As the logistics industry continues to embrace technology, visibility solutions have stolen the spotlight again and again. It is easy to see why; these solutions make it possible to increase supply chain transparency, tracking loads in real time and ensure shipment security without implementing several different tools.
The importance of better visibility is becoming more and more apparent both inside and outside the industry. Companies want transparency from their partners, and end consumers want to know exactly when their packages are going to arrive.
FreightWaves partnered with real-time visibility provider Tive to figure out how different industry players have adapted to the increased demand for visibility. Survey respondents represented a myriad of industry segments – including shippers, third-party logistics providers, consulting firms, freight brokers, carriers, freight forwarders and technology providers. Full survey results can be found here.
Despite an increased call for heightened visibility across the industry, survey results made it clear that shippers are more hesitant to adopt visibility-related technological solutions than their peers. Of the shippers surveyed, only 37% reported using in-transit visibility solutions. Respondents across other sectors reported significantly higher adoption, with 57% using in-transit visibility solutions.
The disparity between shippers and other industry players is perplexing, especially because shippers have not historically been adverse to adopting new solutions. There are a wide variety of reasons shippers may be more hesitant to adopt a full-service visibility solution. Companies may be wary of adopting technology they perceive to be a “passing trend,” or they may not have found a solution they believe will do a better job than their current, more old-school processes. Additionally, some shippers may rely on their carriers and 3PL partners to provide visibility solutions without giving much thought to adopting their own.
All of these factors are likely at play. Logistics providers have been called on to bear the brunt of new technological advancements more and more over the past few years, leading shippers to outsource more and more tasks. Still, over half of surveyed shippers reported relying on check calls to gain visibility into their freight. Significantly more shippers continue to perform track-and-trace processes via check calls than their non-shipper counterparts.
As the supply chain becomes more complex and technologically advanced, relying on old school visibility methods will become less and less feasible. Shippers who do not adapt to new technologies will inevitably see profit margins tighten and relationships suffer. Real-time visibility solutions are quickly moving from perks territory to the necessities category.
Despite shippers’ lagging uptake, expectations surrounding visibility continue to become more and more demanding. It is clear that visibility is valued among both supply chain partners and end consumers. This is largely due to its ability to streamline operations, pinpoint problems and increase accountability surrounding everything from sustainability to on-time delivery.
Shippers that are willing to explore their visibility options have the opportunity to try out new solutions while the market is hot, allowing them to see the benefits of these kinds of tools almost immediately after adoption. These companies should expect to see industry relationships improve, profit margins widen and efficiencies increase.
There are several visibility options on the market right now, including easy-to-adopt providers like Tive. Simple solutions that do not require complex onboarding efforts will likely appeal to change-resistant shippers. These types of solutions make it easy to take advantage of innovative solutions without breaking the bank or losing valuable time to post-adoption confusion.