Where exactly are the shipments in-transit? When do they arrive? Are they on time? Who will receive the goods? What is arriving? How many trucks are arriving? Do I have enough space at the warehouse? What equipment and manpower do I need to load and unload the goods? How do I bring down the administration costs related to manual coordination and data entry? Is my business data protected?
These and many more questions remain a challenge for logistics teams across the industry, more so relevant in the e-com and distribution sectors. Logistics today is all about information availability leading to efficient dispatches and deliveries. With largescale penetration and acceptability of online shopping, well planned dispatch and deliveries are critical to service the needs of the buyer, on time, every time.
I. The INEFFICIENCIES
Package has left the facility, package has arrived at the facility, out for delivery”. This kind of information does not seem to make enough sense to the end users in this age of technological innovations and expectations of near real-time information. Surprisingly, even the large e-com and distribution players still plan and work around time based deliveries for trucks with stringent SLA’s, putting the drivers under tremendous stress. A no show at the designated time by the trucks would mean longer wait times for the trucks to load / unload, affecting the warehouse efficiency. Largely, the trucks meet the deadlines set. However, there are quite a number of instances wherein there are delayed arrivals and the trucks are stranded for want of unloading bays at the destination warehouses leading to trucks lying idle with the load and nowhere to go. This can have a significant effect on efficiency and losses, both for the customers and the truckers.
II. GPS trackers are PASSÉ
Implementation of intelligent location based technologies that provide near real-time in-transit information for shipments can largely improve the e-com & distribution logistics systems by providing the right set of information to the relevant stakeholders on time that can enable better logistics planning. Smartphone based location intelligence systems are gaining ground with their business value justified in terms of investment and maintenance when compared to portable / fixed GPS trackers. Portable GPS trackers involve operational costs for every trip while the fixed GPS trackers are not open to provide information to all the stakeholders as desired. The truckers do not expose their GPS tracker credentials to an outside user due to the underlying technology limitation and for privacy reasons. Hence, the data entry is mostly manual and prone to errors creeping in. With limited availability of automated in-transit data about shipments, it is also a challenging task to keep the systems and users updated with near real-time information. Moreover, unmanaged GPS trackers at the trucker end can prove to be the weakest link when it comes to data privacy and protection for a business.
III. Achieving the NEXT
While there are a lot of thoughts on what may be the right technology approach to deriving value at every step in the logistics processes, ease of use, near real-time information availability, transparency and operational costs will decide the future of shipment tracking and tracing. By enforcing technology discipline on the truckers and drivers, it is possible to achieve cost optimization and the desired results with just a smartphone rather than depending on a tightly bound GPS tracking hardware device. Largescale penetration and usage of smartphones among the trucking fraternity is a positive outlook for bringing in the necessary change.
TRANSO can get you there. Talk to us today.