Five years ago, the industry started humming about the real-time shipment visibility solutions made possible through real-time API connections. Supply chain technology providers raced to promise complete, immediate transparency throughout the shipment lifecycle — a control tower view of the supply chain. Many providers are still holding onto that assurance, but the reality is somewhat different.
Shipment visibility is still somewhat of a moving target. True end-to-end visibility can give shippers, 3PLs and other logistics providers a better view of the supply chain, also providing transparency into the first- and last-mile steps in the process. As a consumer of visibility, solutions, it’s important to parse the promises from providers to get a very clear idea of what each supply chain technology company is offering.
But gaining insight into where each shipment can only take shippers and 3PLs so far. The ability to correct course when exceptions arise, no matter the mode or location, is the mark of true Control Tower functionality. This execution requirement, when combined with end-to-end visibility, significantly narrows the list of providers.
Blume Global CEO Pervinder Johar explains the limits of real-time visibility like this: “If I’m driving somewhere, I usually don’t want visibility into where I am… It’s not about where you are; it’s about when you will get to your destination.” The right solutions, in concert with visibility, can answer the right questions, no matter the mode: Before my freight starts moving, can I predict how long that will take to arrive at its destination? When the shipment is en route, can my technology provide options, or even automate solutions, to correct for exceptions?
Shipment transparency and the ability to execute on that data is not simply an exercise in the latest innovative technology. Execution can help shippers meet evolving delivery regulations. New OTIF requirements from top retailers and customers have increased the financial stakes of delivering late shipments. By monitoring orders throughout their journey, receiving continuously updated ETAs and alerts when orders are late — a true control tower scenario — customers can avoid shipment penalties.
The modern supply chain isn’t a straight line of interlocking pieces. It branches out, connecting sometimes disparate processes and trading partners with varying levels of technological capabilities. Not every supply chain technology provider offers a Control Tower that can correlate data from multiple systems to identify and prioritize opportunities and exceptions based on business impact, and recommend options to take advantage of opportunities and resolve exceptions. Shippers and 3PLs currently using supply chain technology providers need to consider these questions:
- Do you know how long it will take for your order to reach each destination?
- Do you receive continuously updated ETAs with alerts when your orders are early or late?
- Can your system recommend alternate modes and routes when your order is in jeopardy of meeting your commitment date?
When weighing a new supply chain technology provider for a Control Tower solution or taking the first steps into digitizing logistics processes, these are important questions to ask. Look for a partner that can provide accurate location data, transportation lead times and ETAs for international multi-modal shipments. Connect with a team dedicated to creating the next solution that can quickly tell customers how long it will take their order, item and shipment to be transferred from origin to destination as well as when it will arrive.
Blume Global is the digital operating platform for some of the world’s largest freight forwarders who demand granular visibility and accurate ETAs. These partnerships have enabled Blume to directly connect to carriers of all modes in more than 130 countries. Direct connection to carriers enables Blume to provide near real-time updates to status, schedules, routes, cancelations, rolled shipments and missed cutoffs. Competitors in the marketplace cannot provide Blume’s level of connectivity and visibility precision or extend beyond this visibility into logistics execution, Control Tower solutions that truly have an impact in the modern supply chain.