Ocean shipping accounts for an incredible 80% of all globalized trade, and in the past ten years, the volume of containerized shipments has more than doubled to over 10,000,000,000 tons per year. Each time a container gets shipped, it leaves a data trail. The customers, freight forwarders, BCOs, and transportation providers communicate their rate quotes, tracking events, vessel information, port terminal conditions, and hopefully, the proof of delivery confirmation. But where does all this data usually end up? For the vast majority of ocean shippers, the datasets are typically scattered between various non-integrated systems, such as bloated email servers, desktop folders, Excel spreadsheets, and ancient standalone TMS platforms released back during the Reagan administration.
Siloed data rarely gets collected, processed, or shared, rendering it impossible for ocean shippers to gain any actionable insights. Segmented and trapped data also makes it difficult for shipping managers to identify internal inefficiencies within their operations. Siloed data severely limits a company’s visibility over its supply chains and prevents leadership teams from gaining valuable information about their company’s infrastructure and overall performance.
Maybe you’re lucky, though, and have a team of data analytics specialists at your disposal who get paid to comb through large caches of siloed data. While their efforts to produce reports should be commendable and even praiseworthy, it begs the question: Is the juice worth the squeeze? The amount of time and effort spent manually tabulating information from a wide range of datasets located across a vast network of users might not add significant value to a company’s overall ROI at the end of the year. So, what are ocean shippers doing with their siloed data? Not much of anything, really. Yet the reality is that improving visibility remains one of the top priorities throughout the maritime freight industry. This article explores some of the ways ocean shippers can use automation to their advantage and help optimize their entire supply chains.
1. Real Data Integration
Ocean visibility data that is siloed can be difficult for companies to access. It can also be more challenging to process into actionable analytics that could ultimately benefit an organization as a whole. Siloed data prevents collaboration across departments, making it harder for logistics coordinators to share information that might be helpful to other team members. An example might be if a drayage carrier with ample capacity offers a competitive rate for a port-to-door load picking up at the port of Houston. If the data remains siloed in an email and isn’t shared with other colleagues and stakeholders, team members might settle on a more expensive option. API services offer ocean shippers the ability to integrate all their data into a single customizable source of truth platform that provides them true visibility into their supply chain operations.
2. Automate Manual Processes
Ocean shipping companies that have yet to adopt technologies to support their operations rely on manual data entry as a core part of their business model. Logistics coordinators must spend the majority of their time emailing and calling their providers and customers for tracking updates and manually recording that data into internal systems. A fully automated and customizable API helps ocean shippers alleviate the mind-numbing labor required with manual tracking. It gives shipping managers access to real-time tracking visibility on all of their shipments.
3. Gain Access to the Latest Port Data
As shippers prepare to enter peak shipping season, they should anticipate potential supply chain disruptions that have become so commonplace in the past few years. APIs and data services also provide ocean shippers with industry-leading data on the maritime industry, as well as up-to-the-minute statistical information on current port conditions and ship dwell time. This vital resource gives companies visibility to anticipate problems and plan ahead to avoid delays.
4. Use your Data to Improve Customer Satisfaction
Shipping managers who gain true visibility over their shipping data can run in-depth reports and analyses of their operational performance. Visibility APIs help companies track and improve their KPIs by providing a digital platform to check key performance metrics of their supply chain. This data could be used to lower freight costs and port waiting time, reduce port-to-door transit times, and improve customer satisfaction.
Unlock the Potential of your Siloed Data with VIZION API
A wealth of information at your company is currently sitting in inaccessible and disorganized data silos. The step necessary for gaining visibility over your ocean shipping and entire supply chain starts with VIZION API, the industry leader in providing the maritime industry with real-time tracking solutions for every containerized shipment. VIZION’s API technology integrates your data automatically, creating a vast archive of information that will help optimize your business. VIZION API is customizable to fit the unique contours of your current operations. To learn more about how VIZION API is helping ocean shippers with their data, contact us today!