Supply chain visibility is key to controlling shipping costs.
Knowledge is still power. As freight rates keep soaring, it becomes increasingly important to get a handle on your freight operations, just to hang on – and hopefully gain a measure of control.
With surface transportation in the United States tight, we see factors in place to keep supply limited while demand keeps climbing. Shippers are being hit with hefty price demands from carriers as the current round of annual rate talks begins. Companies that moved contract talks to the first quarter last year to avoid rate hikes during the holiday shipping season are seeing those price hikes now. At the same time, producers are being squeezed by more and more demanding customer delivery times. They need highly capable, service-oriented carriers to comply with tight delivery windows from mega-retailers such as Walmart and others, making it difficult to obtain lower pricing by carrier-shopping. These trends are combining to place greater emphasis on visibility in shippers’ supply chains, to increase efficiency. Forward-looking shippers are tying global visibility into demand planning.
Not content with the ability to track shipments within a single mode, cutting-edge logistics providers are enabling end-to-end visibility for shipments, from international ocean freight in a shipping container overseas in a country of origin, through all the modes in which goods might travel before reaching the ultimate destination in the U.S. Integrating global and North American transportation modes eliminates the gaps or “black holes” that obscure freight data as shipments move from mode to mode, stitching data together to create a single visibility layer.
TOTALogistix is among the firms pushing the technology to knock down the walls that once prevented the integration of carrier, shipper, third-party and consignee systems, allowing the integration that is increasingly critical to controlling costs. For shippers facing steep rate hikes and the promise of more volatility in transportation networks ahead, that convergence cannot come quickly enough.