Zachary HanzDirector, Product Marketing, FourKites

Last week, FourKites introduced our newest innovation: Dynamic ETA® for Air, powered by the most advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies. With this latest industry-first from FourKites, we wanted to illuminate some of the philosophy behind this powerful feature, as well as how FourKites customers can leverage it to further streamline their supply chain operations.

Why did we build it?

Air is typically reserved as a means of transporting either the most critical freight or freight that has been expedited due to delays in other modes. For example, if a company sees ocean shipments delayed more than a week — certainly ocean delays are growing more commonplace these days — they might shift those shipments to air in order to keep things moving.

Historically, air as a shipment method has offered little visibility and predictability, due to a variety of factors:

  • A complex network of stopover and hub airports
  • Unforeseen and inconsistent delays
  • Irregular availability of ETAs from carriers altogether

In short, when shipping via air, you’ll pay steeper rates because you’re shipping critical items via an expedited mode, and yet the existing tracking technology in the market still doesn’t provide transparency into when goods will arrive. Our customers — and the market at large — have been feeling this pain acutely, and as an organization dedicated to solving our users’ most critical pain points, we set out to co-innovate with our customer Zebra Technologies to solve this common industry problem.

What’s the value of Dynamic ETA for shippers?

On average, ETAs have been available for air freight just 40% of the time — and even then the accuracy of those ETAs has been off by an average of two days! With FourKites Dynamic ETA for Air, estimated arrival times are now available 100% of the time and are accurate within 9 hours. What’s more, that 100% availability isn’t just for the final destination, but intermediate stopovers as well. And considering that air freight stops in up to 10 different cities on any given journey, that’s a lot of room for error and delays where accuracy could make the difference.

The improved visibility from FourKites’ Dynamic ETA for Air empowers our customers to optimize their downstream planning, reduce the time and expense of manual track-and-trace efforts, and even increase customer satisfaction in the process.

As Kimberley Segel, Director of Global Transportation at Zebra Technologies put it, “FourKites’ Dynamic ETA for Air has provided the visibility needed to help reduce turn times on urgent product requests for fulfilling critical customer orders, while also eliminating nearly 75% of shipment tracking email inquiries to our global logistics team.”

How did we build it?

FourKites’ real-time visibility platform already offers its Dynamic ETA technology for Truckload, LTL, Ocean and Rail, leveraging machine learning algorithms and knowledge graphs that analyze historical shipment details to identify trends and make industry-leading ETA predictions. This means that the more shipments tracked via FourKites (currently 2 million daily), as well as the more lanes and carriers, the smarter the ETA technology gets.

For air specifically, having seen 97% load growth from 2020 to 2021 and 40% quarter of quarter growth in airline coverage (we’re currently tracking over 100 airlines at 17,000 airports), that 9-hour accuracy window — already leaps and bounds ahead of the industry standard — will only continue to narrow in accuracy as our platform ingests more data about trends in timing, routes and delays with various airlines and airports.

Thank you to our latest co-innovation partner, Zebra Technologies, for helping us bring this solution to life! We’re thrilled to be bringing the same level of transparency to the friendly skies as we have to other modes of transport, making it a more cost-effective and efficient option for all.

Learn more about FourKites and the ROI of increased predictive visibility into your supply chain. And as always, feel free to contact us for more information.

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