In an attempt to remain competitive despite the challenges of a volatile post-pandemic logistics industry, shippers are increasingly turning to container visibility solutions. These tech-enabled solutions, built around fully-integrated APIs (Automated Programming Interfaces), represent the latest in logistics innovation and provide shippers with the end-to-end supply chain visibility they need to deliver shipments affordably, efficiently, and reliably.
With such high demand for container visibility solutions, the amount of companies offering container tracking services has grown exponentially. A 2021 report from the Journal of Commerce reports that the value of the North American freight visibility market, worth only $3 million in 2020, is expected to crest at $1 billion by 2024. With this kind of growth forecasted for the near future, it’s clear that container visibility solutions are a must-have for today’s shippers.
But with more companies competing for shippers' container visibility budget, how can shippers know which container tracking partner is right for their logistics needs? With this problem in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the top five questions shippers should ask their potential container tracking visibility partner. Using these questions, shippers can ensure that their container tracking visibility partner is the right choice to guide them through the turbulent waters of today’s logistics.
What Regions and Modes are Covered?
Imagine a shipment traveling from the bustling Port of Shenzhen in the South China Sea to a clothing retailer in Chicago. That is a 7,770-mile trek that would require either air or ocean freight service to cross the Pacific, then overland transport (via truck or rail) across America, and finally, a smaller last-mile delivery vehicle to reach the final destination. For businesses, this multimodal journey represents three distinct points at which something could go wrong. Without the real-time visibility afforded by a container tracking partner, they’ll be unable to adjust course should an exception arise.
That’s why shippers must understand the full range of services a potential container visibility partner offers. If a shipper uses a variety of transportation mediums, as is increasingly becoming the norm throughout the logistics industry, finding a visibility provider specializing in multimodal shipping is a must. Regardless of which transportation medium a shipper uses, ensuring that their container visibility provider has experience and capability in all regions and modes within the shipper's unique logistics process is vital to a successful container tracking relationship.
What’s the User Experience Like?
Unlike most logistics technologies, the fully-integrated API offered by many container visibility partners will almost certainly be used by all parties within a shipper's supply chain–including the end customer.
With the container visibility software platform often serving as an end-customers only point of communication with a shipper, a smooth, seamless user experience is a must-have if shippers want to continue working with a customer. With e-commerce sales rising 50% during the pandemic and soaring ever higher from there, it’s more important than ever for shippers to do whatever it takes to stand out in a jam-packed logistics marketplace.
How is the Data Accessed?
Careful vetting of potential container tracking partners is paramount in the search for supply chain efficiency. However, many container visibility software providers fall into one of two pitfalls:
- Their software interface is too antiquated to be of any use, accessible only through a single computer or clunky interface.
- Their software is too complicated for staff and contractors to understand quickly, making them unlikely to use it regularly.
In either case, shippers are paying for container visibility data their team cannot access easily, resulting in wasted time and inefficiency..
Therefore, shippers should ask potential container tracking partners how to access their container visibility data. Shippers can better understand the benefits afforded to their employees and contractors through container visibility software by learning how vital logistics data will be accessed and trying a demo of the container tracking interface. Through a partnership with an API-enabled, cross-platform container tracking software provider, shippers can ensure that their container visibility data is available whenever and wherever their employees and contractors need it, giving them on-demand access to the efficiency they need.
Who Are Their Other Business Partners?
A client list can say a lot about a company. Beyond establishing a container tracking software provider's reputation, a client list can reveal valuable insights into a visibility provider's specific areas of expertise. For today’s major logistical crises, shippers need container visibility providers with deep experience.
By closely examining a container tracking software provider's client list, shippers can better understand their experience within the logistics industry. Do their clients tend to be large or small, monomodal or multimodal? By ensuring that their experience aligns with the company’s needs, shippers can guarantee that they’ve found the right container visibility partner for their supply chain–not someone else’s.
What if Something Goes Wrong?
In today’s fraught logistics environment, it’s not so much if something goes wrong as when something goes awry—and with missed deliveries costing shippers and logistics parties an estimated $2 billion a year, according to reporting from Supply Chain 24/7, the cost of a mistake has never been higher. Shippers faced with increasingly steep costs for missed deliveries and demurrage and detention are desperate to access the container visibility they need to avoid the common hazards of the post-pandemic logistics environment.
By partnering with a container visibility software provider that has a plan in place for the worst-case scenario, shippers can forge ahead with confidence in a perilous global shipping landscape. Assets like customizable exception alerts ensure that a shipper's entire supply chain can be informed the moment an exception occurs, resulting in a faster response time and–in the end–a happier customer.
Find the Answers Your Business Needs — Partner with OpenTrack Today
Today’s shippers don’t need gimmicks and empty promises; they need a container visibility partner they can trust. Through a partnership with OpenTrack, shippers can gain easy access to the cutting-edge, API-enabled technology driving the logistics industry forward. Book a demo with OpenTrack today, and see what the future of logistics can offer your business.