Original Article: October 10, 2017. Supply Chain Dive (online). “Realities of Managing a 24/7 Business: Who’s Managing Who?,” bylined article by David Kreidler.
For years, the “big guys” in the industry have been investing millions of dollars in technology – both off-the-shelf and in-house solutions. Technology has allowed them to gain competitive advantage and greater market share. In fact, their ability to manage On Time In Full (OTIF) deliveries is proving to be a true industry differentiator. OTIF is no longer a phenomenon but will be a staple of the freight transport industry. Increasingly, we are seeing that transportation management firms that manage OTIF well are among the most successful — and will stay that way.
Generally speaking, small to midsize businesses (SMBs) simply haven’t had the same resources – IT or personnel – as the big guys have to keep track of drivers, trucks and freight. And, SMBs soon found that the trucking industry doesn’t stop or slow down for anyone. Trucks must move 24 hours a day, and someone must ensure that they move on time. The ability to deliver OTIF is no longer a nice to have offering but an essential key to survival.
Luckily, the recent advent of affordable technology has proved to be an equalizer for the “littler guys,” allowing them to stay competitive with the super brokers.
Still, big data can generate enormous amounts of information and managing all that data can be quite challenging. So, for today’s SMBs the central question isn’t, “How much data can I accumulate?” Rather, it is, “How do I obtain the right data to make my operations more efficient and effective?”
We all know that drivers can be a wild card in data collection and freight management processes. They don’t like to pick up the phone when you’re looking for updates and, when they do respond, they often don’t provide the whole story. It’s hard for SMBs to manage their business when a core part of their operation is a black hole. So, as an SMB, how do you get the right data from your drivers?
The answer is intelligent freight visibility solutions. They allow you to capture real-time driver updates that are accurate and complete and enable you to manage your business effectively day or night from any location. Such technology relays positional information through telematics or GPS and lets you see who is running late and proactively manage these exceptions.
Effective freight management is not looking at a board of 20-30 shipments and blindly guessing which ones will become the problems of the day. It is a definitive way to isolate potential issues and focus on them early on, creating solutions before small problems become big ones.
Customers know that things happen in trucking. However, they don’t like to be blindsided. When you have the capability to identify issues early and formulate solutions before time constraints prevent otherwise, customers have options. And, offering options is what a true transportation partner does. In fact, offering viable solutions is the key to gaining a customer’s trust and establishing long-term business relationships.
But keeping customers happy is only half of the equation. The other half is keeping staff and drivers happy. Drivers don’t want to receive annoying check calls, and your staff doesn’t want to place them, especially in the 24-hour world of transportation. Sleepless nights come from trying to track down a driver at 4 a.m. and being left to hope that the driver will hit that important 8 a.m. delivery deadline. Technology allows you to lean over from your pillow, pull up an app, see that everything is on time and then go back to sleep.
Working harder doesn’t get you ahead, working smarter does. When you use the right technology and have the correct data, you gain more control and greater confidence managing your drivers, staff and customer’s freight. CX North America delivers smart technology that provides the visibility transportation carriers, 3PLs, brokers, shippers and more need. Our solutions range from desktop tracking software to mobile apps that give our customers the most comprehensive freight tracking information available to save time and money and deliver the control, flexibility, agility and efficiency you need to survive in.
Who’s managing who? You are managing your freight transportation business with CX North America software solutions.
David Kreidler is CX North America’s director of business development. He brings to the position a well-developed understanding of issues surrounding freight transportation and logistics management acquired on the industry’s front lines over the past 20 years. Now, on the tech side, he proposes software solutions as the ultimate key to survival for the many qualified, highly respected small to mid-size brokers seeking to be competitive in this rapidly changing industry
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