Shipment tracking is a vital component of freight shipping operations. It plays a crucial role in enhancing transparency, reliability, and efficiency. In an era where customer expectations are soaring and supply chains are becoming increasingly complex, businesses must optimize their tracking processes to stay competitive.
By implementing best practices for efficient shipment tracking, companies can unlock a multitude of benefits, including improved customer satisfaction, streamlined operations, reduced costs, and better decision-making capabilities. Here’s how.
Implement a robust tracking system
A robust tracking system is the foundation for efficiency in logistics. Start by selecting a transportation management system (TMS) that aligns with your top freight requirements. Then, integrate your TMS into your shipping operations to create a seamless flow of data and enable real-time decision making.
Lean on technologies like radio-frequency identification (RFID) and a Global Positioning System (GPS) for accurate data. Through the data generated by these tracking systems, companies can greatly enhance their freight operations.
Standardize data entry and documentation
Standardizing your data entry and documentation simplifies your shipping operations and makes tracking more accurate when freight is in the field. Work to establish clear guidelines for data entry to ensure consistency and accuracy across all stages of administration.
For example, utilizing standardized tracking codes or barcodes facilitates easy data retrieval and reduces the likelihood of confusion or mix-ups during tracking. Moreover, implementing automated data-capture methods — such as optical character recognition (OCR) or barcode-scanning technology — can minimize manual errors and expedite data processing. This leads to proper data capture from bills of lading, packing lists, invoices, and customs documentation for smooth tracking from origin to destination.
Collaborate with partners and carriers
As freight moves through the chain of custody toward its destination, be sure to develop rapport with the entities handling it. Collaborating with partners and carriers is paramount for efficient shipment tracking. Whether as a primary update or confirmation of your own robust tracking capabilities, partner updates are crucial.
Besides establishing communication standards and practices, define your expectations for tracking and reporting. For instance, set specific milestones and deadlines to ensure timely updates on shipment status and location. Regularly evaluating and optimizing the way you communicate will result in stronger, more reliable relationships with carriers and logistics providers.
Proactive exception management
Exception management is essential in freight management, and being proactive can help you stay ahead of potential delays or issues. Leverage your TMS to understand the true cost of exceptions upfront and the areas where you’re likely to encounter them. Then, strive to avoid these exceptions within the chain of custody. The more preemptive you can be in planning for or avoiding exceptions, the easier it becomes to track not only freight in transit but also the general landed cost when it reaches its destination.
Your data will be key. Using historical data allows businesses to pinpoint recurring problems and patterns, enabling preventive measures to avoid similar issues in the future.
Stay abreast of common tracking challenges
Shipment tracking drives operational excellence in freight shipping. By prioritizing transparency, robust tracking systems, and standardized documentation, companies can optimize their processes, minimize errors, and foster collaboration. Proactive exception management and data analytics can further enhance decision making. For a competitive edge in logistics, embrace efficient shipment tracking practices to streamline your operations and delight your customers.
Looking to improve visibility and efficiency in your freight operations? Contact nVision Global for help combing your shipment tracking data for critical insights. Learn more at corporate.nvisionglobal.com