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Logistics Performance Management Challenge #4: How Can I Improve Cross-Border Shipping Visibility?

This is the fourth article in our series on Logistics Performance Management (LPM) and how to overcome challenges in the supply chain. Previously, we’ve discussed how to track cargo in real time, ensure on-time deliveries and avoid late shipment fees. This blog discusses the how to gain visibility into the real-time status of cross-border shipments.

Global manufacturers are taking advantage of the Internet of Things (IoT) to create smart factory floors. Now, you can use that same technology to improve your entire supply chain and eliminate costly disruptions. As this article in Supply Chain Dive notes, “IoT is likely to provide the next generation of track-and-trace: faster, more accurate and predictive and more secure” – and the truth is, the technology is available today.

Make your supply chain smarter with IoT sensors

IoT-based, cargo-tracking sensors can make your supply chain smarter by providing the comprehensive cargo visibility that is often hard to access today. They can deliver, as indicated in the above article, “item-level condition monitoring, ensuring that goods arrive in time, at the right place and intact.”

This is particularly helpful with cross-border logistics, as these devices—and the real-time in-transit data they generate—can give companies the power to overcome some of their biggest international shipping challenges. Here’s a quick look at what a program with IoT-based sensors delivers:

  • Real-time insights and visibility. Many cargo tracking devices are associated with the shipping conveyance, rather than with tracking the cargo itself. Plus, with cross-border shipments, there often will be multiple carriers that don’t share or communicate in-transit data effectively. With IoT-based cargo tracking sensors that travel right with your cargo, you can always know where your shipments are, regardless of carrier or location, and effectively reduce dwell time for your time-sensitive shipments.
  • Intelligence when you need it. Without the ability to get real-time data, companies often not only don’t know where their cargo is, but they also have a hard time figuring out when it will be delivered, especially when international borders are involved. With real-time intelligence, you can get all the location data you need on your shipments, along with other critical information, such as data on temperature excursions or extended dwell time, to make important decisions in the moment.
  • Integrated data and systems. Companies often make big investments in transportation management, enterprise resource planning, warehouse management and other supply chain management systems. But, as you ship your cargo across global borders, it can be difficult to properly update these systems with timely information. By integrating real-time IoT sensor data with your existing systems, you can fully leverage their functionality to optimize and automate your supply chain.
  • End-to-end control. Having all of this in-transit information at your fingertips can help manage delays and schedule changes to optimize manufacturing operations. This is important for order management and logistics teams that need immediate updates on your cargo’s status. With IoT-based sensors, you can get automated alerts that allow for fast, cost-efficient and intelligent decision making.
  • Identifiable risk. The data you need today to manage your supply chain goes beyond just visibility. You need to gain critical transparency and context on what’s working—and what’s not—to identify vulnerable areas of risk. By capturing supply chain metrics, such as carrier performance, you can find the root causes of shipping delays, interruptions and other performance issues to remediate issues quickly and efficiently.
  • Quick deployment. With some real-time sensing programs, it may be weeks or months for the devices to be configured, set up and delivered to you. That can make long shipping schedules even longer. Pre-configured sensors customized to your requirements can help save you time and money. These efficient devices can often be shipped to you overnight, applied just like a shipping label in the packaging process and activated immediately to start real-time tracking from that moment on.
  • Global support. If you are a global company, you need worldwide support for your supply chain partners no matter where your products are shipped and delivered. This is key as shipments cross borders and involve multiple logistics partners and carriers. With the right data, technology and local support, you can get a consolidated, comprehensive picture of your global supply chain, ensuring a smooth flow of goods across multiple partners and regions.