The logistics industry continues to experience challenges and turbulence within its supply chains due to a range of interconnected market forces negatively affecting customer fulfillment. This is not news to anyone in the business, including Beneficial Cargo Owners (BCOs), who are the importers who take direct control of cargo entering the ports. These entities, who don’t rely on freight forwarders or 3PL providers, are also plagued by the same problems everyone else faces. The global pandemic gave impetus for many companies to look internally and find cost-effective means to help optimize their operations. In the past few years, the major disruptions we all witnessed forced business leaders to adopt technology solutions to survive the chaotic market forces and ensure their shipments were delivered on time. Obtaining supply chain visibility has become one of the most important goals for retailers, manufacturers, and logistics companies. So why haven’t most BCOs adopted end-to-end visibility? This article will explore some of the reasons why and offer some ideas that will show why adopting end-to-end visibility is a good idea.
Why are BCOs and Shippers Struggling with Visibility?
According to an industry research report by Drewry, more than 80% of BCOs lack full end-to-end tracking visibility on their ocean shipments. Here are some of the reasons companies have yet to take advantage of the available technology
1. Short on Time and Resources
BCOs and shippers are built differently, but they all share something in common: they are under constant pressure to keep up with customer demand. Part of the problem facing importers is that their logistics teams are too overwhelmed by customer fulfillment requirements. As a result, they simply do not have the time, energy, or resources to consider implementing new visibility APIs.
2. Reliance on Outdated Manual Processes
Company managers often respond to increased customer demand for ocean shipments with the traditional method of hiring more workers. Their tasks usually include spending countless hours manually processing day-to-day tracking requirements of ocean shipments. This routine usually involves calling and emailing carriers, updating customers about their shipments, and then entering data into an internal TMS or spreadsheets. Yet, these common stopgap strategies for covering current operational needs ultimately do not improve BCOs’ ability to gain real-time container tracking solutions.
3. Lack of Technology
For the overwhelming majority of BCOs who rely on manual data collection in their day-to-day routines, the information collected tends to remain siloed by individual employees and disorganized and inaccessible. As a result, it is harder for importers to collect, analyze, and process this information into usable reports that could determine the company’s quality of visibility. This data could help reduce inefficiencies and streamline processes to improve the company’s overall visibility.
4. Overall Costs to Adopt Change
Deteriorating shipping conditions in the ocean freight industry have propelled some industry leaders to use technologies to automate redundant processes. But the addition of software to support BCOs has an opportunity cost that includes the initial cost of obtaining the technology, and the time and effort needed to transform legacy processes. As the Drewry report suggests, “many BCOs struggle launching their visibility program as they face these internal complexities.” Importers, therefore, need to factor in the overall cost of change and consider the different types of supply chain visibility software and technology available.
The Right Partner Can Help Overcome the Barriers Preventing End-to-End Visibility
End-to-end visibility will be especially critical for BCOs and shippers when entering peak shipping season. If the supply chain disruptions that ocean shippers have experienced in the past few years are any indication, the next few months will likely be plagued by container shortages, tight truck capacity, higher costs, and transit delays. BCOs will benefit from partnering with VIZION API, a company that provides real-time tracking visibility for containerized freight. The customizable software automatically pushes notifications into your existing systems, eliminating the time spent on manual data entry. That data collected using VIZION allows shipping managers to gain true visibility over their supply chain while also providing companies with the most comprehensive collection of real-time port conditions around the globe. Sign up for a free demo of VIZION API today!