Today, supply chains are vast, complex and dynamic –keeping track of your products at all can be a challenge, let alone doing so in real time. But that’s about to change, and just in time. Recent periods of disruption have highlighted just how important it is to know what’s going on with your stock so you can make the right decisions, whether that’s port selection, mode choice or warehouse capacity planning.

To understand how real time visibility in logistics is finally becoming a reality, we recently spoke to Krenar Komoni, CEO of Zencargo partner Tive on our podcast Freight to the Point.  Tive is a company that provides real time logistics visibility by using real-time sensors to provide critical shipment location and condition data, helping improve efficiency and reduce costs by providing them with real-time visibility into their supply chain.

Here we explore how technology is finally making real time control a reality and what that means for shippers.

The changing face of real time visibility

We see supply chain visibility as the capacity to track every step of your supply chain – from raw materials to order, manufacturing and transport all the way to the customer. This requires collecting data points from all over your supply chain ecosystem, including internal order and inventory data, manufacturing updates, transport progress and warehouse information.

However, making that real-time has long been a challenge – getting the data can require extensive manual work, meaning that by the time all the information is collected, it’s already out of date.

The fast-evolution of technology, however, has completely changed the calculus of tracking, sourcing and using data. Specifically, the cost of data transfer has decreased, along with the cost of chips and transistors. This changes the unit economics of tracking to make it a no-brainer for shippers.

‘[Tive] can add a GPS tracker that’s even single-use, at a cost of $50 for a customer, depending on which one they’re buying. And that’s very cost-effective. If you think of shipping containers that are $100, $200, $300,000 worth of goods in there, it costs $10,000 to move a container, $40, $50 bucks is not a lot.’ explains Kremar.

This opens up a world of choice for shippers – one that could soon be the source of genuine competitive advantage.

The real time advantage

The ability to deploy GPS and insight generating devices like those from Tive has a chance to dramatically change what’s possible for shippers – rebalancing visibility and control within the logistics industry.

‘When you put this on every single shipment, you track your own cargo and you have 100% visibility of where your cargo is, independent of truck drivers, independent of motor transportation, independent of geography.’ explains Kremar. Without having to rely on carriers or drivers for updates, shippers can unlock the ‘black box’ of supply chain to see what’s happening at every stage:

  • In depth SLA management with carriers and partners on what moves when
  • Improved precision of just-in-time models to minimise unnecessary stock holding
  • More efficient staffing of factories and warehousing according to inbound volumes
  • Real-time agility and decision making in the event of disruption
  • Reliable emissions calculation and tracking for sustainability

Together, these can reduce end-to-end costs, improve working capital management and more profitable inventory management.

Connecting your supply chain data

Sourcing the data is just the first step. The more important decision is what shippers then do with it – especially when it comes to combining it with other sources. Those using a cloud logistics solution, such as Zencargo’s supply chain platform, can feed this information into other systems to drive results across the whole supply chain. This could include:

  • Managing vehicles and deliveries through a a transportation management system
  • Tracking inventory in the ERP platform
  • Planning capacity in a warehouse management system
  • Tracking supplier performance through financial and business planning systems

The future of real time data

The next generation of supply chains will be run on connected, reliable, real time data. Businesses that can implement these systems will have the chance to outperform competitors at every stage and in a way that makes a tangible impact for customers. For example, with real time visibility of every unit on the move throughout a supply chain, businesses can more effectively plan to avoid stockouts and meet customer demand at every point of sale.

However, making the most of these tools requires the right tools and planning. Zencargo’s systems enable teams to not just track but  quantify the impact of various choices and the tools to implement changes in their supply chain. Our experts work with your team to integrate the key data you needs and turn it into value-driving insights.

To find out more about how you can make real time visibility work for your team, including leverage Tive’s cutting edge tools, book a call with one of our team today.