When an organization chooses a new logistics visibility platform or software solution, the process starts with analyzing its needs—what problem they are looking to solve, what functionality the solution must have, who will be using it, and how will it be used. Each of these questions leads the organization to a better understanding of what they’re looking for, for them to begin researching a short list of possible solutions. From there, they can closely evaluate each option. Even with the many types of logistics visibility software, a few key questions can summarize the evaluation process and what organizations should look for to get a solution that fits their needs.
What is a Logistics Visibility Platform or Software?
Logistics visibility keeps shippers informed on the current status of certain operations and analysis of past operations, for example, where freight is in transport and other key pieces of information that the rest of the supply chain depends on. The logistics visibility platform should be shippers’ source of truth. It collects, organizes, and analyzes data, ensuring it is in a usable form that is clean and standardized so the correct action can be taken.
Types of Logistics Visibility Software, Platforms, or Solutions
Within each area of supply chain operations, there is the opportunity for a visibility solution to help make the data and analysis more accessible. Here are a few types of logistics visibility software.
- In-Transit, Transportation, or Freight Visibility – Transportation visibility relates to answering the question, “Where is my freight?” both in terms of status and location en route to the destination. Solutions can cover any mode of transportation—road, air, rail, and ocean freight.
- Process Visibility – Visibility into logistics processes is similar to having a TMS or freight management system give an overview of all activity. This provides insight into the workflows, automation, and decision-making processes that guide operations every day.
- Logistics Invoicing & Accounting Visibility – Freight audit and payment services give shippers transparency to ensure they are not making errors and overspending on their shipments compared to the agreements they made with providers.
- Carbon Emissions Visibility – An increasingly important visibility to have, CO2 visibility, like what is provided by Searoutes, lets companies see where they can make improvements to be more sustainable and decrease their carbon emissions.
- Supply Chain Visibility – SCV includes a wide range of functionality—tracking containers, transportation, cargo conditions, rates, booking and container allocation, auditing, and carbon emissions.
What are the Challenges in Logistics Visibility?
Increasingly, logistics management requires visibility—it is becoming table stakes to compete effectively. Organizations with or without technology investment in this area can encounter problems if they are not addressing some of the biggest challenges to logistics visibility, including:
- Sharing data between manual and automated operations.
- Collecting and managing data, which are often time- and resource-intensive tasks.
- Getting clean data from which companies can draw actionable insight.
- Communicating with supply chain partners to receive standardized data.
These drive the questions that must be asked when evaluating a new solution.
What Features to Look For
Here are four features to consider when searching for a logistics visibility platform.
First, the solution should give sufficient visibility to meet the needs of the company. Some visibility solutions only provide a few sparse points of visibility, but a platform that goes both wide and deep can provide end-to-end visibility with more specificity than other solutions. When evaluating a visibility platform, it’s important to clearly understand the scope of what is covered.
The API-first approach to technology is how companies can be sure the core functionality is the center of their applications. Otherwise, when accessing data and transferring it from the source to where it is used, the API could be limited by the structure of the surrounding application. The API-first approach allows users the most adaptability and flexibility while maintaining a consistent, high-performing functionality.
Data quality & accessibility
Quality data is essential to any solution as the foundation for informed decision-making. Data needs to be accurate, precise, and accessible for it to be useable, and the logistics visibility platform must be able to back up its claims with how its sources deliver quality data.
No-code track and trace option
With a no-code option, shippers can get the same track-and-trace capabilities without integrating with another platform. This allows the opportunity to continue operating without dependence on outside solutions, simplifying the onboarding process and making it possible to get fully set up in under 60 minutes.
Get Complete Container Visibility with VIZION
With the various options of logistics visibility software, it’s important to choose one with the coverage, flexibility, and accessibility to adapt to new demands and handle changing visibility needs, both as the industry evolves and your company grows. VIZION provides this level of visibility coverage with real-time location and status tracking for ocean container shipments for shippers to count on to support improvements to their operations. For more information on VIZION, contact us to schedule a demo.