While there are many universal truths about shipping ocean freight, two are probably foremost in the minds of manufacturers and beneficial cargo owners (BCOs). First, the threat of disruptions is constant and never-ending. Second, nobody likes surprises. Which is why savvy manufacturers and BCOs leverage end-to-end container visibility to drive informed decision making. The sooner they know about a developing situation, the sooner they can take proactive steps to mitigate the impact or avoid it altogether.
Having real-time data and insights into the location and condition of shipments plays into a wide range of decisions manufacturers and BCOs must make. Without container visibility, they’re confronted with many challenges and are left to hope that things go according to plan. However, with container tracking technologies in place, informed decisions can be made confidently, at a moment’s notice, which will drive supply chain performance, help deepen business relationships, and improve customer satisfaction.
The Many Decisions Relying on Container Tracking Data
It is a vast understatement to say that BCOs and manufacturers have a lot of details to track. Yet the importance of doing so cannot be overstated. After all, the long-term success of any manufacturer or BCO lies in how well they respond under pressure. Real-time container visibility and tracking data helps guide their decision-making in many areas. Here are a few of the most common:
- Reacting to schedule changes – Delays are common amid the current market volatility. Adjusting to ensure there is enough staff on hand to accept cargo upon arrival is crucial.
- Understanding when blank sailings occur – If prearranged schedules cannot be met, skipping a port or two in the string might be the best option.
- How to deal with rolled cargo – Regardless of why or how it happened, there is paperwork to fill out, schedules to adjust, and communication with stakeholders is a must.
- Knowing when a shipment is coming into port – Having an accurate ETA is essential to arranging drayage services and avoiding demurrage and detention fees.
- Knowing when a shipment may be late – Nobody is going to be happy with this news, but communicating consistently with supply chain partners and customers — not only about what is happening but also what steps are being taken to mitigate the impact — will go a long way toward maintaining solid relationships.
- Dealing with port congestion – Greater transparency through container visibility will help alleviate low efficiency and time spent in port.
The Challenges of Making Decisions without Tracking Containers
If they don’t have real-time container visibility at their fingertips, BCOs and manufacturers often struggle to be decisive when disruptions occur. Any compromise of timing and synchronization can send wide-ranging ripple effects across the supply chain. For instance, multiple departments must work in unison to coordinate production cycles. Production lead times must shrink to meet the demands of e-commerce. Multiple suppliers’ goods must arrive in a coordinated fashion to maintain production schedules. Demurrage, detention, and costs associated with blank sailings must be reduced or eliminated as much as possible. Without container visibility, none of these are easily achieved, putting the company’s profitability and reputation at risk.
How Container Visibility Can Drive Better Decisions
With container visibility in place, BCOs and manufacturers can leverage real-time tracking data, analytics and insights from business intelligence (BI) tools to facilitate making impactful decisions with confidence. Here are some of the ways an end-to-end visibility solution helps make that happen:
- There is tremendous value in the data beyond just simply tracking the container. For example, rolling all the data together provides insight into performance metrics on all carriers, facilities and trade lanes within the supply chain network.
- Using API technology to track ocean freight from beginning to end is much faster than traditional EDI feeds from carriers, which don’t provide anywhere near the level of information that is needed.
- APIs gather and consolidate data from multiple systems, whereas EDI is limited to exchanging data in a one system-to-one system configuration.
- APIs can track both the ship’s progress and the location of containers, a level of transparency that improves strategic planning for arrival, unloading, and final delivery.
- A robust software platform used in conjunction with APIs can automate configurable event notifications and alerts, which can be invaluable in driving efficiency and controlling costs when it comes to exception management.
- Accurate historical data related to volume shipped, OTIF rates and other service metrics can be used to negotiate better rates with carriers.
- A solution that serves as a single source of truth for all parties ensures an effective communication path and that everyone sees the same data—which boosts confidence across the board.
- With access to container visibility, BCOs and manufacturers can increase the accuracy of production plans, reduce delivery lead times, and improve product availability.
Empowering BCOs & Manufacturers to Make Better, More Confident Decisions
VIZION is an innovative ocean tracking API, delivering usable, standardized, and reliable container updates from 98% of all global shipments. We partner with our customers to understand what information they need, how they need it delivered, and ensure that we give them the container visibility they need to make better decisions in the global supply chain. To learn more, book a demo of our ocean freight tracking API today.