Take a Page From Amazon’s Playbook
The world’s largest online marketplace has set their sights on a new goal — becoming a huge global 4PL. Heads up UPS and FedEx, Amazon is piloting package delivery in Los Angeles for marketplace customers. By amassing worldwide logistics assets, it can provide better delivery performance to its online marketplace customers. From there they can move horizontally to deliver cargo and packages for others and compete with other logistics service providers.
Does that mean to compete today, you need planes, trucks, ships and a global network of distribution centers? Not necessarily. However, you do need the right tools for the job.
Your business probably doesn’t have the wealth, and market power Amazon uses to achieve scale and drive pricing down. But take heart, it’s not just a big checkbook driving their successful execution.
Often overlooked is that behind all of Amazon’s fleet assets run the best technology tools to manage schedules, performance, costs and customer satisfaction. Your business can have those tools too to fine-tune your supply chain.
Leverage Analytics to Fine-Tune Your Supply Chain
Using live IoT data and many other data sources, you can achieve end-to-end visibility of the location and condition of your moving inventory even when multiple carriers deliver it across different modes. In-transit visibility software-as-a-service provides accurate, live streaming data on the location and condition of cargo in motion.
Notification settings can be customized to provide a visual, text, email or native TMS/ERP system alert when cargo enters or exits a geofenced distribution center, port or high crime area. You can receive alerts if a container rolls, a transshipment point is added, or a stationary stop exceeds a set timeframe. These alerts can highlight much earlier which shipments are trending late or will be late.
With the addition of some analytics, you can use the data from EDI messages, carrier feeds and IoT data to reveal paths to the lowest landed cost in the shortest ETA, dramatically improve ETA accuracy while improving customer satisfaction in the process. Analytics that use machine learning get better over time, which translates into continuously improved performance. By using unbiased carrier performance metrics and identifying shortest or lowest risk routes, you can achieve better performance and lower risk overall.
In short, it is predictive analytics software built on a scalable platform that allows Amazon to fine-tune its supply chain. The good news is that it is possible to cost-effectively get the same results, without owning and operating your own fleet of planes, trucks, ships and rail cars.