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Why supply chain leaders are implementing innovative in-transit visibility technologies

June 28th, 2016 by Jim Hayden

Outsourcing = silos + data integration problems
According to Supply Chain Insights, 90 percent of shippers are now outsourcing at least part of their supply chain operations. Outsourcing is a no-brainer because it gives a company flexibility, scalability, and saves both time and money. But it also exposes companies to other risks that should be considered. Shipments and products can change hands more when operations are outsourced, and the shipper receives more logistics information that is structured in different formats. There are more transfers, which increases data integration problems where information is lost. Most importantly, silos arise because companies often withhold data from the shipper and other partners.

Milestone tracking + outsourcing = logistics blind spots
The traditional concept of supply chain visibility is milestone-based, where data is recorded about the status of assets when they reach certain checkpoints. There are usually few checkpoints, so every bit of information that is recorded about the shipment is crucial. Companies cannot access most of that information when there are silos from outsourced operations. With milestone tracking, where there are few, periodic sources of data, and outsourcing, where data does not flow between intermediaries, shippers have large blind spots. It is crucial that companies with complex global supply chain networks find a way for data to be captured in between milestones, and to have complete supply chain visibility. It’s time to replace milestone track and trace with real-time in-transit visibility.

Real-time information + big data analytics = in-transit visibility
The more a company outsources, the more data needs to flow seamlessly through the supply chain. Shippers need to be well-informed about shipments and products when outsourcing, but integration is often a very long and tedious process. The Internet of Things (IoT) can provide shippers with real-time information so that they can avoid the hassle of integrating. The IoT captures large amounts of data from any source across multiple networks creating a smooth flow of real-time information. Sources include sensors, telematics, GPS, AIS mobile apps, EDI, ERP, weather, traffic, and social media.

By implementing IoT to get real-time visibility, companies can say goodbye to the silos created by outsourcing. Shippers have access to all the logistics information, and no limits on the amount of data that they can collect. A key benefit of real-time in-transit visibility is that information is current and actionable, allowing companies to proactively respond to shipment disruptions and delays.

Sources:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/loracecere/2014/02/20/manaing-the-supply-chain-if-only-i-could-see/#10ff1935d05b
http://www.scdigest.com/experts/Acsis_16-06-09.php
http://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/determining-when-to-outsource-supply-chain-management-services/
http://www.supplychaindigital.com/supplychainmanagement/2329/Top-10-Reasons-to-Outsource
Disrupting the Competition with Breakthrough In-Transit Visibility and IoT Analytics (Savi eBook)

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