
The IoT is a new world in which objects themselves are not only connected, but aware of their surroundings and smart enough to share information. The addition of a smart tracking device to a shipment makes the shipment itself able to provide visibility into its whereabouts and condition. The key benefit is always-on, real-time data about the shipment and its environment being available without interruption. Smart devices can now make their own decisions about what data to send, so that the carrier does not have to wade through unwanted information to get to critical knowledge about a shipment’s status.
Smart tracking of individual shipments also provides real-time visibility when these shipments are routed internally before shipment, or when they are in the possession of 3PL companies that do not provide granular tracking data. Smart, cloud-connected devices keep shipments continuously visible in real time from anywhere on the globe.
Together, these two technologies connect people, things and processes to ensure fast, predictable delivery with complete visibility of the shipment from departure to final arrival.
The benefits are clear:
- On-Board Tracking– enabling shipments with GPS based tracking is the starting point for filling visibility gaps. There are a number of options available today ranging from simple location devices to smart tracking devices that can sense a number of environmental factors to ensure even the most delicate of shipments are safe and that they are handled according to business or regulatory requirements.
- Convenience– smart devices can be simple to deploy and make it easy to secure the right type of information based the needs of your organization.
- Timeliness – real-time reports, alerts and advisories provide need-to-know information without disrupting workflow while allowing remediating action.
- Appropriateness– the right information and alerts to the right stakeholder at the right time enable an organisation to optimise operations and take needed actions with low friction.
- Compliance– providing all the right validation of shipment integrity – temperature, humidity, shock, light and other factors that need to be adhered to for regulatory assurance.
In today’s marketplace, providing visibility to the customer from pickup to delivery is paramount for any operation that wants new business, and essential for maintaining supply chain security. We are no longer in a world where storing data is expensive and individual solutions are needed for each component in the supply chain. The IoT and fleet management mean there is no excuse for visibility gaps and every opportunity to deliver customer satisfaction.