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As capacity constraints, driver shortages, government regulations and robust economic conditions continue to drive up logistics spending, companies are seeking new ways to cut costs — while still maintaining high levels of service to increasingly demanding customers.
Fortunately, today’s transportation management (TM) platforms provide organizations with greater visibility, intelligence and control over their supply chains than ever before.
Navigating the supply chain challenges of today requires timely, accurate and holistic visibility into a company’s transportation operations. But that doesn’t mean access to more spreadsheets containing old data; instead, success relies on a shipper’s ability to view the entire network in real time and easily access critical, actionable information.
Today’s TM technology gives shippers a 360-degree view of their entire transportation network. These advanced systems provide a comprehensive, graphical view of all shipments along with dynamic dashboards comprising key performance indicators (KPIs), such as on-time arrivals/departures, carrier performance and more. Additionally, relevant information from the web, including weather and traffic alerts, can be integrated with shipment data to deliver a “control tower” view, providing shippers a singular, all-encompassing, real-time access to their supply chain at all times.
The ability to customize reports and dashboards enables key personnel at every level and function of an organization to access critical information when they need it. Senior management are provided a holistic overview of operations, while those responsible for day-to-day operations can receive more detailed data on carrier performance, delivery times and more — helping them better understand how and why there have been fluctuations in cost or service. Greater supply chain visibility and access to data allows companies to be more proactive in their transportation planning, compare final shipping results with the initial goals, and better understand how to adjust plans moving forward in order to increase efficiency, reduce costs and ultimately enhance customer service.
While access to large amounts of data can be beneficial, compiling data simply for data’s sake doesn’t eliminate waste or improve service. What makes this information truly valuable is when data becomes actionable. The ability to view shipments in real time, as well as incorporate alerts from the web, allows shippers to use predictive analytics to make better, more-informed decisions — allowing them to proactively take steps to maintain smooth operations and high service levels during an event.
For example, if a blizzard is predicted to hit the Northeast, shippers can determine ahead of time if their shipments are going to be delayed — and identifying a delay before it occurs is only the critical first step. Control tower functionality then allows shippers to quickly and easily get real-time information on all affected shipments and take action, such as rerouting a shipment, reassigning the shipment to another carrier, or continuing on as planned. Shippers can then recalculate the new ETA and provide detailed, accurate updates to key personnel within their own organizations as well as to their customers.
In today’s complex supply chain, shippers need tools that enable them to make smart, data-driven decisions and proactively address potential disruptions. Today’s advanced TMS technology gives shippers a graphical, real-time view of their entire network, as well as all-important access to valuable network and market data, enabling them to better optimize performance, reduce costs, meet customer requirements and successfully navigate compounding market challenges.
Frank McGuigan is CEO of Transplace.
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