The Dawn of Visibility and Transparency into International Logistics



The Dawn of Visibility and Transparency into International Logistics

The freight logistics industry is a lynch-pin of the U.S. economic bandwagon, being worth over $700 billion every year, and acting as one of the primary factors that decide economic growth in the country. But under the facade lies an industry that has largely remained conservative, immune to technology and lacking in transparency - a trait that has come to define the industry for many decades now.


For instance, take the freight industry which accounts for 70% of all freight movement in the country. 80% of all fleet companies own less than five trucks, making the industry highly fragmented and extremely difficult to induce transparency and visibility. Before the ELD mandate, most of the small fleets and owner-operators maintained paper logs, which made auditing a logistical nightmare.


Understanding demand was also a problem, with truckers generally calling up brokers and freight forwarders to get loads, making the process incredibly slow and inefficient. Digital freight marketplaces are now mushrooming around, promising to bring in more visibility on supply and demand - a much-needed tool in the logistics ecosystem.


Injecting transparency and visibility in the supply chain is vital to improving efficiency and improving the bottom line for businesses. To an extent, the advent of e-commerce into the mainstream rhetoric has been a wake-up call to the industry - propping up supply chains into the limelight while creating a space where consumerism and the logistics industry face-off.


The concern behind visibility in logistics casts a larger shadow than anticipated. A survey by Localz on last-mile logistics and its importance in the supply chain threw up an interesting statistic - that people chose visibility in their supply chain over same-day delivery. 56% of customers insisted on full visibility against 43% of the surveyed people opting for same-day delivery. The trend is revealing - in an age where information is available real-time through different mediums on the internet, it is inevitable that consumers feel this strongly about visibility in supply chains.


Product and equipment tracking in the logistics world are essential to plug the holes in supply chains, especially in the freight hauling space. Long hauling involves specific uncertainties along the way, and it helps the cause of the shipper and the receiver to have a real-time lead on the freight’s location, saving the company a lot of trouble.


Freight tracking platforms build services around this, providing visibility to every stakeholder in the hauling ecosystem - drivers, freight forwarders, shippers, 3PLs, and carriers - making it process fluid and easy to monitor.


Visibility and transparency go much beyond the smaller players in the freight industry and is now seen as a concern by the logistics giants, particularly in the shipping space. Companies have realized the need for data openness and standardization and are advocating different processes through which this could be achieved - with blockchain being the current favorite.


Maersk and IBM have embarked on a pilot project towards creating a joint venture to provide a more efficient and secure method for global trade using blockchain. This involves creating a platform that is built over open standards, which can be taken up by every player in the shipping ecosystem. Maritime trade has long been a chaotic space, and Maersk believes that this could bring in the desired transparency to move freight across borders with lessened friction.


On the other end of the globe, Samsung SDS has a similar venture out, where it is consolidating its position in the South China Sea as a force to be reckoned with - working with key maritime players in the region to induce transparency in the shipping industry.


Looking at an example of specific supply chains, visibility in the food industry is growing in importance. The American consumerism has driven up demand for internationally sourced food products, which has now led to a lot of counterfeit and mislabeled products making its way into the supply chain. Having a tab on food produce from the farm to the fork would save the industry a lot of trouble - not just with maintaining the quality of produce, but also with regard to contamination.


The idea is to provide 360-degree visibility across the supply chain, right from booking and sourcing to the point of freight collection. It is here that a platform like SWIVEL 360 would be resourceful, as it provides real-time connectivity to the freight to every party involved in the process. The portal allows shippers to scour for airline and sailing schedules, negotiate with factories abroad, and book freight by choosing carriers. And to top it off, it has integrated WeChat and SMS messaging in its portal, making communication easier.


As SWIVEL 360 continues to provide visibility and transparency into the marketplace more technology companies will continue to move in this direction.

可視性及透明度進入國際物流的曙光


貨運物流業是美國經濟的關鍵要素, 每年總值超過7,000億美元, 是決定美國經濟增長的主要因素之一。但是, 在這個門面下隱藏着一個行業, 這行業很大程度上一直維持保守, 不受技術的影響並且缺乏透明度 - 幾十年來,這一特徵已經定義了這行業。


貨運物流業是美國經濟的關鍵要素, 每年總值超過7,000億美元, 是決定美國經濟增長的主要因素之一。但是, 在這個門面下隱藏着一個行業, 這行業很大程度上一直維持保守, 不受技術的影響並且缺乏透明度 - 幾十年來,這一特徵已經定義了這行業。


以貨車運輸業為例, 這行業佔該國所有貨運量的70%。80%的車隊公司擁有少於五輛貨車, 令這行業非常分散, 並且極難引起透明度和可視性。在執行之前, 大多數小型車隊及營運者都使用紙筆作記錄, 令物流審計工作成為一個噩夢。


理解需求也是一個問題, 貨車司機通常會聯絡經紀人及貨運代理來獲取貨物, 令流程非常緩慢而且低效率。現在, 數碼貨運市場如雨後春筍般湧現, 並有望帶來更多的供求可視度, 這是物流生態系統中急需的工具。


在供應鏈中注入透明度和可視性對於提高效率及改善企業至關重要。在某種程度上, 電子商務成為主流的呼喚已經喚醒了整個行業 - 支撐供應鏈成為眾人矚目的焦點, 同時創造了一個讓消費者主義及物流業對立的空間。


物流可視性背後的擔憂比預期蒙上了更大的陰影。Localz 對最後一哩物流及其在供應鏈中的重要性的一項調查提出了一個有趣的統計數據 - 相比即日交貨, 人們更想要供應鏈可視性。56%客戶堅持完全可視性, 而43%受訪者選擇即日發貨。趨勢正在揭示 - 在一個可以透過網上不同媒介獲取實時資訊的年代, 消費者不可避免地會對供應鏈中的可視性產生強烈的需要。

物流世界中的產品及設備追踪對於填補供應鏈中的漏洞至為重要, 尤其是在貨運領域。長時間貨運過程中會遇到一些特定的不確定因素, 使用貨運追踪幫助運輸商及收貨人知道貨物的實時位置, 為公司節省很多麻煩。


貨運追踪平台圍繞此構建服務, 為運輸生態系統中的每個持份者 - 司機, 貨運代理, 運輸商, 3PL及承運人提供可視性, 使運輸過程流暢并且易於監控。


可視性及透明度已經遠遠超出了貨運行業中較小的營運者, 現在已成為物流巨頭視的關注點, 尤其是在航運領域。很多公司已經意識到數據開放性及標準化的需求, 並提倡通過不同的過程以實現這一目標, 而區塊鍊是目前最受歡迎的。


Maersk 及 IBM 已着手建立一個試點項目, 合資企業使用區塊鍊為全球貿易提供更有效及安全的方法。這涉及一個基於開放標準創建的平台, 航運生態系統中的每個參與者都可以使用。長期以來, 海上貿易一直是一個混亂的空間, Maersk 認為這個平台能夠為減少跨境運輸貨物的阻礙,以及帶來所需透明度。


在世界的另一端, 三星SDS也有類似的業務, 它正在鞏固其南中國海的地位 -與該地區的主要海運企業合作以提高航運業的透明度。


以特定供應鍊為例, 食品行業的可視性越來越重要。美國的消費主義推動了對國際採購食品的需求, 導致了許多假冒及貼錯標籤的產品進入了供應鏈。將由農場到餐桌的食品貼上標籤將為行業節省很多麻煩 - 不僅可以保持產品質量, 還可以避免受到污染。


這個方法是要在整個供應鏈中提供360度可視性, 從預訂及採購到貨運點。正正是這樣, 像訊譜 360 平台將會十分有用, 因為它為牽涉運輸過程的各方提供實時貨運連接。訊譜 360 平台容許托運人搜索航空公司及船運時間表, 與國外工廠進行洽談, 並通過選擇承運商來預訂貨運。更好的是, 平台已經集合微信及 短信傳遞, 令通信更容易。


隨著訊譜 360繼續為市場提供可視性及透明度, 更多的科技公司將繼續朝這個方向發展。

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