The combination of increasingly demanding consumer expectations and more robust, feature-rich visibility platforms is causing more companies to shop visibility partners than ever before. Partnering with a visibility provider is crucial for shippers in the transportation and logistics industry of today—a good visibility solution drives customer experience and creates efficiencies and cost savings across your organization—but not everyone knows what to look for.
In a recent webinar hosted by JOC, VP, Supply Chain of Technicolor, Elaine Singleton, sat down with project44’s VP, Solutions Engineering, Jason Kerner, to discuss some of the most surprising and important things supply chain leaders have learned from buying and implementing advanced visibility platforms. Elaine also covered the reasons Technicolor ultimately selected project44 and the benefits they’ve seen since integrating. Check out a recap of the webinar, 4 Things I Wish I Knew Before Picking a Transportation Visibility Partner
Not All Platforms Offer Advanced Visibility
Singleton starts off by referencing the legacy methods companies used for supply chain visibility data—EDI, web scraping, email, FTP, phone calls, etc.—which she refers to as visibility 1.0. The goal was to collect any and all data possible, hope that some of it was usable, and hope that the usable data can be identified quickly enough to act on it. This approach is susceptible to pitfalls like data siloing, stale and inaccurate information, and inconsistent formatting. Bad data in means bad data out, and in order to keep up with industry trends, something had to change. Technicolor was an early adopter of this philosophy and sought out a visibility provider that could offer them more than the status quo.
Visibility 2.0, what project44 calls advanced visibility:
- Delivers accurate and predictive shipment tracking
- Provides visibility for all modes and multiple geographies
- Leverages the largest, most exclusive and fastest growing network
- Is powered by high-quality and trusted data
- Goes beyond tracking to provide end-to-end visibility and automation of key transportation processes
- Is modular, fast time-to-visibility and exceptional customer support
These are among the features Technicolor was searching for in a visibility partner, which they found in project44’s platform.
Data-Quality is King
Advanced visibility relies on high-quality data. It is crucial that you ensure your visibility provider has high standards and governs their sources accordingly. “You shouldn’t be afraid to ask what’s under the hood.” Says Kerner. Just because data is presented in a modern-looking UI doesn’t mean it’s coming from the best sources. Do your due diligence—ask for exports of data so you can check if it has been normalized, and check for timestamps from ELDs. Finding out when a telematics platform or other source recorded the data vs. when it got to the user will give you a clearer picture of how close to real-time a solution’s visibility data is.
Singleton said that Technicolor evaluated three different visibility providers before settling on project44. She liked that p44’s sales team were also product experts and that they were fully transparent about their capabilities and the sources of their data. It’s easier to make a decision when you know you’re getting what you want.
Solutions Must be Scalable
The industry is in the midst of a technological upgrade cycle, but it’s still in the early stages. As more companies adopt modern solutions, the supply chain at large is gaining a more advanced infrastructure to build on top of. There will be more advancements in the coming years—things like IoT, AI, Machine Learning, and blockchain—so choosing a scalable visibility solution that will allow you to leverage these technologies as they become available is important.
project44 is built on top of the latest frameworks like REST. We put a lot of thought into how our platform can be upgraded easily to integrate with new technologies, and we actively work with our partners to ensure those updates reflect their needs.
Technicolor’s Benefits From Advanced Visibility
Singleton went over some of the high-level benefits Technicolor has seen since adopting project44 as their advanced visibility platform. Due to the nature of their business, Technicolor often has to ship products so that they arrive at retailers before their specific release dates, “The expectation is perfection, and that’s where we deliver 99.9% of the products 3 days before the release date,” says Singleton. These are situations where data latency proves quite costly. project44’s real-time, high-quality data allows them to better manage exceptions, leading to more efficient use of resources. They saved money by eliminating the need to fall on backup plans. The end result is better customer service and experience.
They were also able to rechannel their call center, which used to be used almost exclusively to check on delivery statuses multiple times a day. After integrating with project44, they were receiving real-time status updates and other data that used to require phone calls to obtain, allowing their call centers to focus on servicing their customers.
This is a crucial time for visibility. If you aren’t partnered with a visibility provider it should be your highest priority—you simply cannot compete in today’s market without advanced visibility. Selecting the right transportation visibility partner makes a big difference, and listening to the experiences of companies like Technicolor, who have already gone through the process, helps you figure out what to look for.