Tracking spot carrier shipments: The visibility gap that doesn’t have to be

Sep 27, 2021
Supply Chain
Innovation

Shippers, carriers and logistics service providers are increasingly aware of the benefits of real-time transport and supply chain visibility, with many organizations having already invested, or initiated projects to invest, in visibility solutions. In fact, Gartner predicts that “by 2023, 50% of global product-centric enterprises will have invested in real-time transportation visibility platforms.”

The benefits of visibility and shipment tracking seem obvious, and there are many. Increased cost efficiency and productivity through more streamlined operations, not to mention boosted service levels and NPS scores achieved by a superior customer experience, are making visibility an important supply chain capability.

With over 70% of freight shipments made in North America, Europe and China relying on road transportation, real-time visibility tracking projects tend to begin by addressing this segment. Tracking road transportation is complex, relying heavily on a broad network of carriers and a wide range of tracking technologies and approaches to ensure a high level of tracking is met.

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One of the challenges in tracking trucks is connecting with spot carriers. Generally speaking, shippers and logistics service providers (LSPs) can onboard and integrate with the systems of their owned and/or carrier fleets fairly easily, using a combination of telematics devices and TMS integration. However, the reality facing many transport operations is that from time to time carriers or LSPs are hit with an urgent order that requires the use of subcontractors.

If the subcontractor’s vehicle isn’t already connected with the visibility platform that the shipper, carrier or logistics service provider is already using, then there can be no real-time tracking of the shipment. Fortunately, Shippeo’s real-time visibility platform is flexible enough to accommodate tracking transport even when it’s organized at the last minute. So how does it work?

In addition to integrating trucks using telematics and TMS integrations for more automated tracking, Shippeo offers a mobile application called Shippeo Driver, which subcontractors can download on their phone and connect to Shippeo’s tracking network in seconds. The app uses GPS and mobile connectivity to continuously provide location positions, events and status to the 3PL, without having created any connection in advance.

The carrier or 3PL can simply create an urgent order in their system and assign it to a spot carrier account. Once the spot carrier’s driver downloads the application, they can choose to login either with a username and password supplied by the spot carrier, or by creating their own in just a few taps. They simply enter the ‘Tour ID’ and tracking begins. This is how easy it is to gain visibility of urgent orders. This flexibility is really important to 3PLs and carriers.

3PLs also like the fact that even though the shipper or 4PL will be able to track their shipment, they won’t have any idea that a spot carrier is being used. To the shipper or 4PL, there is no difference in what they can see whether a 3PL or carrier chooses to use a one-off spot charter or their regular fleet.

You can read more about Shippeo’s unique approach to integrating with and onboarding carriers, and why it’s so important to partner with the right provider for this phase of implementation, download a copy of our visibility guide or get in touch with one of our experts.

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