Using Predictive ETAs to Reduce Costs

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As visibility becomes fundamental to transportation and logistics operations, predictive estimated times of arrival (ETAs) are entering the picture to lower transportation costs and improve margins. While the industry has functioned with loose ETA timeframes and ranges in the past, the demand for more insight into shipment location has created a need for accurate and predictive information. 

With project44’s latest technology, ETAs are more accurate than ever before, creating new ways for your business to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Find out how your supply chain can benefit from predictive ETAs.

How Predictive ETAs Can Affect Your Business

Adjust Plans to Reduce Late Fees and Detention Costs

With a predictive ETA, you can accurately gauge when your shipment will arrive, allowing you to proactively make adjustments to downstream supply chain activities. If you know a shipment is going to be late, you can move the dock appoint time to avoid fees. With the ability to change plans before a delay occurs, you can avoid late fees and detention costs.

Run Docks More Efficiently with Arrival Geo-fencing

With arrival geo-fencing, dock teams don’t need to sit around waiting for a shipment. You can set up alerts to notify you when the shipment is getting close. Knowing how close the shipment is and how long it will take to arrive allows the dock team to be more efficient with their time. They don’t need to prepare or look out for the arrival until they’re notified, so they can spend more time on other tasks, improving productivity.

Better Manage Resources 

Dependable insight into when a shipment will arrive allows you to optimize labor by having the right employees on hand when you need them. For example, if a retailer has an accurate arrival time for an anticipated shipment, they can schedule an inventory manager accordingly. This allows you to reduce costs and run more efficiently.

Resources spent on manual processes can also be improved. Hours of time are wasted by manually tracking shipments. With predictive ETAs, everyone knows where the shipment is and when it will arrive at its destination, meaning you don’t need to spend hours tracking it down. Making a single call or email seems harmless enough, but when it takes numerous touchpoints to track down one shipment, it adds up. For example, RR Donnelley was able to eliminate 700-900 phone calls per day by relying on visibility. By reducing the need for check calls and manual tracking, you can recover this time and reallocate the resources to focus on initiatives that will drive revenue for your company.

Generate Loyal Customers by Keeping them Updated

With the rise of the Delivery Economy, both B2C and B2B customers are looking for more insight into their delivery’s status. According to a recent report, 70 percent of consumers want the ability to track progress of shipments and 47 percent want an accurate delivery date estimate. As customer expectations are changing, it’s becoming standard practice to provide accurate ETAs. 

With predictive ETAs, retailers and manufacturers can keep customers updated and set expectations about when a delivery will arrive. With advance insight into possible scheduling changes, you can proactively notify customers to give them the up-to-date information they want. 

What Your ETAs Need to Consider to Achieve Actionable Results 

Not all providers are created equal when it comes to generating ETAs. It’s important that your ETAs take certain factors into account and are based on the highest quality data inputs. In addition to the calculations for basic ETAs, there are several factors needed in order to achieve value, which differ between over-the-road and ocean. For example, basic truckload ETAs—which usually calculate the best route, real-time traffic, and predictive traffic—might be acceptable for short distances, but they don’t provide the reliability needed for longer trips. 

To achieve actionable results, no matter the mode, predictive ETAs leverage advanced statistical modeling and machine learning. project44’s proprietary algorithm incorporates context of the trip and comprehensive historical data. Furthermore, with transparency into the factors included in the ETA, you can have a comprehensive understanding of the situation, allowing you to make fully informed, defensible decisions.

Comprehensive Historical Data

Regardless of mode, your ETAs should use a comprehensive historical data set as part of the calculation. Machine learning can leverage past data, such as lane models for LTL or vessel route data for ocean, to identify patterns and make more accurate predictions.

Because historical data results in more accurate ETAs, project44 has focused on gathering this information and enriching ETAs accordingly. With the largest historical data set of LTL carriers and more than 12 years of vessel route data, p44 can more accurately predict transit duration.

Conditions that Can Impact Arrival Times

In addition to historical data and traffic information, there are numerous other factors that could impact a shipment’s arrival time. Over-the-road shipment ETAs should account for conditions, such as weather, driver hours of service, and political events. 

Ocean shipment ETAs can be affected by weather and speed changes. On top of these conditions, port congestion might have the largest impact on vessel schedules and ETAs. Placing geofences around terminals and ports provides insight into congestion, allowing you to access the most accurate arrival estimates.

A Streamlined Way to Communicate

An application such as project44’s Visibility Operations Center™ enables you to easily and quickly communicate with your team in one place. Shipment notes and alerts can be shared, so you can collaborate with the appropriate stakeholders and have conversations about potential disruptions before they occur. 

With access to precise and accurate predictive ETAs, your business can achieve valuable results. To learn more about using analytics to make your supply chain more productive, read our recent blog post, The Steps to Conquering Your Supply Chain with Analytics.

Find out how accurate ETAs can change your business.