In today’s hypercompetitive world, anything that gives you an advantage matters. Logistics is often hidden from your customers—until something goes wrong and items are on backorder or arrive late. But one of the things that can help you manage your logistical problems is real-time visibility, letting you and your partners know exactly where parts and products are at any given time. Knowing how real-time tracking in logistics improves competitive advantage is the first step. Implementing this capability then improves transparency and allows you to spot your logistical bottlenecks.
So, how does real-time freight tracking work, and what do you need to know about how real-time tracking in logistics improves competitive advantage?
How Does Real-Time Tracking Work?
Real-time tracking is very simple. Each item or product is tagged through a chain of custody and may have a GPS tracker affixed to it. GPS may also be used to track the location of vehicles; these systems also help drivers find the best route through traffic and weather issues. Items are signed out of the warehouse onto the truck and then signed in again at their next destination. These systems can track parts and finished products.
The tracking services provided by the USPS and couriers are also a form of real-time tracking. They allow customers to know where their package is and quickly see if it might have been misdirected or mislaid. People have become accustomed to this level of tracking.
Typically, these systems use barcodes and RFID chips to scan items in and out.
How Real-Time Tracking in Logistics Improves Competitive Advantage
All of this is useful, but how do logistics help provide a competitive advantage? What are the significant benefits of real-time visibility in your supply chain?
There are several ways real-time tracking can really help you serve your customers better than your competitors. They include:
1. Optimized routing to save time and fuel
Real-time tracking allows you to establish the best routes for your drivers to take, even down to knowing where not to go at certain times of the day. This saves driver time and can result in significant energy savings.
2. Reduction in loss of shipments and misplaced inventory
A good tracking system means that if something goes missing, you can pinpoint where in the process it was lost. This:
- Reduces loss and theft
- Increases the chances of discovering the missing item (say, tucked in the corner of the truck)
- Establishes where loss is likely to occur
3. Improved coordination with suppliers
By linking up your tracking networks, you can work with regular suppliers to increase efficiency, track routes, and optimize warehouse choice. This also ensures greater supply chain visibility and helps you analyze your entire supply chain.
4. Reduced supply chain vulnerability
Real-time tracking data allows you to spot and track shortages much faster, increasing agility and letting you know when to make orders from backup suppliers. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how vulnerable supply chains are, and sharing data is vital for reducing disruptions.
5. Optimizing deliveries to end-users to improve customer satisfaction and retention
Real-time tracking lets you be more accurate about when a shipment will arrive, reducing customer disappointment. It also lets you optimize delivery routes and schedules to help everyone get their product on time.
6. Predicting disruptions
When you can predict disruption, you can act to stop interruptions before they occur or plan for them. This might include switching providers or moving trucks to safer locations ahead of a predicted weather event.
7. Reduced shipping costs
You can pass these savings on to customers to improve retention (as well as improve your bottom line).
As you can see, the benefits of real-time tracking are very real. Once you know how real-time tracking in logistics improves competitive advantage, you can move forward with finding the right partners and systems.
How to Introduce Real-Time Tracking Into Your Logistics Systems
Establishing the infrastructure for real-time tracking can be a true challenge. Many companies, especially smaller ones, cannot afford the upfront investment. There are also a lot of moving parts, including coordination with contract services like Veltri Inc. and freelance drivers to get them onto the system.
For many companies, the answer is to partner with a logistics provider that can handle real-time tracking and everything else so you can focus on running your business effectively. By choosing a logistics partner like Veltri Logistics that uses quality real-time tracking systems, you can get all of these benefits, competitive advantages and more time to run your business. Contact us today to learn more about our services.