Adopting and developing technology or software is not an easy thing, especially for companies in the supply chain and logistics space. Most visibility solutions in the market might only be priced for enterprise customers or have deployment timelines measured in quarters. So how do small logistics shops or small supply chain teams in larger organizations benefit from improved technology? Luckily, there are options, and they may be easier to implement than you might think. Get stood up with better visibility in a weekend, not next quarter's end. The no-code, low-code revolution is here to help.
The concept behind this post is to demonstrate how to use no-code automation platforms to connect tools and services you may already be using to populate and track your ocean freight automatically. For instance, we hear from many prospective customers that they have operations or support teams that manually call, email, or visit the websites of ocean carriers, port terminals, rail carriers, and drayage companies. They do this just to collect information on where their containerized shipment is and when it will arrive. This info is then added to a spreadsheet and emailed around to update the necessary parties.
Using no-code automation platforms and services like Vizion you can instead turn this tedious data collection process into automation that is as simple as placing an ocean container number in the cell of a spreadsheet. Behind the scenes a no-code platform will automatically speak to Vizion to track your container. Vizion will monitor and push updates to the no-code platform. Then that platform can populate a shared online spreadsheet with new rows for each container status event, send emails when specific events are reached, and even send text messages when an exception has occurred.
What Is No-Code Automation?
According to Wikipedia, no-code solutions allow non-programmers to create application software through graphical user interfaces and configuration instead of traditional computer programming. This means you can use a snazzy web app to pull together the data you need, transform the data, and push data or trigger events in other applications or solutions such as online spreadsheets, emails, SMS messages, or apps like CRMs.
There are quite a few no-code automation platforms available on the web for free or at a reasonable subscription price. Here are a few of the leading no-code automation platforms.
Setting Up Your No-Code Solution
Getting started with the setup of your no-code ocean visibility solution should take about 15 mins. This article will focus on using Zapier to populate a Google Sheet for a new ocean container status update from VIZION. You can also quickly adapt this automation to populate an Airtable, send an email, or send SMS messages with Zapier.
How It Works
- Create a Google Sheet or new Airtable that includes the container numbers and carrier name you want to track.
- When you add a new row with a container and carrier name, Zapier will post that information to VIZION to begin tracking the container. Included will be a Zapier webhook URL.
- When new status updates are available, Vizion will send the new data to the Zapier webhook URL.
- Zapier will then parse the information into the Google Sheet or Airtable into the columns you define. Each new row will be a status event.
- You can then easily filter the sheet or Airtable to show just the container you are looking for.
- Zapier: New Google Spreadsheet Row Trigger
- Zapier: POST request as a form or JSON
- Zapier: Catch Hook to listen for Vizion posting a tracking update
- Zapier: Use formatter to parse the data sent by Vizion
- Zapier: Create a new row in the Google Sheet for each milestone status event
We have seen customers set up No-Code automation in less than two hours of work with NO CODING REQUIRED. That is right. If you can work with spreadsheets and follow instructions, you can have ocean visibility data flowing into your preferred app or format with an afternoon of effort. No longer do you need to wait weeks or months for heavy onboarding solutions. Get work done today and get back to what is essential.
Need A Hand?
Maybe you don't have the time or need a little bit of support to get your No-Code solution rolling. Even if you are a whiz, you will still need a VIZION API key to get started. Either way, the VIZION Success Team is here to help. Just reach out, and we'd be happy to answer any questions to get you set up quickly.