In a volatile market, real-time information is essential, as it equips shippers with the necessary visibility to maneuver through supply chain disruptions. 

The pandemic has shown that logistical hurdles can arise quickly and unpredictably, causing major backlogs if not adequately prepared for and managed. Digitizing the supply chain with an emphasis on collecting and utilizing real-time data is the best way to mitigate the risks associated with supply chain congestion. 

When bottlenecks emerge, real-time visibility helps shippers immediately answer customer and stakeholder inquiries, rapidly locate a delayed product and easily manage transactions. What remains a challenge, however, is converting manual logistical operations to a digital landscape in a way that smooths out inefficiencies — not add to them. It is also important to consider where, exactly that visibility data originates.  

“This is where the difference between working with a data creator and a data aggregator comes in,” according to Pervinder Johar, CEO of Blume Global. “The aggregator relies on a copy of the information, while the creator knows strong connections to carriers and the ability to create new insights from that real-world data brings added value to logistics clients.”   

He continued, “At a minimum, aggregators add latency, but they can also deliver inaccurate data because they are not the single source of data truth. In fact, some of the first- and last-mile data other transportation technology providers use is generated by these data-first supply chain technology providers.” 

Real-Time Visibility Through Digitization 

Real-time visibility involves the use of technology to log detailed information as raw materials and finished goods move through all stages of the supply chain, from sourcing and manufacturing to final delivery. Data is uploaded in real time to a cloud-based software program that centralizes and organizes the information for all stakeholders to see. 

Traditional paper-based management systems can no longer keep up with today’s complex supply chain ecosystem. Transforming these systems into a digital workspace provides real-time visibility through the following means: 

  • Automation: Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can process overwhelming batches of data in a short amount of time, giving supply chain leaders more time to analyze industry trends, resolve errors and prepare for potential disruptions. 
  • Preparation: Real-time visibility software can map out possible trends and bottlenecks by accurately detecting patterns across data logs. 
  • Collaboration: Logistics progress can be monitored and audited by all stakeholders on a universal digital platform, ensuring quality service and accountability. 
  • Efficiency: Irregularities can be immediately relayed for quick resolution via instant communication.
  • Reliability: Real-time data elicits a higher degree of dependability and confidence when it comes to decision making. 

Digitizing the supply chain lends shippers and carriers the necessary visibility and dynamism that allows for seamless adaptation to fluid market changes. 

“It's crucial to consider what actions can be undertaken based on the visibility data provided. The best data providers allow their logistics customers to link supply chain visibility to action,” Johar said. “At Blume Global, that’s how we define supply chain orchestration. You see, orchestration provides the agility needed to overcome disruptions, giving you a resilient supply chain. In an ever-crowded supply chain technology space, it’s important to nail down these definitions and have supreme confidence in your provider’s mission and vision.”   

Alleviating Supply Chain Congestion with Real-Time Data 

Product and shipment delays can lead to costly repercussions if not addressed in time. Some of the most common causes of supply chain bottlenecks include: 

  • Outdated transportation routes and unplanned traffic 
  • Freight idle time
  • Consumer turnover 
  • Inventory miscalculations 
  • Dangerous weather events 
  • Miscommunication or a lack of communication 
  • Lost or stolen goods 
  • Human error 
  • Resource scarcity 
  • Uneven labor distribution 

Real-time data exposes these issues as they happen, encouraging both shippers and carriers to immediately tend to them. Kinks in the supply chain are inevitable, but embracing a digital platform where real-time data is prioritized assures regulatory compliance, supports stricter adherence to delivery deadlines, and maintains consumer satisfaction despite market instabilities. 

Granted, digitization can appear intimidating. In fact, fully converting all supply chain operations to cloud-based programs can prove more taxing than useful if not done strategically. The key is to identify specific operational lags and analyze how technology can catch them up to speed with the current market. 

For shippers, using real-time data in these three areas can effectively streamline operations and the supply chain as a whole: 

  • Scheduling: Shippers and carriers can instantaneously communicate delays and altered deadlines to ensure minimized dwell time so that goods arrive on time. 
  • Business Relations: Opening an active line of communication for all stakeholders lightens the burden of any concerns that arise, fortifying stakeholder relationships. 
  • Resource Allocation: Simulation software can help reorganize operational structures to maintain efficiency while automating data input processes. 

By gradually moving operations onto a digital platform, real-time visibility can become a feasible and rewarding reality for many. 

Give Your Management System a Real-Time Upgrade 

Blume Global continues to lead the multi-modal industry into a more cost-effective, sustainable and collaborative future. Blume Global has also expanded into the manufacturing realm by acquiring LiveSource, ultimately widening the scope of the transportation visibility network and broadening logistical partnerships. And as a member of the Visibility Council, Blume Global is also working with logistics leaders to come up with innovative ideas that align with our changing supply chain ecosystem. 

Blume Global is committed to sustainably enhancing the supply chain ecosystem by staying up-to-date with the latest technological advancements. Contact us today or explore our solutions to see how we can help you boost your management system. 

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