Don't Let It Snow
Contributor: Kevin Scarpati
Icy roads, snow banks and whiteout conditions don’t just affect commuters making their way to work during the winter months. Freight forwarding companies are forced to take extra precautions to overcome these trucking obstacles.
“Some of the dangers are the same as your normal passenger vehicle,” Qualcomm Enterprise Services Product Manager Eric Witty said. “There are a lot of issues that all of us face when we drive, but certainly the road conditions play a much bigger part when you’re dealing with icy roads.”
While Witty says the differences between cars and trucks can be a bit overblown, consider the physics behind stopping a 2,000 pound car as opposed to an 80,000 pound truck. Add in icy road conditions and reduced visibility and you’ve got a Molotov cocktail fit for highway disaster.
Thankfully, companies like Qualcomm Enterprise Services work to keep the roads safe during cold weather. With freight forwarding technology like Critical Event Reporting and Predictive Performance Service, fleet managers can keep their fingers on the pulse of their freight forwarding operations.
Critical Event Reporting (or CER, for short) connects with mobile systems inside trucks and is able to report near real-time information back to fleet managers on anything out of the ordinary.
“We can bring erratic driving habits back to fleet managers to add some visibility into the equation, so those events are reported right away and action can be taken before anything bad happens,” Witty explained.
McKenzie Tank Lines has taken full advantage of CER, which has helped the company reduce critical events by 20 percent.
Qualcomm’s other premier service has also been successful because of its ability to prevent freight forwarding accidents. The company’s Predictive Performance Service is a relatively new product, but large companies like C.R. England are big fans of Qualcomm’s new service.
“Instead of saying ‘This guy had an accident, let’s go talk to him,’ this product uses all sorts of predictive elements,” Witty said. “Through this model, you can say ‘Here are the 10 drivers that we see as most likely to have an accident.’ You’re using human factors and things that are changing prior to these events to take action before accidents occur.”
C.R. England’s use of Predictive Performance Service led to a 21.7 percent decrease in accident frequency, which included a 53 percent drop in severe accident rates. Add all the saved downtime up, and the freight forwarding company was able to up its loaded miles 2.7 percent during the course of the study.
“Eliminating just one accident can be worth far more than the cost of the program,” C.R. England Vice President Chad England said.
The freight forwarding business can be a tricky one, especially during the winter months, but fleet managers can breathe a collective sigh of relief when they use proactive measures like the ones offered by Qualcomm Enterprise Services.
“Being proactive is a necessary part of risk management in any modern supply chain operation,” Witty said.
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’.