Just like every industry, companies in the shipping corner of the world are now paying millions to increase their visibility on a global scale. In order to attract the attention their way, they’re using top-of-the-range programs and software solutions to make the industry more accessible. However, is it possible to achieve both freight visibility and execution? Today, we want to dive under the surface and find out whether or not this is possible.
New Software – To start, let’s take a look at some of the software on offer starting with ‘CargoSmart’. As a piece of management software for all global shipment companies, CargoSmart improves the reliability of delivery as well as lowering the cost of transportation by optimizing the whole process. By streamlining the manual processes and fixing all problems as soon as they arrive, the idea is that the customer receives their product in the quickest possible time.
On a similar theme, GT Nexus allows all large companies to manage their supply lines almost like conductors of an orchestra. After seeing an increase in reputation recently, GT Nexus has managed to build relationships with some of the biggest brand names in the world including UPS, DHL, Nestle, HP, TOMS, P&G, Oakley, JCPenney, Levi’s, Adidas, and Caterpillar.
Even after these two solutions, we have those that utilize AIS data in order to predict the best routes and times for efficient exporting and importing; this includes vessel tracker and fleet mon. With this automatic identification system (AIS), the software can be used for a whole range of tasks including collision avoidance and service optimization.
Execution? – Despite all of these fantastic tools companies are now utilizing within their business plans, there is still a major issue with the execution of it all. Even with the most carefully devised routing guides, companies still don’t have full control over whether these guides are being followed on a day-to-day basis. In order for this technology to be executed as we’ve discussed, both employees and suppliers must communicate whilst following the routing instructions. If this isn’t done, the company can never deliver as promised.
With outbound shipping, this is perhaps less of an issue because they have control over their particular outbound freight. However, purchase order terms generally work on an ‘Ex Works’ basis which means the importer bears the responsibility for the delivery as well as the associated inbound costs. In order to keep the process as efficient as desired, the buyer is relying on the supplier to follow the given routing instructions.
The Problem? – Since suppliers are worried about sending hundreds of shipments to various customers each and every day, they aren’t going to start listening to what’s efficient to each customer; if they did, it wouldn’t be efficient for themselves and they couldn’t operate properly. Whether the request entails a service level selection, special instructions, carrier selection, or anything else, suppliers cannot adhere to these instructions most of the time and it’s still the importer bearing the cost of the delay and additional expenses. Suddenly, the supply chain is disrupted and everything the tracking software has worked hard to calculate has gone to waste.
Summary – It’s all well and good putting these software solutions into place, but it ultimately proves ineffective if the suppliers don’t listen to the demands of their customers. In order to remain efficient, they tend to do what’s best for them and this isn’t always in line with special instructions!