January 2016 | Sponsored | Knowledge Base

Real-Time Load Tracking: Improving Productivity and Customer Service, and Reducing Costs

Tags: Transportation Management Systems (TMS), Customer Service, Cloud Computing, Logistics, Technology , Supply Chain

Matt Elenjickal is CEO, FourKites, 888-466-6958

Do you have a team of people who spend their time calling carriers, checking websites, filling out spreadsheets with EDI data, and answering endless inquiries from internal and external customers about where the truck is? It's an all too familiar story for manufacturers, distributors, and retailers across the country.

Did you install your dream TMS and, despite its strengths in many areas, it still can't tell you exactly when your shipment will arrive at the customer's facility?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need real-time load tracking. And yes, it's possible to get the information you want, at your fingertips when you need it, even if your carrier base is 100+ carriers strong.

A real-time load tracking platform gives you and your customer service team access to location information for all of your shipments, regardless of carrier. Instead of being built on outdated EDI technology, new offerings provide updates directly from the onboard GPS device your carriers use to track their own trucks. Combine that with cellphone tracking for small fleets and owner operators, weather and traffic information, and other predictive analytics, and you have a tool that enables you to manage exceptions proactively. Top platforms not only provide you with real-time location information, they alert you to potential issues, give you the information you need to take action on those loads, and allow you to view performance over time so you can target systematic issues in your supply chain.

Use Case: Customer Service

When customers (including internal customers, such as Sales or Warehouse Operations) reach out to ask for status, your agents will have answers at their fingertips, avoiding a call or email to the carrier. Their answers will be more thorough, accurate, and up to date—all provided by real-time information in one place.

Even better than providing quick responses is not receiving the questions at all. Given the cloud-based solutions on the market today, it's easy to expand the benefits of a real-time tracking platform to customers and internal stakeholders. Robust solutions will offer group access permissions to allow users from throughout your and your customer's organizations to view the shipments relevant to them and get the answers they need, without compromising privacy, security, and usability.

Use Case: Carrier Management

Tracking on-time pickup and delivery performance can be incredibly difficult. You're combining data from a variety of different sources, and often relying on self-reported data from the carriers. With a real-time tracking platform, you are able to see exactly when a truck arrived at your customer's facility. Historical reporting by carrier, customer, and region allows you to identify pain points. The added benefit of being able to drill down into the details of delayed and rescheduled loads gives you the information you need to impact your on-time delivery performance going forward.

Use Case: Warehouse Operations

According to the FMCSA, each year more than $3 billion is spent on detention charges at warehouses. Tracking platforms use geo-fencing that notifies the warehouse team of a truck's impending arrival—allowing you and your customers' warehouses to be prepared. Early notifications of delays and revised ETAs reduce surprises at the dock and your detention costs.

Being a Shipper of Choice

When it comes down to it, you want to ship your product in the most efficient and cost effective way. You tackle that through a variety of different methods and, if it isn't already, real-time load tracking should be one of them. Improved transparency between you and your carriers, fewer calls to their dispatch team, fewer calls to drivers while they are on the road, and a more informed shipping/receiving team all aid in making your transportation operation a well-oiled machine. Improve the service you provide to your customers, improve your relationship with your carriers, and reduce your costs at the same time—a real time tracking platform helps you revolutionize your logistics operations.