“Where are my loads? How can I track them in real-time?”
Even before the advent of information technology, these queries were frequently asked.
The trucking industry is not unfamiliar with the importance of freight visibility. For as long as loads have existed, trucking companies have always been anxious about the whereabouts of their freight.
With the help of advanced technology, including the adoption of a cloud-based transportation management system, it has become much simpler to provide an answer to this question, and this may present possibilities for enhancing efficiencies throughout the entire supply chain.
The term "supply chain" typically conjures up an image of a network of interconnected links, but one crucial aspect that may not be immediately seen is the constant movement of cargo.
In order to move goods between raw material suppliers, manufacturers, wholesale distributors, retailers, and end-users at different stages of the supply chain, brokers, third-party logistics providers (3PLs), and freight carriers are involved at every stage. Therefore, having visibility into the location and status of freight is becoming more vital.
Although real-time freight visibility can bring immediate benefits to the supply chain, there remains a gap in understanding the competitive advantages it can offer.
With the supply chain becoming increasingly complex, the significance of freight visibility becomes even more crucial as it allows for real-time monitoring of the location and status of freight.
Why Freight Visibility is Important
Manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and other shippers now require full visibility into the location and status of their freight to mitigate challenges that could disrupt their supply chains.
The market's perception of freight visibility has evolved, with previous basic track-and-trace methods no longer considered sufficient for end-to-end supply chain visibility. Today, business intelligence and analytics tools are deemed more crucial.
The heightened demand for load visibility necessitates the tracking of loads and access to information on their current status, including arrival and departure at pickup and destination points, as well as in-transit updates utilizing GPS-based positioning.
An advanced load tracking solution that provides more frequent and detailed updates on shipment status via a single integration point, regardless of the mobile device in use, can effectively address visibility requirements. Furthermore, integrating tracking information with a carrier's enterprise and transportation management systems can expedite and enhance the delivery of tracking information to shippers.
How Freight Visibility Completely Transforms Supply Chain?
The value of visibility lies far more than just knowing the freight location. It encompasses a range of advantages such as receiving real-time, up-to-date information on shipments while they are in transit, being able to provide predictive estimated times of arrival (ETAs), and continuously monitoring shipments that are at risk within the supply chain.
This multi-layered approach to visibility enables organizations to forecast their entire supply chain from start to finish and provides projected timelines for a more automated experience.
In addition, supply chain visibility generates value for teams, business units, and operations throughout the organization, extending beyond just the transportation department. The positive effects of visibility are apparent in various areas of the supply chain.
Reasons Why Freight Visibility Should Be a Top Priority
In 2023 and beyond, companies prioritizing freight visibility will have a competitive edge over those that do not.
Let’s discuss the four main reasons why freight visibility is important and why it is becoming a top priority for trucking companies.
Late Shipment Concerns Are Becoming More Severe
According to the study, more than half of the third-party logistics (3PLs) reported that they had lost business or were unsure if they had due to their poor visibility capabilities. Late shipments or delays that are not reported can have a significant impact on the efficiency of a supply chain.
For instance, a factory may need to cease or increase production on a line to compensate, a retailer may need to manage inventory shortages on store shelves, and a distribution operation may need to adjust staffing levels on its loading docks to account for unproductive time and personnel changes when a shipment eventually arrives.
Failing to monitor the on-time delivery of goods can result in costly disruptions, wasting both time and money. Freight tracking technology can minimize unexpected surprises in the supply chain by providing real-time visibility and updates on the constant movement of freight. This can be beneficial for all parties involved and help avoid expensive consequences.
Freight Visibility is a Business Requirement
Over the past few years, the way freight visibility is perceived in the market has undergone significant changes. Previously, basic track-and-trace methods were considered sufficient for gaining insight into the supply chain.
However, this is no longer the case as manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and other shippers now demand complete visibility into the status and location of their freight to reduce chaos.
Brokers and 3PL providers have fully embraced the concept of freight visibility, with 90% considering it a core service offering and shippers using visibility capabilities as a metric for choosing service providers.
The increased demand for shipment visibility is driving the need for real-time access to information on the current shipment status, including arrivals and departures at pick-up and destination locations, and in-transit updates supported by accurate GPS-based positioning.
To effectively address visibility concerns, systems must provide more frequent and detailed automatic updates on shipment status through a single point of integration.
Greater Insights Required into Late & Off-Schedule Shipments
Nowadays, shippers are not satisfied with just having complete visibility, they desire to have precise visibility on shipments that are late and off-schedule.
Leveraging predictive analytics and employing an exception-based approach to managing shipments can facilitate proactive management practices, enabling informed decisions that ultimately improve productivity and efficiency throughout the supply chain.
Predictive analytics can assist shippers in handling exceptional issues instead of all of their shipments, saving significant management time that is valuable.
Unleash Hidden and/or New Freight Hauling Opportunities
In North America, trucks transport over 70% of cargo, equivalent to more than 10.5 billion tons of freight annually. For companies, meeting the freight visibility requirements of an increasing number of businesses is crucial in securing hauling opportunities.
The advancement of visibility technology is of great interest to companies, as it can lead to a more efficient supply chain.
The supply chain is a vast and intricate network that continues to grow each year. While 71% of shippers rely on carriers' tools or outside software providers for visibility information, only 6% of shippers have access to real-time visibility due to EDI latency and system limitations.
It is imperative to implement real-time freight visibility now to reap the benefits of real-time insight, which can enhance productivity and save costs throughout the entire supply chain.
The Future of Freight Visibility and Tracking
As freight visibility expands, supply chains can enhance their ability to manage exceptions, forecast transportation outcomes and delays, extract more useful business insights, and promote collaboration throughout the supply chain.
The demand from both suppliers and shippers for precise, real-time reporting and accountability will drive further progress in freight visibility and tracking.
Cloud-based transportation management systems such as LoadStop provide real-time load tracking solutions to trucking businesses, enabling them to track the location of their drivers, trucks, and loads anytime, anywhere from a single window.
LoadStop’s advanced tracking module allows you to track and monitor each leg of the shipment individually, providing real-time end-to-end visibility of your fleet and shipments. Interested to know more? Book a demo with our experts to know more about LoadStop TMS’s load-tracking solution.
About the Author: Sara Naveed
Sara Naveed is a creative and digital content writer who uses her creative skills to develop and edit professional web content. Being a writer has always been her dream. She earnestly hopes people appreciate her writing—an asset she deeply covets. Using her 8+ years of working experience, she writes for trucking industry experts who are always looking for better technological solutions to their problems.