The ability to track an item as it travels throughout the world in real-time is becoming increasingly accessible with the proliferation of faster and more reliable connectivity, cost-effective IoT devices and more compatible systems and software platforms. However the accuracy and reliability of such tracking depends heavily on the quality of the data captured and on how well carriers are onboarded.
The biggest selling point of a real-time transportation visibility (RTTV) platform is its ability to capture real-time data and present it in meaningful ways to partners throughout the supply chain. The difference between ‘satisfactory’ and ‘great’ performance of RTTV solutions largely comes down to how much they focus on quality when obtaining data and the methods they use to do this.
The quality of the data captured is influenced by several factors, including GPS signal, the nature of the location tracking technologies being used, and frequency of data collection. However, one of the key influences of overall data quality is consistent data flow into the platform from carriers. Inconsistent data means gaps in overall visibility.
When evaluating the fit of a RTTV solution for a visibility project, it’s important to investigate how a vendor defines ‘making an integration’. This terminology can mean different things to different people.
For some it may be purely creating a technical integration, without the full onboarding to encourage consistent and widespread adoption of the tools and new processes. The difference in definition here will have a flow on effect on project timelines and agreed SLAs. To ensure high-quality data is captured, robust integrations are needed, using high- quality, effective onboarding techniques.
Shippeo ensures each visibility implementation project is matched with the required onboarding approach, to ensure the optimal balance between quality and speed. Several Shippeo teams are involved in providing this service, which includes training, ongoing support and seeking feedback via surveys.
The focus is on building genuine relationships with carriers. Shippeo believes a visibility provider should offer more than ‘customer support’ as part of their onboarding service to carriers. A rigorous approach to carrier onboarding is key to your project’s success.
There is much more involved than simply creating a technical connection. Failure to take a rigorous approach could result in additional future costs incurred.
For example, some of the common causes of low tracking rates once a RTTV project goes live (see the top three reasons in the illustration below) suggest inadequate onboarding is to blame. Quality-focused carrier onboarding reduces low tracking rates. With appropriate training and change management, around 70% of no-tracking events could be avoided.
Collecting real-time data on transport location and activities relies on telematics devices installed in vehicles or mobile devices running tracking applications, such as Shippeo’s Driver mobile app. However, the data set collected will be richer when data is collected from a carrier’s transport management system (TMS). These systems contain more contextual data about transportation activities that enhance the accuracy and reliability of the insights and predictive ETAs determined by a RTTV solution.
Firstly, connecting to TMS helps to improve tracking rates, especially for large carriers, since most of their internal systems are already built around it, saving time and keeping things simple.
Secondly, if the visibility provider is relying on the carrier’s TMS, the data quality will always be more accurate, as carriers tend to run their daily operations directly via their TMS. These daily operations include, for example, the pairing of vehicles with their transportation orders, the advanced planning of milk runs and requirements for cross-docks without the need for a dispatcher to perform anything manually.
Finally, connecting directly to a carrier’s TMS also allows them to restrict accessto different levels of information, such as the positions of specific trucks in their fleet.
For these reasons, connecting to a carrier’s TMS will also benefit the carrier and creates a 3-way-win situation between shipper, carrier and visibility provider. This can lead to greater adherence, which is key to ensuring the overall success of implementing a real-time visibility project.
Find out more about other best practices for ensuring high-quality tracking data for your visibility project by getting in touch with our team of experts or discover more about the importance of tracking data quality in our white paper The business value of accurate and reliable ETAs.
Learn about how to overcome the challenges of integrating and onboarding carriers and why it’s crucial for visibility project ROI to overcome them.
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