To improve their end-to-end supply chain visibility, shippers are looking for real-time transportation visibility (RTTV) solutions. The core functionality of these solutions is to provide in-transit tracking information and ETA predictions during transport of shipments from pick-up till delivery. Various providers offer all kind of solutions. Benefits regarding improvement of the supply chain performance and cost reduction are obvious but how to select the solution that best fits your objectives and requirements?
In general, shippers will decide which solution to select based on functionality and services provided, technology used and total cost of ownership. The selection criteria for real-time transportation visibility solutions are summarized in the overview below.
First of all the scope of the solution must meet the requirements regarding geography (e.g. Europe, North America, APAC, etc.), industry/flows (e.g. inbound and/or outbound in manufacturing), transport modes (FTL, LTL/groupage, parcel, ocean, air, rail and/or multi-modal) and tracking level (product, orders, shipment and/or truck).
In addition to the core functionality of a RTTV solution additional functionality might be required like condition tracking (e.g. temperature), document management (e.g. eBOL/ePOD) or workflow management.
Various methods for carrier integration will impact data availability and quality. Integration with the shipper’s systems and user access needs to be based on the user groups that will benefit from the RTTV solution (e.g. transport planners, material planners, customer service and/or external customers).
Also, the legal and IT requirements regarding system integration, security and compliance need to be taken in account.
The providers will of course support the configuration and integration of the solution. They might differ though regarding the carrier onboarding approach, training capabilities and ROI optimisation support.
Ability to execute/vision
The strategy and priorities of the provider regarding extension of the scope of the solution and development of new functionality might determine whether there is also a fit in the future. The current footprint and implementation approach will have big impact on the speed of implementation.
Total costs of ownership
Costs of the solution will not only be determined by the investment and running costs charged by the provider, but also by internal project costs, IT integration costs and cost to be paid by the carriers.
What is most important?
The background and strategy of the provider regarding geography, industry/flows, transport modes and application will in particular determine the match with your objectives and requirements regarding carrier footprint, data quality and functionality of the solution and will indirectly also impact implementation and running costs.