AEB International talks logistics tracking and tracing

By Freddie Pierce
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 achie...

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.


“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.


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.


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