Supercharge Me

Real-world tips for upping your visibility game across your supply chains

Last week, I led a webinar, together with my colleague Katie Mineck, focusing on how FourKites customers – all large-scale shippers and logistics service providers in the US and beyond – are using our platform and the visibility it provides to improve procurement, reduce inventory, lower costs and otherwise streamline their supply chain operations. We let our customers’ successes shine through here to show what’s really possible through the lens of visibility.

Over the course of the webinar, we focused in on three major use cases where real-world shippers are actively using FourKites as a competitive differentiator. Here are some of the highlights.

Centralize Communications

Centralizing communications within your transportation teams is one of the most important steps in extracting maximum value from your visibility solution. It allows for greater efficiency throughout the organization by leveraging the three Vs of supply chain: visibility, variability and velocity. Yone Dewberry of Land O’Lakes, who gave the customer keynote presentation at our user conference in September, put it well; he argued that all three of these things go hand in hand, with visibility serving as the foundation for reducing variability and improving velocity. Especially when you’re talking about getting seasonal products to the customer as quickly as possible, you need a strong knowledge of where the moving pieces in your supply chain are, and what you can do if variability or exceptions occur. If you do it right, you’ll also end up reducing how much inventory you keep on hand at any given time – a meaningful financial impact for any organization.

Another customer who spoke at Visibility had some good pointers for how FourKites customers could achieve greater, more centralized communications within their teams – for example by utilizing FourKites notification rules to eliminate check calls and internal communications. For this customer, internal user messages and tagged loads within FourKites means that routine calls on specific loads can be reduced or eliminated, with both carriers and internal team members. This customer has also created internal incentive programs to encourage usage and adoption of the tools. In addition, having a dedicated change manager who is the central advocate for the process and owns all related content can drive adoption of the platform not just within track and trace, but across all departments. 

Expand End-User Adoption

Once you’ve streamlined communications within your track-and-trace team, the next goal should be to expand the impact of your visibility platform into other sectors of your business. 

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, one of the largest distributors of Coca-Cola products, is doing this extremely well. By giving its inbound freight user group access to FourKites, CCBCC has been able to allow for better information sharing and cross-functional collaboration between two closely-related departments. This change paid off when the company was able to get its stock performance up to 99%, carry less inventory and reduce cost.

But CCBCC didn’t stop there. It also rolled out the FourKites Mobile Management app to its factory floors, allowing on-the-ground personnel to streamline handling and unloading of inbound freight and materials by acting upon accurate, real-time information for incoming shipments. This, in turn, allows the company to achieve a more efficient labor force by giving visibility to the people actually receiving freight at manufacturing and distribution facilities. 

Other FourKites customers have seen similarly outstanding results; some have seen as much as a 65% reduction in calls and emails within the customer service organization because they’re able to more proactively manage customer needs and expectations. 

Leverage Your Data

One theme that came up time and time again throughout our user conference is the idea that logistics as an industry is finally moving away from a he-said-she-said approach, toward a more data-driven reality. One of the prime examples of this is Exide Technologies, a FourKites customer and major supplier of batteries to big-box retail stores. 

Exide is using FourKites analytics and scorecarding to take a data-driven approach – with standardized language – for its quarterly reviews. Rather than relying on qualitative reports and records, the company is driving quantitative conversations among key stakeholders to achieve actual, repeatable results. This kind of approach works not only with carriers, but with customers and partners, as well. At the end of the day, aligning on goals, approaches and milestones is key to driving consistent results in any business conversation. 

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In logistics, all parties stand to gain from having a stronger flow of information both within and across departmental units, and even with external partners and customers. By having more accurate data to rely on, we eliminate the potential for duplicated effort, misinformed decisions and wasted resources. 

Last week’s webinar was an important demonstration of the value of visibility across the end-to-end supply chain. To hear the full recording for yourself, and to learn more about leveraging these strategies across your own operations, tune in for the full webinar recording here. And if you want to hear about another great real-world case study, we invite you to register for next month’s webinar on going beyond track-and-trace, with special guests from CSCMP and Ferrero USA.

Until then, happy tracking!

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