In the world of logistics and supply chain management, efficient operations and timely delivery are paramount. One crucial aspect of logistics operations is trailer tracking, which involves monitoring and tracking trailers as they move throughout the transportation network. Trailer tracking technology has become increasingly popular and essential in modern logistics operations, offering numerous benefits and addressing critical needs. In this blog, we will walk through the stage of supply chain operations and the role trailer tracking plays.


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  • Loss Prevention. Reduce the amount of loss that occurs during the supply chain process
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Stages of Supply Chain

Each stage of the supply chain plays an important role in getting the finished inventory to the consumer on time. While the specific functions of each vary, this underlying goal remains the same. Monitoring each stage of the supply chain is crucial for several reasons. One of the most important reasons is it provides visibility and transparency into the flow of materials throughout the chain. By monitoring each stage, companies can identify bottlenecks, areas of inefficiency, and potential risks, allowing them to take proactive measures to address these issues. Additionally, location monitoring with the use of a trailer tracking system helps maintain quality control by identifying any deviations or defects at different stages of the supply chain. This allows for timely interventions to rectify problems and ensure that only high-quality products reach the customers. Furthermore, monitoring facilitates compliance with regulatory requirements and industry standards. By closely monitoring each stage, companies can ensure that all necessary regulations are followed, mitigating the risk of non-compliance and associated penalties. The best way to look at all this data and more is through reporting. By analyzing performance metrics and trends across different stages, companies can identify areas for optimization, cost reduction, and process enhancement. 

Manufacturing

The manufacturing process involves various functions to turn raw materials into finished inventory to sell. Having high production numbers leads to higher output and more sales. Through effective demand forecasting, manufacturers can plan production schedules and optimize inventory levels to prevent overstocking or stockouts. This stage works closely with suppliers to secure the necessary raw materials and components while also focusing on quality control to meet industry standards and regulations. If a bottleneck gets in the way of maximized production, you need a system in place to address the problem immediately or to even prevent the problem from happening in the first place. 

Employees are able to maximize efficiency by increasing uptime. Often, employees spend hours of their week searching for the tools, equipment, and materials they need to perform their job function. Utilizing asset tracking technology means employees can avoid time spent searching and instead perform their responsibilities more quickly and efficiently, leading to higher output.

Warehouse

Warehousing refers to the process of storing and managing goods in a centralized facility before they are distributed to customers. It serves as a key link between production and consumption, enabling efficient inventory management and facilitating the smooth flow of products. They enable manufacturers to store goods in bulk, allowing for economies of scale and better production planning. Warehouses also serve as consolidation points, where goods from different sources are collected, sorted, and prepared for distribution to retailers or end customers. 

Distributor

While every piece of the supply chain is essential for success, it can be argued that distributors have the most important role. Without them, the reseller or customer doesn’t receive their product. Distributors often have a long process they must undergo in order to fulfill their responsibilities. At times, they simply have to deliver packages to homes around their county, but they may have to travel across multiple states to move inventory to retailers or other distributors. With all the stops made throughout the delivery process, a variety of issues may arise. Whether pallets are lost, forgotten, or even stolen, companies need to prepare a way to get these pallets back.

One of the best ways to ensure a safe and on-time delivery is to gain visibility of your remote, unpowered assets. A trailer tracking solution provides this visibility by monitoring the location of trailers and pallets with a trailer tracking device. 

Reseller

Resellers play a significant role in the supply chain as intermediaries between manufacturers or producers and end customers. They acquire products in bulk from manufacturers and then distribute them to retailers or directly to consumers. Resellers can include wholesalers or retailers operating in various industries. Depending on the company, their responsibilities may overlap with that of a distributor. One of the key roles of resellers is to bridge the gap between supply and demand. They help manufacturers reach a wider market by leveraging their distribution networks, market knowledge, and customer relationships. Resellers often have expertise in specific product categories or target markets, enabling them to effectively promote and sell products to the right customers. By providing access to a diverse range of products from different manufacturers, resellers offer customers a wide selection and convenience in their purchasing decisions. Resellers may also provide additional support such as packaging, labeling, and customization to meet specific customer requirements. With all the moving pieces they’re in charge of, communication and manual systems for tracking can get messy. Asset tracking can make it easier to manage all the assets and inventory they’re responsible for. Having a reporting system is especially important so that managers can view all the data they need in one area to ease decision-making.

Customer

The supply chain exists for the customer’s benefit. As such, customers play a crucial role in the supply chain, even going beyond their traditional role as recipients of goods or services. Their actions and preferences have a significant impact on the entire supply chain, making their involvement and collaboration essential for success. One key aspect of their role is in demand and forecasting. By observing customers' purchasing patterns and demands, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers can accurately forecast and plan for future demand. Customer feedback, market research, and sales data each provide valuable insights that help organizations align their supply chain strategies with customer expectations, leading to better inventory management and improved customer satisfaction.

Another important aspect is the influence customers have on product design and innovation. Their needs, feedback, and preferences drive product development and improvement. By actively engaging with customers through surveys, focus groups, and market research, organizations gather valuable insights that shape product features, packaging, sustainability efforts, and usability. Involving customers in the early stages of product development ensures that the supply chain is aligned with their demands from the start, leading to products that better meet their expectations.

The best way to ensure the best customer service is through communication. Communication around product development is something most companies have in place already. An area of communication that falls short, however, is in the delivery process. Often, companies lack visibility of the customer’s package. This lack of visibility means arrival delays go unnoticed and uncommunicated until well after the fact. A trailer tracker provides the fleet manager with this visibility so the customer can be notified immediately of a delay. And if a lost package is causing the delay, the customer doesn’t have to wait for the entire supply chain to happen again; the manager can retrieve the package through the use of trailer tracking technology and send it back on its way to the customer.

The Importance of Complete Supply Chain Visibility

Each stage must be completed before moving on to the next. If there is a delay or issue at any stage, the rest of the supply chain is affected. Problems in one part of the supply chain can have significant ripple effects on the rest of the chain. Supply chains are interconnected and rely on the seamless flow of materials, information, and services. When an issue arises in one area, it can disrupt the entire chain, leading to various consequences. For example, if there is a delay in the production phase, it can cause a shortage of products, impacting inventory levels and availability. This can lead to stockouts or backorders, resulting in dissatisfied customers and lost sales. Similarly, if there are transportation or logistics problems, such as delays, damage, or loss, it can affect the timely delivery of goods, disrupt inventory management, and increase costs. Additionally, quality issues in one part of the chain can lead to defects or recalls, affecting downstream processes and customer satisfaction. Problems in any aspect of the supply chain can result in increased lead times, higher costs, decreased efficiency, and damaged relationships with suppliers, retailers, and customers. Therefore, it is crucial for supply chain stakeholders to use trailer tracking software to prevent and address issues so they can mitigate their impact and maintain the smooth operation of the entire supply chain.

Traceability vs. Chain of Custody

Traceability and chain of custody are two concepts that are often used in the context of supply chain management and product tracking. While they are related, they serve different purposes.

Traceability refers to the ability to track and trace the movement of products or other components throughout the supply chain. It involves capturing and recording relevant information about the origin, production, processing, and distribution of goods. With traceability, companies can have visibility into the entire lifecycle of a product, including its various stages and locations. This information can be used to ensure product quality, identify and address issues or recalls, comply with regulations, and provide transparency to consumers. Traceability is especially important in the food and beverage industry, where compliance is critical.

Chain of custody, on the other hand, focuses on the documentation and control of physical items of value as they move through different hands. It is commonly used in the transportation industry, where documentation around production and delivery is essential for ensuring the timely and safe arrival of packages. The chain of custody involves documenting who had possession of an item at each stage, the duration of possession, and any changes or handling that occurred within that window.

While both traceability and chain of custody involve tracking and recording the movement of goods or items, their purposes and applications differ. Traceability is primarily concerned with the flow and history of products within the supply chain, whereas chain of custody is focused on the legal documentation of valuable items. Both concepts play important roles in ensuring accountability, transparency, and reliability in different contexts within the broader field of supply chain management.

How Chain of Custody Strengthens the Supply Chain

Chain of custody strengthens the supply chain by providing a robust framework for maintaining the integrity, security, and transparency of products as they move through different stages of the process. It ensures that there is a documented record of custody, possession, and handling at each step from production to distribution. By establishing a clear chain of custody, companies can prevent unauthorized access, tampering, or contamination of goods, thereby safeguarding product quality and safety. This level of accountability also helps in detecting and addressing any issues or anomalies that may arise during the supply chain process. Additionally, the chain of custody documentation provides legal and regulatory compliance, especially in industries with strict regulations or when dealing with sensitive or valuable items. By implementing a strong chain of custody, companies can enhance trust among stakeholders, improve customer relationships, and mitigate potential liabilities, ultimately strengthening the overall supply chain ecosystem.

Will You Invest in Trailer Tracking?

AirFinder Everywhere plays a crucial role in trailer tracking by providing advanced and reliable tracking solutions for logistics operations. As a leading provider of IoT-based asset tracking technology, AirFinder Everywhere offers real-time visibility and monitoring of trailers and the pallets on them throughout their journey. By equipping trailers with AirFinder tracking devices, logistics companies can effortlessly track their trailers' locations, movements, and conditions. The innovative technology offers GPS tracking, geofencing capabilities, and sensor integration, allowing for comprehensive monitoring of trailers' routes, temperatures, and security. AirFinder Everywhere's cloud-based platform provides an intuitive interface that enables logistics teams to access accurate and up-to-date information about their trailer fleet. With its robust features and seamless integration, AirFinder Everywhere empowers logistics companies to optimize trailer utilization, enhance security, improve operational efficiency, and provide exceptional customer service. Overall, AirFinder Everywhere plays a pivotal role in revolutionizing trailer tracking, enabling logistics operations to stay ahead in a rapidly evolving industry.

In today's fast-paced logistics landscape, trailer tracking has become an indispensable tool for effective and efficient operations. With enhanced visibility, security, optimization, and compliance, trailer tracking technology addresses critical needs in logistics operations. By adopting trailer tracking solutions, logistics companies can streamline their operations, reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction, and stay competitive in an increasingly demanding industry. Embracing trailer tracking is a wise investment that yields significant benefits and transforms logistics operations into well-oiled, secure, and efficient systems. To learn more about how trailer tracking improves every step of the supply chain, book a demo with our team of experts.Trailer Tracking

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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