Why Shipment Visibility Is Important & How To Improve It
Shipment visibility is critical for timely and efficient deliveries. Discover why it matters for your business and how to improve it with this guide.
Many services now specialize in shipping visibility. Circuit for Teams makes better customer experience easy.
Not too long ago, when customers ordered something from an eCommerce store, they’d get an email telling them, “Your order is on its way” or “Your item has been dispatched.”
Now, customers want to know more about where their deliveries are and how long they’ll be in transit.
Sending one email or notification isn’t going to cut it.
Customers want to know when your company has dispatched their package, where it’s stopping on its route to their home, and how long it might take to get there.
They want real-time data and end-to-end visibility down to the last mile.
In a nutshell, that’s what shipment visibility is — tracking where each item is on its journey, from the dispatcher to the customer.
But how do you make your shipping more visible? You’ve come to the right place. We’ll explain all about it.
What is shipment visibility?
Shipping visibility describes a more transparent shipping process than regular shipping.
Real-time transportation visibility uses technology and the latest management tools to keep track of orders, forecast demand and delivery time, and offer key metrics for improving orders.
Shipping visibility helps you, your dispatchers, and customers know when a package leaves the warehouse, the route it passes to its destination, and the exact time it arrives at the customer’s doorstep.
This involves pulling real-time data on each package’s status and the location, such as the estimated time of arrival (ETA).
Predictive ETAs also consider any potential delays, holdups, or other issues that may happen during shipment and give an estimated date the customer can expect their package.
You don’t want your customer worrying if those new sneakers they ordered will arrive on the date they lined up.
Shipment visibility takes care of that so they can focus on the more important details, like having a good time.
The importance of shipment visibility
As we all saw during the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain management is crucial for a functioning society.
It’s not just your new hoodie from Uniqlo that needs delivering — it’s also things like groceries and medical supplies.
Shipping visibility is important because — in a world of global supply chains — it streamlines the process of delivering and ordering goods through increased convenience, visibility, and flexibility.
If you’re a shipper and know there’s a problem with an order you sent, you can get a notification instantly and find out what’s wrong, reducing delay time.
On the other hand, a customer can check whether their new iPhone case is held up at a certain location and if their item will be delayed.
Clearly, this boosts convenience for everyone involved. It reduces waste and inefficiencies on your end while increasing customer satisfaction.
Making customers happy should be on page one of “Shipping Satisfaction: Volume 1.” Customers like being made happy — that’s why McDonald’s invented the Happy Meal 🍟.
So, when it comes to shipping, convenience rules the roost.
The benefits and challenges of shipment visibility
Shipment tracking, notifications, package forwarders — getting the right shipment visibility isn’t without its challenges.
But many benefits outweigh the challenges. In a modern world that faces disruption, shipping visibility can make all the difference.
We cover some of the benefits and challenges that come with shipment visibility.
There are a whole host of benefits to having greater shipment visibility, running the gamut from reducing costs to better customer service and satisfaction.
One benefit of knowing where your packages are in real time is improved forecasting. You can use forecasting analytics to track how long deliveries take to get to their destinations.
For example, suppose a dispatch facility is in Fort Lauderdale, and you regularly ship to customers in New York City.
In that case, forecasting can help you understand how long packages take to get to their destinations, locate bottlenecks in the supply chain, and aid in planning production schedules.
This also impacts another benefit: better decision-making. With real-time access to shipment statuses, data, and item locations, you can make more informed decisions about your deliveries.
This reduces costs and also saves you money. Plus, it can help improve the customer experience and increase customer satisfaction through greater convenience.
So, those are the benefits. But any change to business operations comes with challenges, too.
Obstacles to improving real-time visibility can impact your business’s supply chain operations.
Take data management, for instance. Poor or inadequate data management can mean you can’t use forecasting analytics to improve your deliveries.
In fact, it could reduce delivery effectiveness if you use the data wrong.
Stakeholders are massively important when thinking about shipping.
Usually, a third party handles shipping, and you need communication and coordination between the seller, the dispatcher, and the customer to make sure deliveries are done right.
It’s important for everyone to stay singing the song — so to speak. So, poor coordination among stakeholders can derail your shipping visibility operations.
Nevertheless, better communication tools and a reliable dispatch partner can help solve this.
Ways to improve shipment visibility
Despite the challenges, there are some steps your business can take to enhance shipping visibility. These typically include certain strategies and handy tech that can help turn your problems into solutions.
Firstly, it’s best to get the right partners before relying on technology. As a business, you should partner with the right carriers, shippers, and dispatchers.
You’ll need to collaborate with them to refine your logistical needs and make sure they’re the right partner to deliver it.
Of course, you should still consider technology for the best visibility solutions.
For example, GPS-enabled tracking devices can offer real-time data on the location and status of your packages.
You can attach them to your delivery vehicles to track the movement of goods — or for more premium delivery methods, you can attach them to the packages to guarantee visibility.
GPS-enabled tracking devices can also sync with another useful piece of technology: a cloud-based transportation management system (TMS).
A TMS offers a whole ecosystem for your shipments. Its uses range from tracking deliveries all the way to implementing predictive data analytics to help with forecasting.
Plus, you can access it from anywhere, allowing you to manage your shipments from anywhere in the world for better functionality and lowering operating costs.
Implementing the latest logistics technology into your shipping visibility strategy is crucial. In fact, more powerful technology is what makes shipping visibility possible in the first place.
Still, you need collaboration, communication, and partnership.
Best practices for maintaining shipment visibility
Implementing technology is great. But there are still some best practices you should follow to maintain high levels of shipment visibility and streamline your operations as much as possible.
One way to do this is by regularly reviewing and updating your tracking systems to make sure they give accurate and timely data.
Consider integrating these tracking systems with your TMS for maximum efficiency.
Another useful tip is to train employees on tracking systems and other handy tools used in the supply chain.
This makes sure everyone is in the loop and knows how to work the technology properly, as well as minimizing the likelihood of errors.
Some other best practices can include:
- Regularly auditing the supply chain for inefficiencies
- Continuously improving processes
- Using predictive analytics to help identify issues before they happen
- Making sure all data is stored and managed appropriately
- Always monitoring performance metrics to identify any issues and opportunities for improvement
Doing all of these on an ongoing basis can help your shipping visibility operations succeed in the long term.
Technology is incredibly useful but still involves an ongoing strategy to manage well.
So, don’t rely just on the robots 🤖. Chat with your team members, show them some love, and develop a long-term winning strategy for success.
Enhance shipment visibility for your company today
Supply chain visibility is crucial in today’s era of consumers who want more information about their deliveries.
It’s also a useful way to improve customer satisfaction while boosting efficiency and saving money.
Technology makes shipping visibility and supply chain management easy, like a Sunday afternoon at the beach.
Visibility platforms like TMS, GPS tracking, and analytics are all central to creating a winning shipping visibility strategy through better optimization.
But it’s not all beach volleyball and strawberry daiquiris — you’ll still need to implement some best practices to get long-term results and use trusted partners to handle your supply chain operations.
In the future, consumers will likely demand more package visibility, involving even more technology and speedier data analytics to analyze, forecast, and prepare.
It’s best to get ahead now and start thinking about shipping visibility.
With Circuit for Teams, you can increase your company’s shipment visibility with real-time tracking and convenient route optimization. Try it free today.
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