AEB International talks logistics tracking and tracing
Before you read this, check out this story in November's issue of Supply Chain Digital. Trust us, it's way cooler!
Any company wanting to achieve shorter lead times, better service quality and satisfied customers has to make its shipping processes transparent. But the transition from simple tracking of a shipment to integral planning of the supply chain via a collaboration and visibility platform can be a major challenge.Many companies already have end-to-end visibility over their production processes. But as soon as outside business partners are involved, this transparency tends to be lost - and with it the ability to react quickly. The more complex the supply and distribution network, the more important it becomes to integrate all partners on one platform that shares information.
“Some of our customers in the logistics industry have extensive global networks involving a high number of parties from various industries,” Claire Umney, General Manager of AEB (International), explains. “The advantage of a global platform that provides all partners within a supply chain with the same up-to-date information irrespective of time zones is on a par with providing all parties access to the same version of the truth.
WAREHOUSE ASSET TRACKING AND LOGISTICS FROM TOLL
“Many logistics providers still use spreadsheets to gather and pass information on to suppliers, customers, carriers and forwarders - a cumbersome and error-prone process. An updated view of stocks and shipments helps logistics managers to do their job better and facilitates the daily routine of all partners in the supply chain.”
Total transparency in the supply chain requires good planning and execution in designing and implementing all processes to be efficient and to include defined discrepancy tolerances while ensuring the relevant parties are notified as early as possible when disruptions loom. Severe weather conditions, a flu epidemic, a major accident, a tsunami – anything that can bring production to a halt, cause transport delays and affect the order fulfillment schedule can have a major impact on planned milestones, e.g. the time at which the raw materials reach the warehouse, or the time at which the product is packaged and ready for transport.
Active planning instead of passive tracing
Collaboration and visibility software solutions provide a uniformly clear view of all inventory and goods movements and help to keep track of milestones.Another advantage is statistics and analyses that come with integrated business intelligence tools. Which freight forwarder has problems to deliver on time, which supplier delivers good quality, at which port do customs procedures take longer? IT solutions help to decide which alternative option to take by calculating the new estimated arrival time and by making options transparent, e.g. how much stock there is available in other warehouses.
But sophisticated IT solutions can do more than simply track and trace – they bring an actual planning component into play. The right supply chain management system lets businesses gradually improve supply chain performance by uncovering and correcting weak points. After the order is placed, the client defines when the goods have to be available at the store. Fed with these lead times, the system then calculates the whole supply chain and determines when the supplier has to transfer the goods to the carrier, which vessel departure is required, when goods must clear customs, etc. All events are logged, making it possible to evaluate the performance of the entire supply chain or of individual partners and steps.
BOOSTING SUPPLY CHAIN VISIBILITY
The right IT solution offers early-warning mechanisms that sound the alert prior to any potential disruption - customs clearance delays, damage to merchandise during loading, quality control lapses, etc. This enables managers to respond proactively. A click of the mouse and the logistics manager knows where specific goods are in stock, how quickly replenishments might arrive and what costs would be associated with a change in the mode of transport.
This functionality will be used by those who actively want to manage their global supply chains. After all, by carrying out proactive supply chain event management, managers don’t just save time and money, they also gain a competitive advantage.
Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.