After a problematic pandemic era, falling rates are finally providing shippers with some relief. Increasingly, they are now turning to automation to improve critical aspects of their supply chains, further capitalizing on their favorable position thanks to the current market. Shipment tracking and tracing, data collection, and document management are just a few possible applications for automation. With automated container visibility through API integration, shippers can track containers and share information and documents with logistics partners, benefiting from fewer manual processes and better-streamlined supply chain operations. This article explores the benefits of automation on shippers’ ocean freight management processes.
The Benefits of Automated Visibility
According to FreightWaves in 2021, only a small portion of shippers, 37%, reported using in-transit real-time visibility solutions. Yet, a 2022 survey by Tive revealed that 80% of shippers want better connectivity and visibility throughout their supply chain. Across the industry, we’re seeing more companies recognize the potential that automated visibility can offer.
Visibility helps improve customer service quality and allows shippers to make data-driven decisions to reduce costs, mitigate risk, and avoid disruptions. When access to visibility is automated, it provides additional benefits — more efficient operations providing the opportunity for cost- and time-savings internally. Shippers can allocate their internal resources to focus on proactive exception management and excellent customer service.
There are numerous ways shippers can apply this to supply chain operations; here are three examples: shipment tracking, data collection, and document management.
How Automated Shipment Tracking Helps Shippers
Manual shipment tracking is often a process of visiting a carrier’s website and searching for each shipping container. Aside from more time required to complete the task with this method, shippers do not have access to notifications as container events occur. Instead, they must regularly check for updates, delaying their response time to each event.
Automated shipment status updates keep shippers informed on all events, from ETAs, delays, departures, arrivals, and when a container changes hands in a multimodal shipment. This visibility allows shippers to have the most up-to-date information and improve their ability to manage exceptions effectively.
How Automated Data Collection Improves Supply Chain Efficiency
Expanding on automated shipment tracking, shippers can access vital logistics data with less friction in the process when the data collection is automated. Where manual processes take more time than automation, they also come with the possibility of errors due to manual data entry. On the other hand, automation allows shippers to receive their data through an easy-to-use API, integrated into any existing system or platform and shared to benefit the entire supply chain.
Automated data collection also means shippers get standardized data like milestone events. There can be significant differences between how different carriers provide data, but an API ensures all events are translated into the same language, giving consistency and reliability to the shipper using the data. Once this data is gathered, standardized, and shared, API solutions can provide analytics in a dashboard, enabling shippers to gain actionable insight to optimize their operations.
How Automated Document Management Assists Exception Management
Documents like the bill of lading, commercial invoice, certificate of origin, and more are stored automatically to help speed up the processes that depend on these documents by allowing the shipper to access them seamlessly within their workflows.
Automated document management also provides organization, visibility, and shareability, which is essential when exceptions arise. Freight claims especially require more care and organization. While these processes can be costly and time-consuming, document management is vital to receiving compensation. API-enabled document sharing gives shippers and their customers full transparency to increase their customer trust and satisfaction even when there are issues like damages and claims.
Get Automated Visibility through VIZION API
Automation helps shippers gain a competitive advantage by enabling more efficient supply chain processes. VIZION API provides them with automated supply chain visibility tools that are easily integrated into an existing tech stack, giving them access to the data they need, where it is needed. This equips shippers with better-streamlined processes and standardized visibility data, which leads to time savings and greater agility for their business.
VIZION also partners with more than a few companies that provide further visibility for shippers, like Raft, which specializes in accounts payable, arrival notice, pre-alerts, and customs clearance, as another way to bring automation to their operations.
To learn more about the automation and VIZION API opportunity, reach out to us today to schedule a demo.