DHL Supply Chain North America, a part of Deutsche Post DHL Group, the giant, global logistics services supplier recently took a hard look at the top trends they see impacting supply chain management in 2019. One of their observations is that digitalization is closing the transportation service gap and helping shippers think beyond today’s shipment.
“Digitalization is being applied broadly to a host of supply chain issues, but the area that will benefit most directly in 2019 is transportation. A number of digital solutions are emerging to enable the industry to make better use of available transportation resources and close the service gap,” the company noted in a recent press release. “Cloud-based transportation management systems (TMS) are extending the value of TMS to smaller enterprises, providing the insight and data to optimize resources. In addition, increased use of the [Internet of Things] in the form of fleet management systems allows data from truck operations to improve utilization and reduce downtime.”
It makes sense. A lot of things can be accomplished if you know where a truck or a load is, how the traffic is moving, how many hours the driver has left on the clock, if there are any maintenance issues emerging with the vehicle that could create delays, and so on. Doing a better job predicting freight pickup and delivery times is one of those things. To work, of course, it takes two—the shipper and the carrier. Plenty of technology suppliers are betting that the supply chain partners are up to the task.
FourKites, for example, recently announced the release of a new “DynamicETA” algorithm that it says can predict more precise freight delivery times for shippers and carriers, based upon analysis of more than 150 data points. “Real-time data and predictive intelligence are critical to the future of supply chains,” Mathew Elenjickal, CEO and founder of FourKites, explained. “The industry must evolve from occasionally accurate day-of-arrival times to consistently accurate hour-of-arrival times. Real-time visibility was the first step and now we’re demonstrating the power of AI [artificial intelligence] and large data sets to dramatically improve supply chain efficiency.”
According to FourKites, one food and grocery wholesaler with more than 30,000 weekly deliveries achieved 91% accuracy predicting arrival times to within a one-hour window. It had a 97% accuracy rate predicting arrivals within a six-hour window.
Numerous other software suppliers, such as Carrier Logistics Inc.; TMW Systems, a Trimble company; McLeod Software; and Verizon Connect also offer tools that can incorporate data from diverse sources, run what-if scenarios, and update plans and routes automatically in real time, as needed. Better visibility gives carriers and their customers the opportunity to avoid problems and delays and prepare for smoother (and probably happier) interactions dockside.
This is the second part of a series on how shippers and carriers are working together in the modern freight world. Tomorrow, we’ll look at digital freight matching and automated load-tracking. Read Part 1, Part 3 and Part 4.