Posted on September 14, 2018
With more shipping and delivery options available worldwide, the need to ensure customer satisfaction is utterly priceless (Mittal, 2016). It is important to realize this as fact as opposed to conjecture; modern research shows that as time goes on, every consumer and business entity expects more out of a delivery service (Leetaru, 2017; Wheatley, 2018).
Bearing this in mind, the question becomes how to offer value-added services to customers that present with some sort of measurable return, or at the least prevent some level of measurable loss due to unhappy customers.
While there are a number of ways to do this, one of the best ways that shipping partners are able to better offer an added value to any consumer is by providing up-to-date tracking, often called real-time tracking. In fact, many companies have begun to call “the ability to tracking packages in real time [as] essential… regarding the expected time of delivery” (Importance of real-time, 2016).
What is Real-Time Tracking?
Real-time tracking is an accurate reflection of the location of an item that is being moved through a supply chain, reported from either a data push or pull, based on a set time span (Ramachandran & Neelakrishnan, 2017). Simply put, based on a predetermined span of time, whether it be minutes, hours, or days, GPS data is uploaded to a server that allows for the customer to know where their item is, or was within the past update period. It should be obvious that, the more frequent the update period, the more accurate the shipment details become.
While it is important to understand what real-time tracking is, it is just as important to be able to identify the benefits of real-time tracking and what it can do for your organization.
Benefits of Real-time Tracking
There are a number of benefits to real-time tracking practices; while the obvious is that customers are coming to expect such information to be readily available, there are a number of other reasons that a logistics-based organization should begin to consider these options. These benefits revolve around different aspects of the supply chain business that relate to protection of cargo, increasing efficiency, increasing transparency, and improving overall customer satisfaction (Pontius, 2017
While a company uses real-time tracking services or options, the company is better able to define key problem points that may exist within their supply chain.
2. Identification of Delays.
As an example, if through live tracking the logistics company identifies that a leg through one given area always takes twice as long as any other leg of the same distance, the company would likely do well by working to reconfigure shipping routes to save time on the one specific area within transit wherever it is possible to do so.
3. Improved On-Time Performance.
The same logic that is identified that relates to delays can be applied to understanding times when deliveries are not achieved by their estimated or promised delivery date. If a company is able to identify a trend with one leg of a journey or a specific region that is a likely cause of delayed deliveries, then the company may be able to take steps to solve problems related to delayed deliveries. In fact, there are certain industries that report on-time performance increase by as much as 60% with 0real-time tracking services (Ramachandran & Neelakrishnan, 2017).
4. Reduction of Theft
While package theft can cannot likely be completely eliminated, real-time tracking allows a company to take several steps that will allow them to identify potential problems within the supply chain. Problems may be related to specific weak points that exist within supply chain security, and a company may also be able to identify specific items by package or item level that are more likely to disappear along certain routes, or in some cases with certain delivery or handling personnel (Pontius, 2017). While this might only seem to be a problem with small packages, there are times when entire pallets of valuable industrial goods do get stolen or lost in this manner.
Real-time tracking helps with all of this by identifying which time period an item went missing based upon its most recent scan data, identifying the time-frame in which the item went missing, thus narrowing the opportunity for the disappearance of goods, which may result in recovery of the goods or identification of problems areas to prevent further supply chain disruptions.
5. Increased Transparency
The need for increased transparency in all aspects of the supply chain has become critical ever since the ability to present this transparency has existed. The purpose behind presenting transparency is to identify that a company has nothing to hide based upon their operational integrity. In years past, a company could promise that an item had been moved along its supply lines and know it was still sitting in position waiting to get moved in an effort to place blame elsewhere.
The modern consumer expects full transparency related to when goods arrive at target points along the supply chain from the time an item is picked up to the time that it is delivered to the final destination.
6. Improved Customer Satisfaction
The previous points all identify one key element that is the overall target of providing up-to-the-minute tracking information; increasing customer satisfaction. Increasing customer satisfaction allows for a decrease in the number of customers that opt to work with a competitor, and thus increases the overall lifetime value of a customer. Ensuring full transparency, security of goods, and a commitment to timely delivery pleases the customer, which is the overall goal of any business, as pleased customers generate revenue, and often refer other business.
Allyn’s Cooperative Solution to Real-time Tracking
Allyn International is a well-established premium 4PL company, and Allyn has recently begun to offer real-time tracking services which offer excellent coverage, excellent accuracy, and excellent speed for real-time tracking.
The purpose behind this is to offer you, the customer, the best possible information as quickly as possible to increase your satisfaction and reduce losses associated with theft, delayed deliveries, and unsatisfied customers.
Real-time tracking is a premium service that ensures visibility. Allyn’s ALA software platform can execute tracking for all modes.
Accuracy is one of the key elements to the success of real-time tracking. The live-tracking system in use employs precise technology that is updated every 15 minutes, offering accuracy that is over 5x better than the average method that is utilized. Additional algorithms that are built in consider traffic, weather, and other predictive program features ensuring that there are fewer delays in the supply chain.
Most carriers have experience with multi-stop deliveries, which many know can be one of the largest problems for lost cargo, cargo theft, and delays in transit. This problem is mitigated by the development and application of geofencing within a predefined area surrounding a transition point, resulting in knowledge of when an item will arrive, and guaranteeing that goods are able to be loaded and moved on schedule.
Allyn has implemented a process that allows our partner carriers to get up and running with our software service in just a few weeks, as opposed to months that it may take with other systems. This ensures that the entire carrier network is quickly able to offer real-time tracking for your business. The software also quickly integrates with most major TMS software, ensuring reliability and ease of implementation in short order.
What This Means for Our Customers
Our customers will begin to have access to some of the best real-time tracking options that are available at no additional cost beyond our standard services. Our customers get not only a 4PL service that has access to a vast number of carriers and the expertise to select the one that is best suited for your needs, but our customers also receive the benefit of top-tier real-time tracking options, ensuring that there are fewer delays, fewer cargo losses, and increased transparency. All of these points lead to one key purpose; happy customers. Happy customers in turn result in improved business relationships, increased lifetime value, and a decrease in losses caused by errors.
While it is virtually impossible to eliminate any loss in the supply chain, presenting real-time tracking has been shown to significantly reduce these losses, and 4PL has been considered to the be best solution for the high-cost last mile challenge. With the combination of real-time tracking and a 4PL service, Allyn is now able to take steps to ensure that it can offer the best possible solutions for your business needs, ensuring timely delivery, appropriate revenue generation, and protection related to supply chain management.
Contributor: Matthew Dreckman
About Allyn International
Allyn International is dedicated to providing high quality, customer centric services and solutions for the global marketplace. Allyn's core products include transportation management, logistics sourcing, freight forwarding, supply chain consulting, tax management and global trade compliance. Allyn clients range from small local businesses to Fortune 500 firms. Allyn conducts business in more than 20 languages and has extensive experience in both developed and emerging markets. Highly trained experts are positioned throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. Allyn’s regional headquarters are strategically located in Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.A., Shanghai, P.R. China and Prague, Czech Republic. For more information, visit www.allynintl.com.
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