Advanced visibility refers to the ability to go beyond traditional limits of visibility, such as “where’s my freight,” to understanding “what’s causing delays, what’s happening, what should happen, and when will it happen?” Traditionally, gaining access to this level of data was built on manual, outdated check calls and time-delayed updates within EDI-connected systems. However, advanced capabilities are leveraging automation to replace obsolete processes and complete the full data picture.
A Misalignment Between Expectations and Execution Necessitates Advanced Visibility in the Supply Chain
Advanced transparency and visibility are the evolution of a fundamental misalignment between expectations of supply chain technology and its execution. Customers want real-time data and updates on their freight, and according to past project44 research, 70% expect real-time status tracking. Unfortunately, 73% of supply chains lack that function. The only way to increase this ability lies in getting access to that information within the supply chain in the first place.
Visibility Data Provides Immense, Actionable Insights Into Supply Chain Processes
Advanced visibility also carries another benefit. Since visibility helps with planning, supply chain leaders can work to identify trends within the supply chain. This might include miscommunications with carriers, inability to arrive at the yard on time, or unloading delays due to inadequate packaging issues. Again, the ability to better know what’s happening allows for informed decision making. In this case, that data can be used for performance improvement, refining the list of preferred carriers, avoiding shippers that always seem to be running behind, and ensuring smooth delivery to the end destination.
Core Connections Used to Enable Enhanced Visibility
- Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Utilizing an API allows two or more applications to seamlessly share data in real-time, reducing the issue with old, outdated data, and ensuring all parties stay on the same page.
- ELD and Telematics Capabilities. The invention of electronic logging devices (ELDs) and associated telematics capabilities give rise to new ways to track shipment status in real-time and ascertain when freight will arrive.
- Mobile Applications. Mobile applications that transform drivers’ and supply chain professionals’ devices into connected terminals offer the opportunity to track more information, share bills of lading, eliminate issues of managing manual paperwork, and even provide proof of delivery.