Consumers have become spoiled by technology. While it was once necessary to wait for weeks for packages to arrive, services like Amazon Prime have goods in the hands of customers in two days’ time – sometimes less. Of course, shipping delays are always a possibility (Mother Nature is unpredictable, after all), but even in those cases, consumers have access to near real-time data about the location of their packages. They can even sign up for alerts to let them know when a shipment they’ve been expecting won’t be arriving on time. Shipment tracking enables consumers to know the location of a package from the moment of shipment to the moment it lands on their doorstep.
But it’s not just consumers who benefit from knowing where orders are in real time (or near real-time); the logistics industry as a whole is reaping tremendous benefits from real-time tracking data in the supply chain. Real-time, accurate data informs shipping, receiving and the supply chain at large for better performance, which translates to greater transparency and stronger relationships between suppliers and buyers, better service for end consumers and increased customer satisfaction.
Here are a few compelling reasons your business should implement real-time tracking:
Identifies and mitigates delays
Spoiled end consumers mean that delays in the supply chain can have a tremendous impact on customer satisfaction. Real-time tracking enables vendors, suppliers and logistics organizations to pinpoint delays (or potential delays) and take proactive action to mitigate these challenges for consistent service and seamless delivery, often without end consumers ever realizing what goes on behind the scenes.
Offers greater transparency
Today’s consumers demand not only prompt service but also transparency. Not knowing where ordered goods are or when they might make it to their doorsteps, once the norm, is now a frustration for buyers. Real-time tracking adds transparency by arming buyers with information and alerts on when items are shipped, estimated delivery dates, current location and notifications of delays.
Reduces loss and theft
The use of asset tags with unique item identifiers can aid organizations in tracking movable assets, materials and products through the supply chain on a piece-by-piece basis, which can serve as a theft prevention tool as well as offer insights into specific points through the supply chain where items are lost. Patterns can indicate weak points in supply chain security, enabling organizations to incorporate more robust security measures or re-structure logistics to prevent future loss.
Gains insights into supply chain inefficiencies
Real-time tracking also arms businesses with insights that aid in identifying inefficiencies within the supply chain. Is a particular raw materials vendor holding up replenishment? Is a logistics provider causing unnecessary delays in shipping and receiving? These insights allow organizations to mitigate inefficiencies by pinpointing the source of supply chain problems. Not all inefficiencies are complex to solve, either. For instance, adjusting order frequency or securing new suppliers can easily resolve the problem of stalled business processes due to repeated delays in receiving raw materials.
So how can you leverage real-time tracking?
Implementing asset tracking is a valuable step for any business, regardless of the volume of fixed or movable assets your company manages. While the evaluation and initial configuration of an asset management system can be complex, you’re laying a foundation that will provide insights to boost the bottom line for years to come.
Here are some tips to do so:
- Evaluate and classify your assets. Tracking both movable and certain types of fixed assets is a sound practice for many organizations.
- Consult with partners, vendors and suppliers to learn about their asset management processes and standards. Doing so will enable you to choose compatible solutions for the systematic and seamless sharing of data through the supply chain.
- Implement an asset tracking system that provides a unique identifier for individual items, containers, pallets or shelves. There’s no single best asset tracking system across the board; organizations have unique applications and specifications often requiring a custom configuration to adequately and accurately track the right assets.
- Choose an asset management software application compatible with your tracking system. Software applications that come with compatible mobile apps foster mobility and make data readily available both in the office and in the field.
Thanks to the availability of asset tracking and real-time insights, the supply chain is no longer a sea of “in-transit” mystery. Companies that make use of real-time data can improve processes, boost efficiency and provide greater transparency to partners, vendors, suppliers and end consumers, resulting in strengthened partnerships, greater trust and customer loyalty. Real-time tracking provides key insights for continuous improvement that translates directly to ROI.