One of the most vital links in the supply chain is the role that Intermodal Marketing Companies (IMCs) and the trucking community play in transporting goods from rail ramps to nearby warehouses. This short-distance drayage has plenty of room for optimization, from bills of lading to efficient loading, routing and unloading. One of the most powerful ways that drayage and logistics companies can take advantage is through digitizing their operations and maximizing efficiency over shorter routes.
Let’s explore how supply chain digitization can help the drayage industry.
Accurate Supply and Demand Management for IMCs and Drayage Logistics to Effectively Manage Capacity
It’s critical that drayage providers can match the demand for transport between ports and warehouses with the amount of truck capacity that’s available. That means maintaining real-time, accurate information on:
- Customer requests and demand for drayage.
- The number of trucks and other vehicles able to provide drayage.
- The total capacity of trucks that can make short-distance runs, whether less-than-truck-load or fully laden trucks.
- The status of drivers and their ability to provide trucking services.
Matching supply and demand for intermodal and other types of drayage is challenging, but accurate data and modeling can significantly drive up efficiencies. Sourcing, reporting on and sharing information on one centralized, digital platform makes it much easier to deal with capacity challenges now and provide visibility to all logistics stakeholders.
Prediction of Likely Future Supply and Demand for Efficient Planning and Utilization
Managing current drayage capacity needs will help your operations today, but you also need to prepare for tomorrow. That’s where sophisticated AI logistics modeling can help. A digital platform can examine all of your current data and combine that with information from shippers, scheduling and other parts of the supply chain to predict likely future drayage needs.
AI and machine learning can uncover trends in the data and suggest likely short, medium, and long-term demand and capacity — allowing you to get the right assets and resources in place. You can build complex models, based on various assumptions that increases your flexibility and allows your drayage business to react quickly to changes. These types of models can also help with recruitment and asset procurement, ensuring you have enough drivers, trucks and other equipment to meet future needs.
Real-Time Location Tracking of Shipments and Drayage Assets Means Better Management
Being able to track assets and shipments wherever they are, in real time, makes it much easier to manage the security, safety and flow of goods as they’re being transferred. GPS Internet of Things devices can easily be attached to containers, pallets, goods, trucks and other assets to provide continually updated information on the location of assets. The position of goods can be monitored in real time on a map, which makes it simpler to understand bottlenecks and other problems and resolve them quickly.
For drayage logistics companies that are managing multiple trucks across different routes, this type of tracking allows for rapid optimization, more effective utilization and lower costs.
Visibility Into Transfer and Handoffs Drives Better Supply Chain Scheduling
For drayage providers, time is money. Every minute spent waiting for goods to arrive or be loaded and unloaded eats into costs. Digitization can help to remove this problem by allowing for much more accurate scheduling for arrivals, pickups and deliveries. Data feeds from ocean or air carriers, combined with information from receiving ports can be fed into a digital platform for up-to-the-minute details on the status of goods. This results in more efficient handoffs and means drivers and trucks aren’t waiting around, so you can maximize productivity.
Digitizing Bills of Lading Removes Manual Errors and Allows for Faster Processing, Invoicing and Payment
Bills of lading help supply chain partners to clarify the quantities, types and destinations of goods, but using paper bills of lading means delays and possible errors. Moving to digital bills of lading makes it much easier to receive, confirm and transmit information.
In a traditional, paper-based system, bills of lading are faxed to an office, entered manually on a computer, changes are made by hand and then reconciled when goods are received. This is a slow process, and there’s a strong possibility of errors when transcribing information, leading to issues and delays. These slowdowns and problems can impact invoicing and payment and cause clients to question your charges.
In contrast, a digital bill of lading will feed automatically into your supply chain management platform and can be instantly and effortlessly shared with everyone that needs it. Fast data transfer and visibility means much quicker reconciliation and a vastly reduced chance of errors. This results in faster invoicing and payment plus transparency into your fees.
AI Route Optimization Makes the Most of Every Minute and Mile
There are plenty of factors that play into the time is money equation, but getting goods to destinations as fast as possible is key. The most efficient routes can change depending on congestion, road conditions, weather and other areas. Combining real-time location updates with mapping data means AI algorithms can suggest more efficient routes immediately.
Optimization and Efficiency Helps You Set Competitive Drayage Rates
Ultimately, a digital supply chain platform is there to save you time and money. Tracking and understanding your fixed and variable costs is a great starting point. Optimizing areas like supply and demand, location tracking, handoffs, scheduling and paperwork all helps to bring your operational costs down. This gives you visibility into all your costs and allows you to set more competitive drayage rates.
You can share these rates with customers and drivers, updating them as circumstances change. This transparency results in better pricing while maintaining your profit margin. This helps you compete more effectively with other drayage providers.
The Blume Global platform will streamline and supercharge your drayage operations. Our data-driven, open digital platform increase asset utilization and helps you optimize your transportation fleet. From deep data insight to logistics network access, Blume can help you reduce costs, build agility and stay on top of customer requirements. Our solutions will position you to become your customer’s drayage carrier of choice by providing real-time status updates, information sharing and optimized operations so you can adapt as demand changes.