At the heart of the intricate web of supply chain processes lies the element of cargo tracking. The effectiveness with which goods are tracked and managed throughout their journey can make or break a customer’s experience and the company's competitive edge. Let’s dive into the pivotal role of cargo tracking in supply chain management, its significance, and the technologies driving its evolution. 


 

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  • Loss Prevention. Reduce the amount of loss that occurs during the supply chain process
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  • Security Alerts. Know when a delay in shipment has occurred so the problem
    can be addressed immediately.

 

Main Components of Supply Chain Management

A properly managed supply chain is essential for successful logistics operations. Each part of the supply chain plays an important role in getting assets from point A to point B efficiently and on time. It’s crucial to carefully monitor each stage to guarantee operational efficiency. 

Planning

The planning component of supply chain management is the foundational step that sets the stage for the entire process. It involves the strategic decisions made to ensure the efficient and effective flow of goods and services from suppliers to customers. At its core, supply chain planning entails forecasting demand, setting inventory levels, and establishing production schedules. Companies rely on historical data, market trends, and customer insights to create accurate demand forecasts. These forecasts serve as the basis for all subsequent supply chain activities.

A well-executed planning process leads to numerous benefits, including cost reduction through better inventory management, improved customer service by meeting demand accurately, and enhanced agility to respond to changing market conditions. However, planning is not a one-time effort; it requires continuous monitoring and adjustment to adapt to evolving customer preferences, market dynamics, and unforeseen disruptions. This is the area in which IoT technology becomes useful for companies. This technology monitors supply chain activities for use in planning efforts. Understanding how efficient your supply chain is right now is crucial for making adjustments to increase efficiency in the future. In essence, the planning component is the compass that guides logistics operations, ensuring they align with organizational goals and customer expectations. 

Production

The production component of supply chain management is a critical stage in the process, where raw materials are transformed into finished products to meet customer demand. It involves a series of activities and decisions aimed at optimizing the manufacturing process within a supply chain.

Key aspects of the production component include:

Production Planning: This is the initial step where organizations determine what and how much to produce based on demand forecasts, sales orders, and available resources. Effective production planning helps in maintaining optimal inventory levels and avoiding overproduction or stockouts.

Scheduling: Once production plans are in place, scheduling ensures that production activities are executed in a timely and efficient manner. It involves allocating resources, setting up production lines, and coordinating workflows to meet production targets.

Quality Control: Ensuring product quality is essential to meet customer expectations and minimize defects. Quality control processes are integrated into production to identify and rectify any issues promptly.

The production component also encompasses decisions related to production methods, technology adoption, and workforce management. Advances in technology, such as asset tracking, have transformed production processes, leading to increased efficiency and flexibility. Efficient production management not only reduces manufacturing costs but also enables organizations to respond quickly to changes in demand and market conditions. Additionally, it plays a crucial role in maintaining product consistency and quality, which are essential for customer satisfaction and brand reputation. 

Logistics and Distribution

The logistics component of supply chain management is the driving force behind the physical movement of goods and materials within the supply chain. It encompasses a multifaceted set of activities, strategies, and decisions aimed at optimizing the seamless flow of products from suppliers to customers. Modern logistics operations rely heavily on trailer tracking devices to track and monitor the movement of goods, providing real-time visibility into supply chain operations.

Warehousing is another pivotal element of logistics and distribution. Efficient warehousing is vital for storing and managing inventory, ensuring products are readily available when needed, and minimizing lead times. Inventory management within warehousing revolves around maintaining the right inventory levels at the right locations. This essential function helps minimize carrying costs while guaranteeing that products are readily available to meet customer demands.

The logistics component also extends to the design of distribution networks that optimize the delivery of products to various destinations, such as retail stores, wholesalers, or directly to consumers. These distribution networks are strategically planned to minimize both costs and lead times. It encompasses a diverse set of strategies and activities aimed at efficiently moving goods from production or storage facilities to various points of sale or consumption. Effective distribution is essential for ensuring that products reach the right customers promptly, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Moreover, it plays a pivotal role in managing costs and sustaining competitiveness in the marketplace.

Asset tracking is a crucial component of distribution operations, offering companies the ability to monitor and manage their assets, including the cargo on their vehicles. Asset tracking is often used by companies to improve route optimization and track the location of their non-powered assets. Fleet vehicles and their routes can be tracked in real-time, allowing for the optimization of delivery schedules and route planning, resulting in cost savings. Asset tracking also aids in loss prevention. Goods being transferred often become the target of theft or get accidentally left behind. If a trailer is broken into or a package is left at the warehouse without a fleet manager's knowledge, customer relationships get hurt. 

Customer Service

Effective customer service begins with responsive and user-friendly order processing. This involves handling customer inquiries, providing accurate product information, and swiftly processing orders, ensuring a seamless purchasing experience. Once an order is placed, it's crucial to manage order fulfillment efficiently. Timely and accurate order picking, packing, and shipping are essential to meet customer expectations. Any delays or errors can negatively impact customer satisfaction. Furthermore, customer service extends to managing returns and addressing customer issues or concerns promptly and professionally. Providing hassle-free return processes and effective problem resolution can turn potential issues into opportunities to build trust and loyalty.

Communication is key in customer service. Maintaining transparent and open lines of communication with customers, whether through multiple contact channels or trailer tracking systems, helps keep customers informed about the status of their orders and any potential delays. Customer service within supply chain management plays a pivotal role in maintaining strong customer relationships. Exceptional customer service can turn satisfied customers into brand advocates, driving business growth and ensuring long-term success in today's competitive marketplace.

Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement is a cornerstone of effective supply chain management, emphasizing the persistent pursuit of better processes and outcomes. It underscores the belief that there's always room for improvement in supply chain efficiency. To embody continuous improvement, companies strategically evaluate and refine their supply chain operations, aiming to reduce costs and elevate quality. This involves key elements such as establishing performance metrics, analyzing data and feedback, and optimizing processes. A trailer tracking solution can be used to provide the data needed to make decisions around areas of improvement. This ongoing commitment to enhancement ensures that supply chain operations remain efficient and effective, ultimately contributing to the organization's long-term success.

The Significance of Cargo Tracking

Cargo tracking plays a pivotal role in modern supply chain management. It is the process of monitoring the movement and location of goods and products as they traverse the supply chain from the point of origin to their final destination. This tracking provides real-time visibility into the status, condition, and whereabouts. First and foremost, cargo tracking enhances supply chain visibility. In an era where global supply chains span vast distances and involve multiple stakeholders, knowing the precise location of goods is crucial for effective management. This visibility helps organizations anticipate and respond to potential disruptions, such as delays or unexpected events, with greater agility and efficiency. For example, if a shipment is delayed due to adverse weather conditions, fleet managers can make quick adjustments to schedules and communicate delays to customers, mitigating the impact of the disruption.

Moreover, cargo tracking enhances security. In a world where cargo theft results in significant financial losses and jeopardizes the safety of goods, a cargo GPS tracking device provides an added layer of security. Through use of a trailer tracking system, companies can monitor cargo for unauthorized access or tampering, enabling rapid response and reducing the risk of theft or damage. Theft isn’t the only reason cargo can go missing. Sometimes miscommunication or forgetfulness leads to cargo being loaded onto the incorrect trailer or left at the shipping facility entirely. A trailer tracking device attached to cargo tracks the location at all times for easy and quick recovery. Even more, you can set up a geofence around your facility so any issues are addressed before it causes long delays. This enhanced visibility empowers organizations to mitigate the impact of disruptions and ensure a smoother supply chain operation.

Cargo tracking also contributes to improved customer satisfaction. Today's consumers have come to expect timely and accurate information about the status of their orders. By providing customers with real-time tracking updates, companies can enhance transparency and manage customer expectations more effectively. This, in turn, leads to increased trust and loyalty from customers.

Trailer tracking additionally supports compliance and regulatory requirements. Many industries have strict regulations governing the storage and transportation of goods. Real-time location tracking and temperature monitoring ensure products are handled in accordance with these regulations, helping organizations remain compliant and avoid penalties.

Tools To Use When Tracking Cargo

There are several methods companies have used to keep track of their cargo, each with its own advantages and applications. Here are some of the most common ways to track cargo:

Barcode and QR Code Scanning

Barcodes and QR codes are commonly used for cargo tracking since they were the first step in moving away from fully manual efforts. These codes can be scanned at various points in the supply chain to collect data on the assets being transferred. Scanning these codes provides information about the product and its location. This has been a beneficial tool to many companies but has fallen short in the most important aspect, human error. It’s easy to forget to scan a code when loading or delivering a package. The easiest way to overcome this problem is to utilize a fully automated system.

Trailer Tracking

A trailer tracker is widely used to track cargo in real-time. These cargo tracking devices can be attached to individual packages for continuous tracking and monitoring. These technology systems offer precise location data and are particularly useful for tracking shipments in transit, ensuring they stay on the intended route and arrive on time.

Do You Track Your Cargo?

Cargo tracking is a tool companies are using to navigate the complex world of logistics. This multifaceted tool ensures the efficient movement of goods and provides companies with invaluable asset information, enhancing transparency and customer satisfaction. Cargo tracking is an indispensable tool for modern supply chain management spanning over various supply chain components including supply chain visibility, security, and data-driven decision-making.

AirFinder Everywhere is a cutting-edge solution used to track cargo in real-time. The tags can be easily attached to containers, pallets, or individual packages, offering a granular level of tracking. This comprehensive cargo tracking system not only ensures the precise location of goods but also monitors their condition throughout the supply chain journey through embedded sensors. Its ability to deliver accurate and real-time data empowers companies to optimize their supply chain operations and maintain security of their cargo.

In today's interconnected and dynamic global economy, the ability to track and trace cargo in real time is not just a competitive advantage; it's a necessity for organizations seeking to thrive in the complex world of supply chain management. To learn how you can use our AirFinder solution to track your cargo, book a demo with our team.

Telematics vs. Trailer Tracking: Which Should You Use for Supply Chain Data Analytics?

Written by Emily Saldivar

Emily Saldivar is a Marketing Specialist for Link Labs and has been with the company since 2020. She has a background in content writing and is furthering the Link Labs mission through social media and other platforms.

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