Here at Sixfold, we know that the impact of real-time supply chain visibility is continuing to grow. We also recognise that decreasing time to value is becoming an increasingly important factor for our customers - particularly in light of the many challenges that have been exasperated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Realising the ROI of real-time visibility is now essential for shippers and logistics service providers (LSPs).
This requires international networks of carriers that can be built seamlessly and efficiently, highlighting a need for quick and easy carrier onboarding. Shippers and LSPs know that carriers keep supply chains moving, but ensuring they are all connected in real-time has traditionally been hard to achieve due to the fragmentation and complexity involved.
Streamlining the carrier onboarding process as much as possible – while ensuring security and data protection – reduces friction and removes barriers related to the sharing of real-time visibility data. This, in turn, empowers shippers and LSPs to optimise their operations using the data-driven insights that the network provides.
Smooth and simple onboarding
Businesses should take their lead from the consumer world to simplify processes and improve the user experience through functionality such as one-click integration and automatic authentication. A ‘login with Google’ or ‘login with Facebook’ approach where most of the setup and authentication processes are automatically completed in the background is what people are used to in their personal lives, so should be replicated where possible in B2B environments.
This removes the need for time-consuming email exchanges explaining what needs to be done and ensures that support requests regarding invalid user settings become a thing of the past. Not only does this foster positive relationships from day one, it also helps to cut costs for everyone involved and facilitates change across the network.
User-friendly one-click solutions mean onboarding can be completed in just a few minutes, without the hassle that has traditionally accompanied B2B systems. Being able to onboard carriers in the easiest way possible lets them focus on delivering goods quickly and safely, as well as helping businesses keep up with today’s fast-moving and increasingly complex logistics industry.
One thing COVID-19 has clearly demonstrated is the importance of supply chain resilience. Not only can factors such as regional government restrictions and consumer demands change rapidly during periods of disruption, but they are also virtually impossible to predict or plan for. Businesses therefore must have the flexibility to be able to adapt to these changes as they appear
This flexibility is heavily dependent on an organisation’s ability to see exactly what’s happening across their entire operations, which is where real-time visibility takes centre stage. Real-time visibility eliminates blind spots and enables businesses to identify issues – such as shipments delays, loss or damage – before they result in any more costly disruptions further down the line.
For example, government measures during Covid-19 included shutting down borders and thereby restricting the free movement of goods. This had a knock-on effect for logistics and supply chain operations, causing significantly longer border crossing times in many countries. This was a challenge faced by food and drink conglomerate Nestlé. But, by accessing real-time data insights into which trucks were running late or blocked at borders, it was able to identify where delays were coming from and react – such as by rerouting trucks – in a fast and informed way.
This shows how real-time operational insights are crucial for more robust, flexible and agile supply chains, giving businesses the tools to quickly adapt to change and handle challenging situations in the most effective way possible.
Driving value from RTV
For example, being able to keep customers updated with accurate information around where their order is, if there are any delays and when it is likely to arrive, can significantly increase customer satisfaction. This can be further enhanced through shorter waiting times and improved on-time delivery, as real-time insights can help identify and fix potential problems before they become more serious issues.
Efficiency across supply chain operations can also be enhanced, as having the location of carriers across the network available at the touch of a button eliminates the need for time and labour-intensive check calls. One of our customers in the oil and gas industry was able to reduce check calls by 50%. This frees employees up to focus on more important tasks, as well as enabling businesses to make data-driven decisions based on the comprehensive insights they collect.
Finally, operational and cost-efficiency can both be increased further by automating various processes based on the visibility information generated across the network. These could include automated ePODs and carrier quality reports, or the triggering of carrier payments following automated delivery notices.
Ultimately, time is of the essence for all supply chain and logistics businesses. Fast and efficient carrier onboarding - such as that provided through our Telematics Partner Program - is now vital to remaining competitive and enabling growth. By streamlining the onboarding process, shippers and LSPs can accelerate their ROI from real-time visibility and transform the way they and their carriers operate.