Container visibility is critical to supply chain planning and operations but, all too often, searching for location data or milestone updates leaves shippers with more questions than answers. Siloed sources from freight forwarders and ship lines may present conflicting information or, worse still, no information at all. Shippers and supply chain teams may spend hours making calls or sending emails trying to track down a single container carrying time-sensitive cargo, only to find out too late that it has been delayed somewhere in transit.
While fragmentation in the ocean freight industry presents numerous challenges to container visibility, automated container tracking technology may be the answer. Automation technology and API system integrations work in tandem to deliver reliable container updates with substantial benefits to shippers and supply chain stakeholders globally.
Automated Container Visibility Technology Centers around Data Quality & Access
Container visibility relies on complete transparency and access to fundamental datasets across the supply chain. Container visibility demands the collation of siloed data from shipping lines, freight forwarders, customs brokers, and more – but gaining access to complete, accurate information historically presented overwhelming challenges for supply chain teams and other stakeholders. Manual container tracking is inefficient, often failing to provide enough accurate updates to be meaningful or reliable.
Automation aims to close the gaps in container visibility by providing clean, consistent, trustworthy tracking data. Automation connects supply chain partners through deep API integrations, ensuring that manufacturers, BCOs, freight forwarders, logistics service providers, and digital solutions developers stay up to date every step of a container’s journey.
Automated Container Visibility Technology Should Support Extensive Configurations & Integrations
An effective automated container tracking technology solution should support extensive configurations and integrations. It should seamlessly connect supply chain stakeholders’ platforms via API with minimal disruption to existing workflows. Automation technology should push complete, standardized, and detailed container data into your software system of choice by tracking events across external platforms, including:
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platforms
- Transportation Management Systems (TMS)
- Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)
- Digital Freight Marketplaces
- Logistics Control Tower Solutions
Benefits of Automated Container Visibility Technology Integrations
Connecting automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning capabilities through API to every supply chain partner in a single, consolidated ecosystem offers numerous benefits:
- Standardized milestone events across all carriers. Automation eliminates confusion and conflicting container statuses by ensuring accurate updates get shared across the freight network.
- Reliable and differentiated delivery estimates. Real-time automated updates and artificial intelligence take the guesswork out of ETAs and deliver smart, reliable delivery estimates to supply chain teams.
- Better support for customers waiting on delivery. End-customers demand up-to-date information on when to expect their orders. Automated container visibility makes it easy to get customers updates they need when they need them – without searching through emails or online portals for accurate information.
- Fewer costs tracking down containers mid-shipment. Manual container tracking means valuable labor hours spent making calls, sending emails, or searching online for updates. Automation gives those hours back, so supply chain teams can focus on solving problems and improving customer relationships.
- Alerts for shipment exceptions and blockages with the ability to proactively address them. Manually identifying anomalies often means not catching a problem until it is too late. Automation identifies exceptions in real-time, allowing teams the opportunity to take action to minimize negative impacts on a company’s supply chain.
- Advanced analytics on supply chain performance. Automated container tracking continuously collects data and helps identify weak links in the supply chain. This gives companies the analytic insights to make informed supply chain planning and carrier selection decisions.
- End-to-end shipment tracking from container loading to final delivery. Automated integrations extend beyond port-to-port updates, so teams get complete visibility from when a shipment is loaded into a container to when it’s delivered at a final destination, and every step in between.
- Drives agile, resilient decision-making. Real-time, automated container updates give teams the ability to pivot when issues arise – establishing more flexible processes and more resilient supply chains.
- Reduces errors associated with manual data collection and sharing. Manual processes for container tracking require extensive ERP data entry from numerous non-standardized datasets – increasing the likelihood of human error that can have cascading effects on the downstream supply chain. Automation simplifies update collection and standardizes the data shared between parties, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
- Helps mitigate risks associated with customs, compliance, border regulations, unnecessary delays, and fines. When freight forwarders and customs brokers have accurate arrival information, they can be sure cargo falls within compliance and documents are filed on time, minimizing delays and excessive detention and demurrage fees.
Achieve Fully Integrated, Automated Container Visibility with VIZION
Today’s shippers cannot expect to achieve full visibility in their container network if they rely on manual tracking and data entry processes – there is too much fluctuation to navigate effectively. VIZION offers shippers and BCOs an easier way, with an advanced API that integrates with existing systems throughout the supply chain to deliver real-time updates and exception alerts. With VIZION, supply chain teams can stop wasting time tracking down data and instead focus on mitigating issues and providing world-class customer service. See the future of automated container tracking and visibility - book a demo with VIZION today.