'Game-changer' gets thrown around a lot across various industries. Yet, in logistics, real-time visibility is proving to be just that… a game-changer. That's why it's one of the biggest talking points in the supply chain world. In fact, by the end of 2023, Gartner estimates that 50% of global, product-centric enterprises will have invested in real-time visibility platforms.
Real-time visibility provides a live, granular view of the entire supply chain processes, from production to delivery. It is opening the eyes of logistics and supply chain managers to new opportunities and areas of improvement. Such transparency enhances efficiency and responsiveness across supply chains. In turn, this helps logistics leaders optimize resource allocation, reduce delays, and minimize costs. One area of logistics where the power of real-time visibility is making a huge difference is ocean container shipping.
It's no secret that the ocean container shipping market has been hit hard in recent years. Several high-profile disasters (remember the 2022 Suez Canal incident?), a lack of containers, political tensions, and conflicts have all made for a volatile shipping environment. Now, more than ever, where timely decisions can make or break supply chains, real-time visibility - and, more specifically, ocean container tracking - is playing an important part in streamlining shipping operations worldwide. Let’s explore this further in this article.
Ocean Container Tracking: A Vital Asset in a Volatile Landscape
Ocean container tracking is a logistics practice that involves monitoring the location, status, and condition of shipping containers during maritime journeys. Using technology like GPS, RFID, or IoT sensors, tracking provides real-time information on a container's whereabouts, temperature, humidity, and other relevant data.
The ultimate purpose of tracking ocean containers is to improve the reliability, transparency, and responsiveness of international shipping, making sure that containers reach their destination safely and on time.
At a time when the world of shipping is witnessing constant upheaval, ocean container tracking is helping to tackle challenges like:
- Port congestion
- Vessel delays
- Unexpected events
With supply chain disruptions showing no signs of easing, when the going gets tough, real-time visibility steps up.
The Power of Real-Time Visibility
Real-time visibility isn't only for the 'big boys.' What makes it so powerful is that it's accessible to organizations of all sizes. After all, real-time visibility will only ever be as strong as its weakest link. If the ultimate purpose of ocean freight tracking is to improve international shipping as a whole, real-time visibility must be accessible to all.
That's why, in the arena of ocean container tracking, real-time visibility has become increasingly crucial in ensuring smooth operations for businesses of all sizes. But what gives real-time visibility its power?
The answer is high-value data. Actionable information helps organizations understand what's happening with their containers, anticipate any problems, and come up with a contingency plan to avoid any issues.
The best ocean container tracking platforms go to extreme lengths to monitor freight with up-to-the-minute information. For example, some tracking solutions use data feeds from terrestrial and satellite AIS, assisted by port and terminal geo-fencing. Simpler alternatives include tracking by a Master Bill of Lading or Container and Carrier Codes.
Data gathering continuously removes the guesswork from ocean container tracking, and real-time visibility is reshaping the tracking of ocean shipping containers. You can see the transformative results for the industry, including:
Enhanced Operational Efficiency through Real-Time Insights
Delays and disruptions are inevitable in ocean container shipping. However, a live overview of the supply chain means that stakeholders can identify potential problems and quickly adjust routes, schedules, and resources. Doing so helps to avoid bottlenecks, minimize delays, and optimize resources.
Plus, real-time awareness streamlines communication among different parties involved, fostering better collaboration and coordination. The ability to promptly respond to changing circumstances leads to a more agile and efficient ocean container shipping process.
Risk Mitigation and Optimized Decision-Making
Real-time visibility is a risk mitigation tool because it can continuously monitor the key factors associated with ocean container shipping, like location, environmental conditions, and security. These things can change in the blink of an eye.
However, timely access to accurate information empowers businesses to respond quickly to potential container threats. Better decisions can be made on the go, giving stakeholders more control over situations that have the potential to cause delays, disruption, or damage.
For too long, businesses have had no control over events that threaten their shipments or shipping schedules. Instead, they're often left to rue lost time, money, and customers. However, real-time visibility changes all that, giving organizations the opportunity to make decisions that result in better outcomes.
Improving Customer Experience and Service Quality
Nothing frustrates customers more than not knowing what's going on with their shipments. A lack of communication is something that people despise. That's why, according to a Sprout Social survey, 73% of people said they would pay more for shipping if total transparency is guaranteed.
What's more is that the same survey revealed that 90% of consumers would be willing to give a business another chance after a negative experience, if they have a track record of transparency.
What does this mean? The pressure is on organizations to monitor and ensure transparency across their supply chains effectively.
Thankfully, because real-time visibility boosts operational efficiency, reduces risk, and results in better decision-making, the customer experience is enhanced, and service quality improves. Ocean container tracking allows stakeholders to provide updates to customers regarding shipment status. Better still, customers can track cargo for themselves.
This level of transparency minimizes uncertainties, reduces anxiety, builds trust, and equips businesses to meet customer expectations more effectively.
Three Actionable Strategies for Smoother Maritime Operations
According to a McKinsey survey, real-time visibility is a top priority for 77% of businesses. Clearly, there's a real shift toward tracking every part of supply chain processes, which is changing the nature of logistics itself. And real-time visibility is just one actionable strategy organizations can implement for smoother maritime operations.
Use Real-Time Tracking Solutions
Real-time tracking solutions are the first step toward improving ocean container tracking. They're simple to implement and serve as a long-term investment that improves supply chains beyond recognition.
Plus, real-time tracking solutions can integrate with your existing logistics and supply chain management systems. Doing so ensures seamless data flow and allows for centralized monitoring.
Advanced tracking technologies and systems offer real-time insights into vessel positions, container status, and port conditions. Having this information readily available enables an immediate response to potential problems. It allows for better planning to avoid delays and bottlenecks.
Based on real-time data, it's possible to regularly review the performance of ocean container shipping processes, identify areas of improvement, and implement changes to optimize efficiency continually.
Enhance Communication and Collaboration
According to an Interos Resilience Report, 75% of companies said that they need to improve information sharing and collaboration with internal partners, while 81% said they need to do the same for external suppliers.
That means fostering strong communication channels among all stakeholders involved in maritime operations, including shippers, carriers, ports, and customs, is key to strengthening ocean container shipping processes.
Ultimately, streamlined communication ensures everyone is on the same page, reducing misunderstandings and operational hiccups.
Enhancing communication should not be restricted to internal and external partners either, it should be extended to customers.
Invest in Predictive Analytics
Predictive analytics is like looking into the future, empowering organizations to forecast future trends and outcomes based on historical and real-time data. It all serves to enhance route optimization, minimize delays, and improve overall supply chain efficiency, responsiveness, and resiliency.
By analyzing various factors such as weather patterns, port congestion, and equipment availability, predictive analytics anticipates potential disruptions. It also helps in proactive decision-making, mitigating disruptions, and optimizing fuel consumption.
Real-Time Visibility Powering the Future of Logistics
It's hard to ignore the power of real-time visibility, especially in the context of ocean container tracking. With more than 80% of all goods carried by sea, keeping track of containers is a must. That's why all the evidence points to real-time visibility being a top priority for many organizations. Plus, it's a hot topic across the wider world of logistics.
The conversation around real-time visibility isn't going away any time soon. It's shaping the future of logistics, offering a resolution for a container-load of shipping challenges, and transforming international trade as a whole.
There's never been a better time to invest in real-time visibility. With that in mind, VIZION's industry-leading real-time API overview solution allows for complete supply chain transparency, equipping organizations to optimize shipping processes, improve communication and collaboration among stakeholders, and enhance the customer experience.