Transportation & Logistics Analysis

Visibility in road freight transport: the key to customer satisfaction

February 12 2021

Visibility and traceability have always been a major capability desired within road freight transport. It’s now possible through collaboration and digitalization.

The supply chains of today are closely linked with all business functions within an organization, beyond production, and directly impact the customer experience. In order to ensure smooth operations, the management of physical flows should also rely on very precise information management.

Dare to be transparent

As transportation and logistics professionals know, uncertainty is an integral part of daily life in the supply chain. But facing a lack of visibility is no longer accepted within the market, when the possibilities to collect rich datasets, and to extract insights from them, have never been so accessible and so important. Although sometimes perceived as a constraint, or even a threat, transparency is an essential factor in enabling efficiency and as a result competitiveness for all stakeholders.

Sales forecasts, production, inbound logistics, final customer delivery, inventory management, measurement of CO2 emissions: if we consider the entire supply chain, the potential amount of data to be exploited is immense. But due to a lack of appropriate processing and sharing, key information sometimes lies dormant in isolated IT systems, whether at the level of the transport industry as a whole or in the context of a company’s own supply chain ecosystem.

Choosing the right partner

Since 2018, Upply, a digital freight transportation marketplace, combines data science and business expertise to power its “Compare & Analyze” solution, which makes it simple for shippers to compare a quote for road, air or sea freight to the median market rates. Shippers and carriers have now an easy access to this data, which can be leveraged to support strategies and decision making, when carrying out a transport tender or developing an implementation strategy for example.

Beyond price transparency, operational efficiency of transport operations is a key driver of customer satisfaction and it’s now possible to improve it through supply chain digitalization. Visibility and traceability have always been a major capability desired within the sector. In road freight transport, the adoption of telematics boxes (or on-board computing) on board trucks in the 2000s enabled a real leap forward in the collection of real-time information. "Digital technology has not given birth to tracking and tracing, but it has multiplied its potential. Digital tools simplify connections with telematics systems and the accessibility of information to those who can use them. But as with price, information is valuable only if it is well interpreted and used by trusted third parties", said Mathieu Renier, Product Manager at Upply.

The know-how of the providers is a key element in creating value between the collection of information and its restitution. As a visibility provider, Shippeo’s digital platform is able to do more than just collect and display the position of vehicles on a map. Thanks to a proprietary algorithm based on machine learning, it provides highly accurate estimated time of arrival (ETA) for goods. This makes it possible to identify and anticipate potential problems, proactively alert customers and facilitates corrective actions. Any anomalies on the condition of goods (quantity or quality) can also be reported.

A major advantage for shippers and carriers

These new capabilities are being integrated into Upply’s digital freight transportation marketplace, which is dedicated to putting road transportation shippers and carriers in direct contact. The idea is to leverage digital capabilities to make new methods of collaboration possible, and simpler, within the sector. Mathieu Renier added: "By offering a matching and booking system that is unique on the market, Upply has developed a high-performance digital solution for connecting road transport supply and demand. Our platform can also manage the proof of delivery or financial flows. By now integrating Track & Trace solutions, we are able to offer a complete digital experience".

This improved visibility is a response to shippers' expectations. But it is also a major advantage for carriers who contract via the Upply marketplace. They can now deliver a better service to their own customers. Digital technology makes it possible to democratize access to tools that previously required massive investment.

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