With global supply chains as complex as they are, having real-time insights into the status of containers and goods gives companies an advanced capability to improve their supply chain operations. But just as adopting this capability is important, so are the first steps of onboarding, which establish the groundwork for more effective implementation. A successful onboarding process means better integration with existing workflows, facilitating more informed decision-making throughout the supply chain.
In this article, we’re looking at the necessary steps of onboarding container tracking and visibility.
In the Digital Supply Chain, Container Tracking is Essential
When companies have access to container tracking and visibility, they gain a digital solution that provides a new level of transparency. For their customers, it increases their confidence and trust, knowing when to expect deliveries and having the ability to plan accordingly. For shippers themselves, it can improve planning and forecasting by providing reliable, up-to-the-minute information on shipments, including estimated arrival times. Visibility can also reduce detention and demurrage costs by helping companies manage containers' time at ports.
Added insights have become a necessity for companies striving to maintain a competitive edge. Visibility through container tracking provides an essential means to optimize operations, make data-driven decisions, and adapt to changes or disruptions in real time.
But getting to this place does not happen overnight. It takes a thorough process of assessing needs, choosing the right solution, and once at the implementation stage, training users, monitoring progress, and scaling the solution across all operations.
Assessing Your Tracking and Visibility Needs
Identifying pain points and challenges in the supply chain requires a systematic assessment of all processes involved. Companies should start by collecting and analyzing historical shipping and logistics data to spot recurring issues like delays or high detention costs. Direct feedback from employees and customers can also be valuable here, highlighting practical difficulties and areas of dissatisfaction.
With challenges identified, determining the specific tracking and visibility requirements becomes a matter of aligning these needs with business objectives. Companies should consider factors like shipping volume and their specific customer expectations. A business focusing on fast delivery would prioritize real-time tracking with precise ETAs, while a company shipping high-value goods might prioritize security features. Similarly, a company aiming to grow globally would need a system capable of handling the complexities of international shipping. By carefully weighing these factors, companies can pinpoint the tracking and visibility features that best support their goals.
Choosing the Right Tracking Solution
Making the right choice of tracking technology requires careful consideration of a few more factors, like cost and integration. This involves assessing the long-term value the solution will bring in terms of improved efficiency and reduced operational costs. The chosen solution should also be able to integrate with existing infrastructure and data management tools to ensure a smooth flow of data and minimize potential disruptions. This elevates decision-making by providing a unified view of operations and data across different platforms. The potential for the new solution to impact multiple areas of operations in this way makes it all the more important for companies to choose the right solution.
Implementing Container Tracking and Visibility
With the solution chosen, the implementation should be methodical. The initial phase involves setting clear objectives and KPIs for the solution. Also, early on, companies must establish data connections with supply chain partners by collaborating with vendors, carriers, etc. This may involve APIs, EDI, or IoT devices. It's important each partner contributes to ensuring one cohesive system for real-time, accurate data. Then, implementation can move through the three following stages.
- Training and Adoption – Training should be tailored to different user groups and their specific roles within the organization for all who come into contact with the new solution and its data. Within this stage, leadership must foster a culture of adoption and emphasize the new system's value and how it improves operations.
- Monitoring and Continuous Improvement – Following the rollout of the system, regular checks should be made to ensure that the system is performing as expected. This also means collecting and analyzing feedback from users to identify potential improvements. Performance metrics should be reviewed against the established KPIs.
- Scaling Across Operations – Finally, the solution should be expanded to other areas of the business where it is needed, such as intermodal container operations, so that each new area is adequately supported and the system continues to meet objectives as it scales.
Take the First Steps to Leverage the Power of Container Tracking Visibility
Covering these bases is the best way to support a successful onboarding process. Container tracking visibility has the potential to bring such a range of benefits that companies must ensure the new solution is onboarded to maximize its effectiveness.
For companies looking for an unmatched level of container visibility to benefit their supply chain efficiency, customer service, and bottom line, reach out to VIZION to learn more about our advanced technology. We can help you discover the power of better-informed decisions, driven by container tracking.