There is a lot of data out there and plenty of programs to help glean insights for a stronger supply chain. But too much information can become messy and unwieldy. The right solution will act as a central hub, reducing information strain—not drowning your team in more work.
With application programming interface (API) container tracking, you can increase visibility to provide better customer service, increase transparency, and gain more accurate forecasting. Getting a central hub in place to organize data is a crucial step if you want to actually use the information you gather. Companies must combine data points meaningfully, or they risk wasting valuable insights.
Keep reading to learn how API tracking can help create a better supply chain control tower for your company, providing clarity on shipments without overloading your team.
What is a Freight Visibility Program & Role in Supply Chain?
It’s becoming increasingly important to provide visibility throughout the supply chain. Without a real strategy, your program will likely be inefficient and irregular. Instead, consider how a freight visibility program could help drive success, profitability, and better customer service.
This program should take data from different systems, gathering information from your warehouse, drivers, dock workers, customs agents, and more. Information from various systems, cell phones, tracking devices, and global positioning systems (GPS) should all combine into a singular source of truth.
With a solid, real-time visibility system, you can get a clearer picture of delays, faulty procedures, exceptions, cargo mishandling, and more. You can then shore up any weak points in your supply chain as you find them.
Types of Freight Visibility
Two modes of transportation take center stage in the logistics industry—ships and trucks. Using a forwarder has become increasingly popular because it reduces points of contact (POC) and changes to a single bill of lading. The goal for shippers is to reduce their paperwork, improve communication, and enable a more orchestrated journey for the cargo.
There are many opportunities for APIs to increase freight visibility. Here are some examples of points where a freight visibility program is needed:
- Track and Trace – Visibility occurs when data isn’t just collected on container location and traced, so the shipper, buyer, and other logistics players know where the goods are at any point in the supply chain. With the right trackers and software to contextualize the data, forwarders can avoid a manual track-and-trace process.
- Where’s My Cargo? – Buyers want to know where their goods are as they move. Increasing freight visibility in a way that updates the customer reduces response times and improves the kind of transparency that builds trust. A freight visibility program with automation can also eliminate the burden of uninformed customer questions that your customer service team typically deals with throughout the process.
- Port Congestion – With ports backloaded, gaining better visibility can play a crucial role in streamlining the process and understanding the holdups. At some point, freight tracking might even be used to help organize the ports and reduce congestion.
- In-Transit Visibility – As goods move, it’s important to keep an eye on them. If a container accidentally gets sent off course, you can find the “lost” goods in a matter of seconds—without waiting on a follow-up response from the carrier.
- ETA Information – Establishing more accurate expectations with the buyer is vital in building better business relationships. With a better freight visibility program, you will have precise data that helps you understand when carrier ETAs are inaccurate. ETA information can help freight forwarders and brokers reduce delays and detention fines.
Quick Summary of a Control Tower
A control tower is essentially what comes from an efficient freight tracking program. A central hub is established where data from various sources is siloed and configured into meaningful insights.
Without a control tower, logistics teams are left to compile and contextualize data manually. A lot of data goes unused if it isn’t compared to other relevant information. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have changed the game, making it possible to instantly organize, compare, and report information in ways that impact your team’s ability to succeed.
The right control tower provides end-to-end visibility across your supply chain with real-time actionable insights to support informed decision-making.
How APIs Aid in Creating a Control Tower
Accurate tracking has long been a problem for freight companies—especially when ocean freight is involved. Before now, container tracking wasn’t user-friendly, wasn’t real-time, and was restricted to large customers. Collecting data was a tedious and manual task that was impossible to do efficiently. As a result, customers were left mainly in the dark with an estimated ETA that might not be accurate.
Now, real-time container tracking with APIs automates the process. You can get accurate information without making calls or updating spreadsheets. This new tech reduces the errors often included in human data collection and integrates easily with your other systems to increase the resulting insights.
Logistics companies use APIs to get transportation data, inventory information, fulfillment updates, and end-to-end visibility. Purpose-built control towers gather raw data from various networks and inventory silos, using AI technology to provide critical insights. Using this critical, real-time information, you can anticipate potential vulnerabilities, spot valuable growth possibilities, and adapt quickly when disruptions occur.
Use VIZION API for Complete, Standardized, and Detailed Tracking Information
We can help you build a custom application for a control tower that increases visibility and clarity in your operations. Put a foundation in place that will support high-quality data collection and organization. Our end-to-end solutions will support better decision-making and growth for your logistics business.
Using our container tracking and API, you get 100% control over your data—making it easier to gain insights needed to adapt to a highly competitive industry.
Don’t get left behind by the competition. Get a control tower and integrate your systems to support better data management and insights. Talk to our team today and book a demo to get started.