Tackling Transportation Pain Points with a Digital Approach

  Blog Post 2019 10 22 3200x2000

In a recent webinar, we explored how supply chains can wrangle transportation costs using technology. To gain expert insight and find out how companies are solving these challenges through innovation, we sat down with Frank Hurst, President at RoadRunnder Freight; Andreas Katsaros, Senior Vice President of Business Planning & Analytics at BlueGrace Logistics; and Sam Ralat, Head of Carrier Partnerships and Innovation at project44.

The audience joined in by sharing their pain points, technology priorities for 2020, and questions about how they can leverage technology to solve some of their challenges. Overall, a few themes emerged including providing a better customer experience, reducing manual processes and information silos, improving communication, and gaining a complete view into supply chain activities to make data-driven decisions. Here are some of the key insights and questions from the shippers and 3PLs that attended.

Transportation Pain Points and Technology Priorities

We asked the audience about their biggest transportation pain points. Forty percent indicated that pickup and delivery delays are a concern. Calling for shipment updates came in as a close second with 33% of the audience agreeing this is their top transportation challenge. While delays and efforts to track down shipments go hand in hand, it’s no surprise both of these saw high responses.

  Transportation Pain Points

The audience also shared insight about what technology they’re planning on investing in next year. BI and analytics was the top priority with 50% of responses, followed by visibility across the supply chain with 35.3% of responses.

  2020 Investments

Because high-quality visibility data is an essential prerequisite to leverage business intelligence and advanced analytics tools, it makes sense that these two initiatives are front runners for 2020 priorities. As organizations begin to implement supply chain visibility, they’ll be able to start gaining insights from advanced analytics capabilities, which will allow them to optimize operations.

While inventory/​asset management and supply chain/​network redesign received lower responses, solving for visibility and analytics first can help improve these areas. Supply chains that have implemented visibility have more accurate insights, allowing them to better design networks and reduce excess inventory. 

Questions from the Audience

As organizations try to tackle these challenges and reduce costs with technology, it can be difficult to know where to start and how to gain the most value. The webinar audience had a few questions about incorporating technology into their transportation processes. A few common themes surfaced throughout the Q&A, and we selected a few common questions to answer here.

1. What is the communication process with partners that are not utilizing p44? 

It can be challenging to obtain real-time communication with many different suppliers, partners, and customers using different visibility providers and various systems. Siloed information and workflows across processes and systems leads to misaligned communication and latent access to information. Without consistent collaboration and data sharing, you won’t be able to meet growing customer expectations. 

project44’s Collaborative Visibility™ feature allows you to create perpetual data sharing relationships with the key participants in your supply chain to gain visibility into your inbound and outbound freight. You can invite any other partner of your supply chain to gain or provide visibility into your shipments even if they aren’t using project44. 

2. ETAs are a critical factor for visibility. How are you using ELD data to determine ETAs? 

In order to make data-driven decisions and proactively resolve issues and delays, it’s essential to have estimated times of arrival (ETAs). Without accurate information, you can’t effectively plan or provide the level of customer service that’s expected. You’ll be left manually hunting down location information to speculate a wide ETA range. With accurate and predictive ETAs, shippers can reduce costs, such as OTIF fines, and better manage appointments, labor, and resources.

Predictive ETAs leverage high-quality inputs, along with statistical modeling and machine learning, to deliver accurate and dynamic estimates. Because the data needs to be collected in real-time, it’s important to have integrations with ELD/​telematics devices or direct API connections. project44 prioritizes ELD integrations and API connections to ensure data is collected in real-time, allowing for more predictive ETAs.

3. Is a TMS required to use the project44 platform?

While many organizations have standardized on a TMS to access their visibility data, it’s not required to obtain visibility. In order to improve communication and reduce information silos, all necessary stakeholders need to have real-time access into insight. If an organization doesn’t use a TMS, or access is limited to certain users, you can still gain visibility data.

project44’s features and functionality can be accessed through the Visibility Operations Center™ (VOC), which is an application built on top of the Advanced Visibility Platform™. The easy-to-use and intuitive application provides visibility into global, multimodal transportation for all parties across your supply chain. With more than 57 TMS and ERP integrations, project44 can also seamlessly connect with your existing systems without any lag time.

4. Can p44 be shared internally? Can the purchasing department have their own access point to do what they need to do? 

It’s very important for all necessary stakeholders to have the information they need in real-time, from purchasing and inventory management to customer service and logistics. With heavily manual processes, various systems or locations for data, and a lack of communication, it will be impossible to ensure everyone has the information they need, when they need it.

Because of this need for communication and collaboration, project44’s Visibility Operation Center allows multiple users to access the system. Each user has the ability to set up their own custom view, allowing them to easily access the information they need. 

5. How does project44 integrate with ERPs and what friction have you encountered during the implementation?

To gain value quickly and deliver an enhanced customer experience, ensuring integrations are implemented seamlessly is critical. Integrating your visibility data into your ERP will allow you to better plan and design networks with accurate information while giving you an end-to-end view into supply chain performance.

project44 has integrations with leading TMS, ERP, and WMS systems, making it easy for customers to connect. The friction we’ve seen is less around setting up the actual technology, but more about updating processes to ensure workflows align with the new systems. 

There’s a lot of new technology that makes it easy to get up and running quickly, yet organizations that overlook necessary process changes might struggle with adoption. It’s important to evolve your operational practices with your technology.

The webinar, Tackling Transportation Costs with a Digital Approach, takes a closer look at these pain points and tech-forward solutions.