Real-time tracking in shipping is done using technologies such as global positioning system (GPS) and IoT (Internet of Things) to leverage businesses and logistics companies with real-time updates. In traditional shipping, stakeholders struggled to get updates about the status and location of their shipments while in transit. With the help of real-time tracking in shipping, it has become easier to locate the shipment in transit and know its status. It facilitates cargo security by preventing chances of cargo tampering. Further, real-time information sharing is used across the supply chain for inventory management, risk management, and route optimisation and offers supply chain visibility. Let us learn more about real-time tracking in shipping and its advantages.
What do you mean by real-time tracking?
Real-time tracking uses technology to track assets such as vehicles and objects. It enables organisations and businesses to continuously track and monitor an asset or entity’s location, status, and data in the supply chain. The real-time tracking systems rely on technologies such as GPS, RFID, and IoT to interconnect various assets across systems in the supply chain. With the revolutionising effect of 5G technology, systems across all organisations in the supply chain are interconnected and allow easy sharing of live data in real-time. For this, various hardware and software collaborate to offer instant updates without any delay in sharing information. The data is collected and shared with the concerned party in no time when it is connected with 5G technology.
In short, the supply chain industry is a network of multiple businesses and organisations that rely on information and data sharing in real-time. If assets are to be carried from point A to point B physically, real-time tracking helps in knowing the exact location, status, and time of arrival of the shipment. It also helps get quicker updates on any information, such as the availability of goods in the supplier market. Stakeholders in the supply chain use real-time tracking devices and technology to improve efficiency.
What is the use of real-time tracking in the supply chain?
The global supply chain hosts several industries, including shipping, container, logistics and transportation. Collaboration and cooperation between these sectors is essential for the seamless flow of the supply chain operations. All the stakeholders in the supply chain of any business need real-time updates about the movement of assets to offer further assistance. For example- The container industry must be aware of the influx of demands in the supply chain to prepare containers for leasing and selling. Similarly, shipping companies must have real-time updates about the shipment status to pack them and send them for inspections and further containerisation. Importers need real-time updates to estimate the arrival of shipments to make further bookings with distributors and other transportation facilities. Real-time tracking is used in the supply chain for-
- Asset management– Various assets such as containers, equipment, pallets, and vehicles are stored in different locations. Real-time tracking allows businesses and companies to know about the availability of valuable assets near their locations. Also, it helps the supply chain management monitor the assets to avoid theft or tampering.
- Ensuring regulatory compliances– The international movement of goods and resources across the supply chain requires strict adherence to regulations and guidelines. Real-time tracking offers warning alerts in case of any unauthorised access.
- Analysing efficiency– It is essential to analyse the operational efficiency of the supply chain to look for inefficiencies, loopholes, and potential risks for optimising supply chain operations. The supply chain management can use the data collected through real-time tracking to improve the inefficiencies.
- Supply chain visibility– It becomes easier for stakeholders to track the status of their shipment instead of staying in a dilemma about the location and status of the shipment. It also helps prevent theft and tampering of the shipment.
Advantages of real-time tracking in shipping
The benefits of real-time tracking in shipping are as follows-
- Enhances supply chain visibility– Stakeholders in the shipping industry can access the location and status of their shipment due to real-time tracking technology. It helps assist users with real-time updates and gives businesses a better shipping experience by keeping away all anxiety about the condition of cargo upon delivery.
- Improves customer satisfaction – Traditional logistics did not offer supply chain transparency, and the shippers had to call the logistics company to get updates about the shipment status. Real-time tracking technology gives a close estimate of the shipment’s expected arrival time. This way, shippers or consignees can schedule other intermodal pickups based on the estimated arrival time of goods or inform partner suppliers to do so. Real-time tracking reduces customer inquiries and reduces chances of cargo tampering.
- Efficient inventory management – Manufacturers and suppliers often struggle with managing inventory levels and face surplus or stockouts for specific products. Real-time tracking technology, such as IoT, helps provide real-time information about the status of products in the inventory. With the help of demand forecasting, it becomes easier to stock more products or clear out products near their expiry dates.
- Proactive risk management – One of the significant benefits of real-time tracking in shipping is that it makes the shipping processes more predictable. Data analytics on real-time information helps detect potential route diversions, resource failures or other issues during shipping. By using a proactive approach, shipping companies address such problems and use alternate routes or carry out repairs for their resources.
- Cost-effective shipping – Real-time tracking helps in route optimisation that prevents wastage of fuel during transportation, leading to cost savings. It also saves labour expenses and reduces carbon emissions caused by shipping activities.
Applications of real-time tracking in shipping
Real-time tracking in shipping helps shippers, logistics companies and other stakeholders in various ways. Let us learn more about the application of real-time information sharing in shipping.
- Data analytics– Data is generated through various activities in shipping. These vast data stores are sent for big data analytics. The role of big data analytics is to filter insights for improving operational efficiency, productivity, and cost-effectiveness in the global supply chain. Real-time data generated from tracking resources and assets helps filter compelling insights based on current data. It also helps in carrying out AI based- predictive maintenance.
- Inventory management– Warehousing and inventory management are essential to the shipping business. IoT devices are attached to track inventory levels in real-time. It helps in knowing the shortage or surplus of goods, and using data analytics, manufacturers or suppliers can stock their inventories based on upcoming market demands.
- Route optimisation– Effective shipping occurs through agile transportation. Real-time data about weather and routes helps in filtering the best navigable route with the least amount of traffic using RFID and GPS in shipping. In case of uncertain traffic or busy routes, real-time tracking helps offer alternate routes to steer clear of shipment delays.
- Container tracking– Logistics service providers work to offer greater customer satisfaction by enabling container tracking technology that provides real-time data about the status and location of shipments. It helps in enhancing supply chain transparency and enhances reliability in shipping.
- Risk management– Shipping involves potential risks of cargo damage, cargo theft, failure or breakdown of resources during shipping, and uncertainties such as geopolitical events in shipping. Logistics companies use real-time data to predict uncertainties, carry out risk assessments and formulate solutions for risk management in shipping.
These are the advantages of real-time tracking in shipping that allow data analytics, inventory management, route optimisation, container tracking and risk management.