When you think of freight visibility, what does that mean to you? Is it just about knowing where your freight is or when it will arrive at its final destination? Is it knowing that it was put on the truck and is on its way or is it knowing in real-time where that freight is throughout its entire journey from order placement through delivery? Or is it all of those things and more? The term freight visibility is changing as the industry adapts to the new reality – one that is driven by ecommerce and the Amazon Effect. But no matter what it means to your company, visibility is necessary for properly managing freight, labor, costs and customer service.
Getting the Visibility Your Company Needs
A recent study from the American Trucking Association found that 75% of shippers said freight visibility is a major concern in their supply chain. As such, companies are looking to software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions to provide this increased level of freight visibility.
The visibility that shippers and end customers demand can be achieved through implementing freight-pricing application programming interfaces (APIs). With an API aggregator platform, shippers or 3PLs can load shipments and get immediate rate quotes from their preferred carriers. Once they choose their carrier for each shipment, the carrier will immediately confirm and assign the shipment a PRO number. The shipper will then know that the load is booked and know when the carrier will be picking up the shipment.
With this order visibility, both parties get the peace of mind that the order was seen, confirmed and a truck is on the way. All of the associated documents are also attached to the order number in the API and accessible to all parties in the supply chain (as long as the information is shared via the company’s transportation management system). This level of visibility helps improve tracking, tendering, invoicing and freight bill auditing, which, in turn, creates numerous efficiencies for the shipper.
With APIs, the shipper and carrier are able to communicate and track the shipment throughout its journey. Drivers have the information they need, and dock or warehouse workers know when the shipment will arrive. This visibility also allows companies to adjust labor and schedule their dock deliveries with greater accuracy, resulting in efficiencies for the truck as well as the warehouse.
The Benefits of Better Freight Visibility
With increased visibility into freight, companies gain access to more data and are able to use that information to improve their decision-making, which results in building better relationships with carriers and customers.
Shippers and 3PLs are able to evaluate carrier and/or lane performance with the data aggregated through APIs. They can analyze past shipment data, including transit time, rates, lane performance, on-time deliveries, and trends by location or time of day, to identify areas of efficiency or where trouble or issues may be slowing their freight. This data will help improve freight management as well as customer service because they have more information to communicate in a timely fashion.
With the added visibility and the resulting data, organizations can make more informed and better based decisions on their inventory. They can analyze the data to look for trends versus making kneejerk decisions based on one-off issues, such as raw material shortages, production glitches, inclement weather or labor shortages. This understanding of trend versus short-term issues will help shippers mitigate disruption and allow them to communicate effectively with carriers and end-users.
Does Your Company Have Enough Visibility?
Real-time visibility is going to prove vital for companies that want to continue to grow and better serve their customers. Companies will need to ensure their clients that they can track freight accurately from order through delivery. To do that, companies will need to automate their processes and trust in technology. Volume-pricing APIs will provide the visibility needed to manage freight and inventory, improve decision-making and increase operational efficiencies.
Contact Banyan Technology for more information on how your company can gain better visibility through our API data connectivity platform or download our newest guide, "End-to-End Visibility: The Next Level of LTL Freight" by clicking the button below.