Ocean freight visibility can be a game-changing tool, especially compared to the non-existent level of visibility of the past, when all shippers knew was that their goods were in transit somewhere on the ocean, with an estimated arrival date. With container tracking technology advancements, it might be surprising that the level of visibility that is now possible is not commonplace. Yet it’s the goal—for companies of all sizes to benefit from ocean visibility and be able to scale their container tracking without added effort.
For every reason the freight industry is not there yet, there are more reasons why we should be working on getting this place, with all the operational obstacles it would help shippers to overcome. Getting there requires a shift from traditional tracking methods to a tech-driven approach and strategy that pays off quickly.
Problems Freight Professionals Face When Scaling Their Container Tracking
Manual container tracking might seem like an option for shippers with a small freight volume. While the biggest customers of ocean freight use integration to receive EDI updates from their carriers, the rest settle for using shipment tracking websites. They must log on, enter their information to select a shipment, and see the available data. It may or may not have been updated since the last time you checked. However, the biggest problem is the quality of the data. Handling poor quality data will take up even more of the shipper’s valuable time and prevent them from scaling their operations to manage more containers.
Data coming from carrier websites is often messy. Shippers must parse the information to bring it to their internal systems. Data is not standardized across different carriers or freight forwarders, making this task time-consuming and prone to errors. The information provided is often incomplete or otherwise not ready for production. Shippers may need to interpret data to translate it to their own standardizations in a usable format. An operational team can spend up to 40% of their time collecting data by hand, and analytics teams can spend an estimated 70% of their time standardizing it.
“Shouldn’t have To” is the Theme for Many Freight Professionals
Visibility frustrations often come to a head when freight professionals realize the time and effort they waste daily when there should be a better way. They shouldn’t have to spend time manually tracking containers, consulting one website after another. They shouldn’t need to extrapolate data to estimate where containers are for their customers. The information should be available to them already in the form they need.
Visibility solutions abound, but freight professionals might find themselves stuck with one that ultimately does a poor job of providing quality data. They shouldn’t have to settle for gaps in the data, experience constraints by a non-flexible solution for their data requirements or have to pay for a service that provides little value. On top of all this, they shouldn’t be experiencing these same frustrations daily.
What Internal Hesitations Are Holding Back Container Tracking?
Why do companies continue to operate with the same inefficiencies and lack of visibility? Change can be difficult to manage with the friction that usually accompanies it. Switching to a stand-alone data provider requires management to say, “The system we already have is not working.” That’s a risk, especially if the preference is for all systems to remain in one place. From a technology and development standpoint, it can be an obstacle to securing the funds for such a project. Freight procurement also tends to focus on cost as the primary factor rather than considering strategic partnerships to gain a competitive advantage.
How Container Tracking via a Technology Provider Can Solve These Problems
Like the concept of outsourcing, utilizing an outside expert in the form of a technology provider is the most effective solution for meeting a high level of demands while being time and cost-conscious. Organizations must realize the cost of going without quality data for container tracking. To scale and grow, companies of every size need access to the right technology and its reliability.
A technology provider like VIZION API offers ocean freight visibility expertise you can depend on to meet your business requirements. VIZION has a 99.9% uptime performance for data integrations and covers 98% of global ocean carriers. Our top priority is continually improving the quality of our container tracking data through our products. We use every data point for machine learning and development from multiple sources. Through the quality we provide, freight professionals have a tool that enables them to grow and scale. To hear more about VIZION API and how container tracking can work for you, reach out to us today to schedule a demo.