Real-time container tracking software is one of the most valuable tools that today's shippers and BCOs have at their disposal. With numerous solutions available on the market, though, how do you choose the software that is best suited for your organization's needs?
To help you select the ideal ocean container tracking software, let's look at the core challenges of ocean container tracking, how real-time container tracking solutions can help, and the essential features to look for when evaluating container tracking software.
The Core Challenges With Ocean Container Tracking
End-to-end supply chain visibility is the gold standard of modern logistics, but it's also something that many organizations need help to achieve. There are numerous challenges associated with ocean container tracking, including:
- Not knowing the number of containers scheduled for delivery.
- Having to adjust expected and actual arrival dates due to poor info from forwarders.
- Too many portals/dashboards to manage via outsourced vendors.
- A data lake with multiple data schemas makes it challenging to analyze tracking data for insights.
- No single source of trusted truth/no independent way to verify what your forwarder is telling you.
- Forwarders cannot answer where, when, and why regarding a container's location and status.
- Siloed data creates barriers to information sharing and collaboration.
- Supply chain managers have been burned by expensive pilots and always end up empty.
- Supply chain managers always end up chasing containers with no end in sight.
These container tracking challenges can create several issues, including decreased customer satisfaction and a loss of consumer trust, difficulties getting products to market, loose partnerships/strategic relationships, and much more. Thankfully, utilizing the right real-time container tracking solution can enable organizations to overcome these challenges and provide many other benefits to boost supply chains.
What is an Ocean Container Tracking Software or System?
An ocean container tracking system is a tracking solution that brings together various data sources via AIS. This technology enables organizations to track and monitor the real-time location of shipping containers as they move through the supply chain. By providing timely, accurate, and standardized container tracking data, an ocean container tracking system such as VIZION can eliminate many of the challenges that container tracking otherwise entails. It provides complete supply chain visibility and ensures that you always know your cargo’s location and when it will arrive.
What Features Should I Look For in an Ocean Container Tracking System?
Ocean container tracking software is invaluable for supply chain managers, but not all container tracking solutions are created equal. If you would like to get as much return as possible from your company's investment in real-time container tracking software, here are the essential features to look for:
- API subscription for updates on containerized freight: Real-time container tracking updates are pushed via API to your existing software system or spreadsheet.
- Clean, standardized data across carriers globally: Clean, standardized data is easier to analyze and share between partners.
- Data is pulled or pushed into their interfaces: Information is instantly available and easily accessible.
- Adaptable data pipeline: To control the flow of container tracking data that your organization receives.
- No GUI: Utilizing a no-code/low-code tracking system ensures that it will be easy to manipulate the solution for your purposes.
- Instant-on access to pre-mapped data sources once the API key is issued: This eliminates the need for complex and time-consuming setup such as that required with electronic data interchange (EDI).
- Access to more specific, useful, insightful, standardized events: Access to 50+ container tracking events provides far deeper insights and enables organizations to manage by exception.
- Enriched and supplemented through multiple sources: This ensures that container tracking data is both detailed and accurate.
- Optimized to reflect ideal data payload: So that your organization receives the insights it needs without being overwhelmed by excessive data.
- Helps make build or buy decisions: Offers you the ability to build your custom container tracking API.
Keys to Container Tracking Data Quality
We've indirectly touched on container tracking data quality already in covering the top features to look for in container tracking software. For example, data enriched through multiple sources is more accurate and detailed than data that is reliant on a single source, and these are two of the important keys to tracking data quality.
Along with being detailed and accurate, other vital keys to container tracking data quality are timely, organized, and standardized. If you manage by exception, container tracking data needs to be as close to real-time as possible, making timeliness one of the most important keys to data quality. Meanwhile, organized and standardized data is much easier to analyze and makes sharing of information back and forth between partners far more efficient.
Given the immense importance of container tracking data quality, choosing a solution that provides timely, accurate, detailed, organized, and standardized container tracking data is essential.
KPIs to Track From Container Tracking Data
Quality container tracking data enables you to track numerous KPIs that can inform business decisions and help you optimize your supply chain. Some of the top KPIs to monitor via container tracking data include:
- Vessel Schedule Reliability
- The Elapsed Time Between Shipping Instructions and Bill of Lading Issue
- On-Time Shipment of Cargo
- Port-to-Port Time Against Schedule
- Cargo Availability at the Destination Port
- Average US Inland Transit Times
- Port Dwell Times
- Port Calls and Turnaround Times
- Liner Shipping Connectivity
- Port Cargo Handling Performance
By using real-time container tracking data to monitor these KPIs, you will be able to create carrier scorecards to see which carriers are best positioned to help you maintain an efficient and reliable supply chain.
Get Access to the Best Container Tracking Data on the Market With VIZION
As the industry's leading real-time container tracking solution, VIZION comes equipped with all of the essential features to look for in container tracking software. With VIZION, you can look forward to the most detailed, accurate, timely, and standardized container tracking data, with real-time alerts and access to 50+ container tracking events that provide unparalleled supply chain insights.
To get started using VIZION to prevent demurrage and detention fees, monitor impactful supply chain KPIs, manage by exception, and much more, sign up for a free VIZION demo today. Or, to learn more about the value of quality container tracking data, feel free to download VIZION's free white paper on the importance of quality data in container shipping.