Supply chain visibility software is a tool that provides real-time freight tracking and machine-learning analytics to optimize supply chain performance and enable greater collaboration.
What Is Supply Chain Visibility Software?
Supply chain visibility software is a technology solution that was developed to optimize supply chain logistics by combining real-time tracking of shipments with integrated operations and analytics capabilities.
Supply chain visibility solutions use tracking from connected GPS/ELD devices on the vehicle in transit. Based on that real-time data, predictive visibility platforms can tell shippers with more accuracy than ever before, when their shipments will arrive at each stop.
Features of Supply Chain Visibility Solutions
The best supply chain visibility software solutions enhance their real-time freight tracking functionality with some or all of the following additional features:
- Multi-modal coverage
- Predictive ETA calculations, powered by machine-learning
- Integrations with TMS and ERP systems for freight planning, tendering and payment
- Multi-dimensional historical analytics and reporting
- Appointment scheduling
- Proactive risk monitoring and recommendations
The Value of Visibility
Now that you know what supply chain visibility is let’s cover what it does.
Advanced visibility technology gives shippers the information they need to make proactive decisions about their freight operations, improving efficiency and delighting their customers.
Eighty-four percent of CSCOs cite lack of supply chain visibility as their #1 challenge. And according to Gartner’s Market Guide for Real-Time Visibility Providers…
A lack of visibility creates internal and external inefficiencies in warehousing, fleet, yard and transportation operations both inbound and outbound, and leads to an increase in transportation costs (e.g., carrier waiting times, customer fines).
Benefits of Supply Chain Visibility Software
FourKites’ proprietary tracking algorithm uses real-time data from our robust GPS, ELD and telematics network, and combines it with historical machine learning analytics to generate the most accurate arrival times possible.
By applying new advances in machine learning to rich data sources — including onboard ELD telemetry from vehicles in the field — you can quickly achieve the logistical excellence you need to satisfy your customers, your partners, and your bottom line.
When you add a new piece of technology into your operations stack, it really needs to make an impact and improve workflows across the company. So what will supply chain visibility provide to your team?
5 Ways Supply Chain Visibility Will Help Your Business
- Reduce operating costs
- Automate tracking tasks
- Improve on-time delivery
- Centralize Communications
- Deliver Superior Customer Service
1. Reduce operating costs
Machine learning insights from millions of tracked loads enable you to more accurately plan appointment schedules and allocate dock labor. Minimize dwell time, cut detention costs and eliminate missed appointment fines.
Our overall detention has been down at least 20% per month over the last eight months, which has been a very critical factor in becoming a shipper of choice. Reducing your dwell time is huge in this tight market.
– Brad Shockey, Director Supply Chain, Pixelle Specialty Solutions
2. Automate tracking tasks
Eliminate time-consuming manual track-and-trace tasks and shift staff to higher value projects – all while keeping your customers happy with real-time status updates. You can even share live-tracking dashboards with VIP customers through secure, encrypted URLs.
After the Northeast regional rollout, our Customer Service reported an internal call decrease of 65% within the first three months of using FourKites. This decrease specifically took place on calls from Customer Service to dispatch, most frequently made to answer the customer’s question of ‘Where’s My Truck?’
– Meghan Reilly, Manager, Transportation Technology, C&S Wholesale Grocers
3. Improve on-time delivery
Proactively manage exceptions with alerts for dwell time, weather, traffic and load status. With the most accurate predictive ETA on the market, give your customers delivery times they can depend on, while improving operational efficiencies and reducing dwell time.
Supply chain visibility surfaces data in a way where we can actually execute on it in a timely manner to change outcomes. That’s what this is all about. It’s not just saying ‘Hey, your delivery is going to be seven hours late.’ It’s about predicting that, and alerting you early enough so you can change the outcome.
– George Henry, SVP, Capacity Solutions, USA Truck
4. Centralize Communications
FourKites works with your existing TMS/WMS systems to bring you real-time insights through a seamless 2-way integration that helps you optimize your end-to-end logistics operations like never before.
We had a great tool to tender loads. We had a great tool to procure. For service we were really reliant on our carriers to be able to provide us the information to manage it, and so [FourKites] opens up a whole new area for us to develop reporting solutions. It changes the dynamics of how we work, and I don’t think any TMS alone can manage that level of detail and that level of information.
– Brian Stoufer, Senior Director of Transportation, Conagra
5. Deliver Superior Customer Service
Delivering on-time, on budget and with access to load status throughout the journey, supply chain visibility from FourKites helps give you a competitive edge to keep your customers happy.
Supply chain visibility gives our store associates the opportunity to really be the trusted partner with our pet parents, and not have to be thinking about when their delivery is going to get there.
– Dawn Goudie, Senior Manager, Supply Chain, PetSmart
Supply Chain Visibility Platform KPI’s – You Can’t Fix What You Can’t See
How do you measure your supply chain performance? A robust supply chain visibility and collaboration platform helps you track the KPIs that drive service and efficiency up and down your supply chain.
- Dwell Time
- OTIF Metrics
- Customer Satisfaction
- Missed Appointments
- Appointment Reschedules
- Driver Productivity
- Staff Productivity
- Facility Throughput
- Unplanned Expedites
- Inventory Costs on Safety Stock
It drives a lot of better business rules and better behavior because, up until now, you could get away with inaccuracy in data. You have a plan, it doesn’t have to be exactly right. But now with visibility everybody sees where the shipment is. So it really reinforces and drives accountability and accuracy in the information.
– Gary Allen, VP Innovation & Supply Chain Excellence, Ryder
How is a real-time transportation visibility platform different than a TMS?
Supply chain visibility software connects your existing systems — TMS, ERP, WMS, and ELD/telematics devices— to break down data silos and enables those systems to work smarter with actionable insights. It provides transparency and collaboration opportunities throughout your supply chain ecosystem.
[Real-time visibility] opens up a whole new area for us to develop reporting solutions … It changes the dynamics of how we work and I don’t think any TMS alone can manage that level of detail and that level of information.
– Brian Stoufer, Senior Director of Transportation, Conagra Brands
[Exclusive Content] On-Demand Webinar: Building an Intelligent Supply Chain with TMS & Real-Time Visibility Software
We are regularly asked about how visibility is different from a TMS system, so we got to the root of the issue with Manhattan Associates during a recent webinar. To discover the differences and learn more about how a TMS and a visibility platform can actually complement each other, watch this on-demand webinar!
How Fourkites’ Real-Time Supply Chain Visibility Software Works
Supply chain visibility software from FourKites is system-agnostic, aggregating data from carriers, ELDs, TMS, ERP, dispatch, and other sources to provide you with a single source of truth that maximizes collaboration and eliminates siloes.
Not only will you see all your shipments on any mode in real-time, but you’ll know when they will arrive, and be empowered to proactively manage shipments at risk.
Start enhancing your supply chain today with real-time visibility software.
The road to stronger global supply chain management starts with FourKites. Contact our team to learn more.