The value of knowing where your goods are and predicting their arrival

Nov 5, 2021
Supply Chain

Today, as consumers, we are spoiled. From ordering food to our door, a taxi, or any goods, we know exactly where and when these will arrive. There is no question about when it will be at our doorstep, or if we will be at home when the delivery comes, which is convenient. Looking at business today, many goods are being shipped, but we do not know where those large consignments are in transit and when they will arrive.

Bearing this in mind, we often see that it is not so common to have accurate, live tracking and visibility of large goods orders before hitting the shop floor. From our experiences as consumers, we have come to expect a similar experience in our business-to-business (B2B) environment. And there is a lot more at stake for the business than the consumer.

Visibility Now

Real-time visibility is just the first stop on the road to what we call predictive visibility This is all about using advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms to take real-time data and make hyper-accurate predictions on what will happen next; where goods will be, and when they will arrive. Accurate and reliable predictions allow companies to start automating processes and take advantage of more advanced data analysis. For example, if you know when a truck will arrive late at your warehouse; you can better plan team resources to increase efficiency. With these capabilities, supply chains evolve from being reactive to real-time, and then eventually to become predictive.

Future Market Trends

When we look at where the market is today, supply chain visibility initiatives are more of a reality now than they were ten years ago. In 2018, Gartner surveyed companies and found that many wanted to invest in visibility. Unsurprisingly, it confirmed that companies want to know what’s going to happen and that they want transparency on what’s happening already with their goods, across both inbound and outbound flows. In a similar vein, the predictive analytics unlocked by these capabilities offer inventory managers a better grip on stock levels, and of course, contribute to improved customer satisfaction, which is at the heart of any company’s objectives.

PWC surveyed product-based companies and found that they are increasingly investing in digital visibility and supply chain. They found that the majority of these digital champions generate an extra 8% digital turnover compared to the less digitally mature companies. They were also able to reduce their costs by 7%, proving that such investments offer a double advantage.

Investing in Innovation

There’s a lot to say about investing in supply chain visibility. Everyone knows that moving a supply chain cost center to an area of strategic importance and value for your company is a mindset that has shifted over the past ten years. Another survey from Gartner found that 50% of global product-centric enterprises will have invested in real-time transportation visibility platforms. So within two years, it would be anticipated that 50% of these product-centric companies will have a transportation visibility platform, which raises the question; which side will you belong to? The one that has invested or the one that needs to invest and has seen their competition gather momentum?

One of the companies that invested in RTTV not so long ago is Belgian company, Carrefour, a well-known retailer across Europe. 90% of its stores in Belgium are run by franchisees, which raised the question for them, “how can we always know where and when our deliveries are being delivered?” The worst thing that can happen to any retailer is empty shelves, so knowing when a truck will arrive is paramount for ensuring consistent and reliable deliveries and making sure that your franchise owners are content.

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With 850 stores, including express stores, Carrefour Belgium focused on three important KPIs to measure within their project with Shippeo. They wanted to ensure their franchises were happy and satisfied with the delivery service they were getting. They wanted to be able to track the difference in planned and actual delivery arrival times and lastly, they wanted to know how long trucks were spending on-site and how quickly they were able to depart. This is important, especially for stores that can only fit one truck at a time. This level of transparency allowed them to handle truck turnaround time better, preventing unnecessary wait times for other trucks at their delivery sites and making it possible for them to unload deliveries with unrivaled efficiency. As well as being a benefit for them, it, of course also benefits their carriers.

The other considerations for Carrefour included their distribution center operations, aligning their inbound and outbound flows. From here, it’s possible to align both sides to ensure efficiency and cost-saving. Giving Carrefour a complete view of its carriers’ movements with real-time visibility and having predictive ETAs became vital tools in their decision-making.

A Cloud-Based Solution

Anticipating the time between loading and unloading can affect a drivers’ ETA. One of the things that we’ve been doing at Shippeo is considering these types of details, to provide a reliable ETA solution for companies, regardless of industry.

The wide adoption and availability of new cloud computing and integration abilities has made achieving real-time visibility capabilities significantly more straightforward than before. Transitioning from an EDI to an API integration approach enables shippers, carriers, and other ecosystem partners to exchange rich data flow while offering more flexibility, lower costs, and full GDPR compliance. EDI over the years has been reliable, but quite cumbersome and costly to implement. In fact, only 8% of carriers today use EDI.  On the other hand, API integrations are faster and easier to deploy.

If we look towards the future of the market, data and artificial intelligence will continue to be foundational components driving the development of real-time visibility capabilities across supply chains. Improved operational visibility across the end-to-end supply chain, be it at stores, factories, distribution centers, or for goods in transit, knowing what is happening, and is going to happen, is the key to building resilience, keeping customers happy, and ultimately staying ahead of the competition. With real-time visibility, organizations lay the foundations for a future where predictive visibility and automation allow perfectly run transportation and logistics processes to become a reality.

If you share our vision for autonomous supply chains, join us on our journey towards automation. Chat to our team at Shippeo today and discover the role of visibility in the next generation of supply chains.

Dennis van Bodegom
Dennis van Bodegom
Director of Northern Europe
Dennis is the Director of Northern Europe at Shippeo, overseeing all business development and sales operations in Benelux and the Nordics. Dennis has more than 25 years of experience at enterprise software companies. Previous to joining Shippeo he was the Global Accounts Director at Infor, where he successfully closed deals with strategic accounts to help them accelerate their digital transformation.

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