If you don’t have visibility into your supply chain you could be (honestly, you are) losing money and wasting time. Article after article talks about the benefits of transportation visibility:
- Increases customer service & gets info to customers quicker
- Streamlines processes
- Uncovers opportunities for route optimization
- Knocks down silos between stakeholders
- Mitigates risk
- Gives better control over the cost of freight/saves money
What many of these articles don’t discuss, is how this is applied to and benefits the roles of multiple stakeholders within your organization. To generalize, and name just a few, C-level, logistics, accounting, purchasing, sales/project managers, and customer service all benefit from increased transportation visibility.
C-level execs benefit from transportation visibility. Visibility and big data gives execs the information necessary to evaluate and refine business performance, monitor internal compliance thus giving them more control over their supply chain.
With visibility, you can analyze historical data. Uncover the precursors to past hazards and implement exception management protocol to alert proper stakeholders when these situations have the possibility of arising again. This mitigates risk and reduces the need for excess inventory.
Visibility gives transportation and supply chain managers the ability to instantly compare rates and transit times as well as schedule and track shipments in a centralized location. Often times, the transportation manager is the sole repository for tracking data, however, they aren’t the only stakeholders who need access to this information. Giving other stakeholders visibility, allows them to track their own freight without having to get this information through the transportation manager.
Transportation visibility not only saves accounting personnel time, but it saves the company as a whole money. Visibility simplifies carrier invoice audit to a central location accessible at anytime. This freight bills are automatically audited eliminating the need for additional employees to manually audit these bills.
What about if your buyers are sales reps are estimating costs? Wouldn’t it be able to get an accurate quote and/or track these costs to ensure accurate P&L? (more info on this below)
This streamlines processes within both the receivables and payables departments resulting in tremendous savings.
Purchasing benefits from transportation visibility in many ways (and taking things a step further by controlling inbound freight can dramatically impact your bottom line).
- Integrations connect your ERP with your vendors to streamline PO release, tracking, and monitoring
- Vendor compliance can be monitored in real-time
- Ability to quote instantly quote freight costs and take this into consideration when evaluating vendors
- Visibility of all inbound freight leads to route optimization
Sales reps and project managers are constantly working freight costs into their estimates and proposals, but how do you/they know these costs are accurate? Furthermore, how do you know there were no changes in freight costs (accessorials, re-classes, re-weighs) after the estimate was given? Oftentimes, without visibility companies have no way to track these costs and their P&Ls end up inaccurate as a result.
Oftentimes, customers contact their sales reps for tracking info, which is not readily available to them (as most of this information resides in the brain of the transportation manager). If sales reps have access to this information through a portal, automatic email notificiations, and website tracking, they can relay this information to customers without skipping a beat.
Furthermore, oftentimes shipments are going to job sites and receivers need tracking information ASAP. Project managers can access tracking information in the same manners as sales reps: through a portal, email notifications, website tracking.
If your customers aren’t contacting your sales reps for tracking information, they are more than likely contacting your customer service. Again, tracking information is often only available through the transportation manager so your CSR will have to spend time contacting them (who might have to contact the carriers) to get this information back to the customer. It’s a huge waste of time and can be avoided through transportation visibility.