Freight shipments are vital for businesses of all kinds. Whether they hold important supplies for manufactures or finished products for retailers, delayed shipments can be costly. In some cases, stalled shipments can stall production, which adds to the costs of doing business.
Fortunately, the shipping industry has evolved and become high-tech. The latest technology allows stakeholders to know where their shipments are so they can plan for their next steps. Technology is available for the largest manufacturers to the smallest businesses to help them keep track of freight shipments.
Many shipping companies rely on mobile apps for phones or tablets. They recognize that people are moving away from using pen and paper to record what comes in and out of their businesses. Shipping companies are also moving away from paper records and are turning to apps so they follow shipments as they move from place to place. Apps offer real-time tracking, so if customers call to ask about a shipment, customer service professionals can reply with complete accuracy.
If you are looking for a more robust tool to track freight shipments, computer platforms are a better choice than the mobile versions. These transportation management systems let you track your shipping, and they can help businesses integrate shipping with other production steps. Some apps integrate with mobile apps, so you can see where your freight is no matter where you are.
These systems are usually installed in the supply chain department and used by logistics experts. They do help increase efficiency, which does eventually cut costs. The systems will tell you when there is a delay. And they can also offer suggestions on how to avoid the delay. They collect data that logisticians can use to build better shipping practices that reduce transfers, waits, and unexpected problems.
Equip Drivers with Tracking Apps
If you have drivers who are responsible for timely shipping, you can take better control of tracking shipments by communicating with your drivers. Drivers can have apps in their trucks that let them send updates about shipping; these can be directly connected to the freight management system so the drivers can worry about driving and not about computer technology.
Some shipping companies equip their drivers with mobile apps so the drivers can communicate with the people at the final destination. This gives drivers the opportunity to call their customers when they know they will be delayed.
Know What’s at the Destination
Some shipments are delayed because of the situation at the end of the line. Not every loading dock is open 24 hours per day. Some have limited hours and limited staffing, which makes it difficult for drivers who arrive at all hours of the day and night. It can be helpful to call ahead to find out what the conditions are at the loading dock, and to build dock schedules into platforms and apps. The best apps are updated regularly with information about road conditions, driving issues, freight location, warehouse conditions, and loading dock updates.
Real-Time Tracking is Available
Trucks and rail cars are all equipped with technology that allows them to automatically update stakeholders. With AEI tags, it is possible to see where a shipment is at any given time. These tags are read via radio frequency by strategically placed readers all over the roads and rails. The data they record is sent to shipping platforms then it can be sent to customers for automatic updates.
Remove Human Error
Automation is a frightening word for many employees and employers, but it actually can improve the way that business gets done, and the accuracy of freight shipments. When you add automation in any form, even if it is collecting data from AEI tag readers, you reduce the possibility of human error. And when it comes to shipping delays, many of them are caused by human error.
Of course, automation can be expensive, so there is nothing wrong with implementing pieces of it at a time.
Pack Shipments for Safe Travels
Even as tracking shipments is becoming high tech, there is one important low-tech process that needs to continue. If you want to track your shipments, you have to package your shipments appropriately. Issues with packaging will slow shipments and can cause problems with tracking as packages could be moved elsewhere.
Technology is the key to keeping track of freight shipments. It allows for real-time updates that can be integrated with supply chains. Work with your shipping company to learn about the ways you can better track your shipments so you can do better business.