How Transportation Process Automation™ (TPA™) is Paving the Way for a Real-Time Visibility Evolution

Jul 27, 2023
Supply Chain
Innovation
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Post-pandemic, there has been a significant surge in the adoption of supply chain and transportation visibility platforms. However, according to 83 percent of supply chain executives, the visibility solutions currently in place fail to deliver the desired outcomes.

The reasons behind this shortfall are numerous: inaccurate estimated time of arrivals (ETAs), limited coverage of multimodal transportation, lack of prescriptive capabilities, and insufficient workflow automation. In most cases, these issues stem from inadequate data quality and the realization that visibility alone is no longer sufficient in today's supply chain management landscape.

Several factors have contributed to the increasing demand for visibility solutions, including heightened customer expectations, regulatory requirements focusing on sustainability, and recurring disruptions. These disruptions have defined a new normal in the world of supply chains. From congested ports and container shortages to armed conflicts and extreme weather events, the list of disruptive factors affecting supply chains could fill multiple pages. Consequently, the demand for visibility across supply chains has soared.

Elevating the Levels of Visibility

The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a new era of supply chain visibility, marked by upheaval and disruptions. In times of uncertainty, a higher level of security has become imperative. Digitalization of supply chains experienced a remarkable leap, particularly in terms of visibility. The ability to track shipment locations and estimate their arrival times has become mission-critical. B2B customers now  enjoy an experience akin to that of the B2C world: they can monitor their shipments' progress and anticipate  arrival almost in real-time.  

Visibility solutions collect location information to calculate estimated time of arrival (ETA), which can be utilized in other applications such as Transportation Management Systems (TMS), Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), and Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP). This approach enables a certain degree of automation within individual systems. However, this is not enough to provide a seamless end-to-end experience. One of the main obstacles is latency, as these systems are often isolated and lack effective communication with each other. Additionally, communication lacks workflow-driven processes, leading to delays in decision-making. Furthermore, the results are merely descriptive, indicating where disruptions occur and their impact on shipment ETAs. This information often reaches stakeholders too late to implement actionable solutions.

Staying Ahead of the Curve with Transportation Process Automation™ (TPA™)

To stay ahead of the curve, a higher level of automation and prescriptive analytics with automated decision-making is required. To address this need, Shippeo recently introduced a groundbreaking set of technologies known as Transportation Process Automation™ (TPA™). TPA™ revolves around ecosystem orchestration, enabling real-time problem-solving, decision-making, and collaboration to achieve faster and more accurate resolutions. TPA™ facilitates post-mortem analysis and continuous learning to enhance future operations. By offering workflow management, automation, and prescriptive analytics, TPA™ replaces manual interventions and offline spreadsheets, providing organized steps to solve problems and execute transactions. High-quality data is crucial for  achieving this level of automation and providing prescriptive analytics. Shippeo, a leading real-time visibility platform, contributes its best-in-class data to TPA™, serving as the foundation for all applications and solutions derived from TPA™.


The Three-Level Architecture of TPA™

Transportation Process AutomationTM follows a three-level architecture, each with different capabilities to achieve specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

A "system of record" captures transactions and associated data, integrates with other systems, and makes data available to deliver business value. A "system of information" provides users and applications with transactional data in usable, visual, and analytic formats. A "system of engagement" consumes data from the system of information and solves problems through interactive workflows accompanied by automation.

Key Capabilities of TPA™

In addition to high-quality data, TPA™ leverages real-time shipment location and milestone data from Shippeo’s Multimodal Visibility Network™, as well as machine learning algorithms to automate processes and offer actionable recommendations. The main capabilities of TPA™ can be summarized as Sense, Respond, and Learn. The step prior to leveraging these capabilities is to connect, i.e. aggregate the necessary data on the Shippeo Multimodal Visibility Network. This is where the data resides. After this important step it is possible to get the most out of TPA™ and make use of the capabilities the best possible way.

Sense:

  • Identify disruptions such as delayed shipments, material shortages, labor shortages, adverse weather conditions, etc.
  • Analyze disruptions, calculate their impact, generate new ETAs, determine affected stakeholders, and assess delays and resulting penalty fees.

Respond:

  • Automatically communicate the impact to relevant stakeholders such as analysts, planners, and management via email, web portals, or apps.
  • Initiate collaboration sessions with upstream and downstream partners.
  • Decide on minimizing the impact of disruptions, either through automation or human intervention.
  • Resolve issues by selecting the appropriate decision.

Learn:

  • Update machine learning models and libraries.
  • Update network design models.
  • Conduct post-mortem analysis.
  • Discuss, collaborate, and decide on changes based on results and post-mortem analysis.

The Partner Ecosystem

To automate transportation processes and enable quick decision-making, an entire ecosystem of participants relying on high-quality data is necessary. Thus, Shippeo has collaborated with various partners who contribute their unique capabilities to TPA™.

  • Google brings external data sensing capabilities, including news, weather, and other events, as well as a robust machine learning infrastructure.
  • 4flow provides their expertise as a transportation planning expert and 4PL provider, optimizing supply chains.
  • E2open offers a supply chain management platform that helps organizations transform their production and shipping processes.
  • Snowflake consolidates data from disparate sources, structuring and organizing it to enable various analytics and enhance supply chain performance.
  • IBM Consulting contributes the knowledge needed to transform supply chains, making them more resilient, efficient, and sustainable.

Given that no single organization can provide all these capabilities alone, Shippeo has assembled a diverse group of partners from the supply chain ecosystem to enable TPA™.  

Shippeo's Transportation Process Automation™ represents a paradigm shift in supply chain visibility, integrating visibility with intelligent action. By offering collaborative workflows, automation, and prescriptive analytics, TPA™ enables convergence and empowers supply chains to overcome challenges. With TPA™, Shippeo leads the way in bridging the gap between visibility and action, providing the foundation for resilient and adaptive supply chains.

How Transportation Process Automation™ (TPA™) is Paving the Way for a Real-Time Visibility Evolution
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How Transportation Process Automation™ (TPA™) is Paving the Way for a Real-Time Visibility Evolution
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How Transportation Process Automation™ (TPA™) is Paving the Way for a Real-Time Visibility Evolution
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