Choosing A Freight Visibility Data Provider

Choosing A Freight Visibility Data Provider

There are various factors to consider when selecting your visibility data provider. Who you choose to partner with will affect the workflow of employees  in your company, the value you provide to customers, and your ability to manage and respond to risk. While the decision is an important one for freight forwarders and shippers, careful analysis will make it clear which provider best fits your  specific business needs.

What to look  for in a data provider

Before anything else, it's necessary to analyze and define what your company would like to accomplish  from partnering with a data provider. Is the goal to adopt a new platform or user interface? For some, the answer is yes. Others would find this option a pain point for their end-users; too many platforms hinder workflow efficiency. (Simply consider the number of windows users have open to complete  tasks). Which platforms to choose should be a strategic decision, based on the value each provides for both the company as a whole and end-users.

There are data providers that supply data to the user's transportation management system (TMS). This integration is a key source of workflow optimization for many freight forwarders. Through APIs, visibility data is provided to the user without the need to change their current platform and workflow decisions. They have the data brought where they need it.

What data providers can offer

Once you have decided which type of visibility data provider to go with - either one that supplies data in their own platform or  one who  sends data to the TMS or other management system. Many providers will  seem similar on the surface level. In reality, there are crucial differences that stem from the way  each gathers data and makes the information usable.

Imagine you are a freight forwarder attempting to manage ocean freight visibility without a data provider. Visiting various carrier websites, gathering, and recording the information is a tedious and inefficient process. If the forwarder wanted data from multiple carriers, they would benefit from standardized data, with the same event milestones instead of attempting to make sense of each carrier's unique descriptions - an overwhelming task without dedicated resources.

The value of partnering with a provider is getting automatic access to quality data that is presented in the same format. The focus is on improving the value of the data for the user. Visibility data providers receive data from API, EDI, and web interfaces. For the best quality, it's important to find a provider that considers a number of information sources, including vessel identification and location data, and brings the information together in the same place and in the same format.

Differences between data providers

Visibility data providers often specialize in various offerings that add value and set themselves apart from others. When choosing a provider, consider factors that are important to your operations in particular.

You may have options such as predictive and prescriptive support to better anticipate and respond to disruptions, more frequent updates of event milestones, and connection to the port terminal system for container statuses.

If there are specific options you're looking for, investigate and ask detailed questions of your potential data provider. There are differences between providers based on what they focus on investing in and offering to their customers. The primary goal should always be supporting real business needs, supplying information in a way that is most helpful, helps solve a  problem, and is easy to integrate.

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