One of the most innovative advances in technology for the freight forwarding industry has been the ability of customers to create in-depth electronic databases that take the extreme complexity of supply chain data — a whirlwind of information and timetables — and simplify it in order to see patterns. This creates a clean, logical history that allows a business to understand the real rewards of their supply chain.
This privileged level of information access has made businesses take note and has led to a dramatic shift in the way people draw up freight transfer maps and structure their supply chain systems.
Freight forwarders and logistic companies have been leading the electronic supply chain revolution for years — mainly because they specialize in attention to specific details, which is extraordinarily useful when dealing with the complex and specialty areas of the business.
Freight forwarders are often able to find creative solutions where traditional supply chain systems might see a brick wall. When it comes to challenges such as refrigeration, throughput, theft, international customs, and product tracking, freight forwarders have consistently been able to solve problems in a non-traditional way that has proven their value time and again.
Building electronic databases
One of the most difficult problems for companies is that other companies hide data from each other and do not share information regarding the level of risk of a given line, or the best ports or supply nodes to use in a given region. For this reason, no one single company is able to be an expert when it comes to a region and its vulnerabilities.
Creating databases from electronic tracking information is not yet the standard way for industry to solve this problem, but it is fast becoming that way.
No one can predict natural disasters, for instance, but preparing for them can be as simple as determining the actuarial data for large volumes of cargo as a result of being responsible for them, and making plans to deal with even the most extreme contingency.
Missed deadlines, launches, production runs, and promotions can destroy a company’s reputation and cause untold chaos for vendors who must explain to customers that the system has all gone wrong, perhaps causing them to lose business forever. Information control is king when it comes to creating a supply chain that self-cleans.
Correct information can eliminate calling backwards and forwards from a supply chain node, chasing suppliers, forwarders, shipping lines and truckers, and generally spending hours a day making sure that the whole line is informed about delays or problems, which is why using a freight forwarder is so beneficial.
A logistics provider won’t just be representing the interests of a single company, but the interests of an entire vein of cargo and supply chain nodes. In addition to having a vested interest in the ups and downs of an entire region, freight forwarders have another ace up their sleeve: the government agencies responsible for customs and clearance are much more sympathetic to the goals and aims of such a broadly-backed organization.
The modern supply chain strives to solve vendor problems by providing transparency and listening to the needs of the people at the receiving end. This means that a company is able to track freight as it moves across the world, and catalog the results in a database that can be searched, graphed, and brought to bear on seemingly insoluble problems.
Electronic database tracking reduces pressure and workload on a company’s traffic department, allowing a company to save money, reduce stress, and improve efficiency at every turn. More information at a company’s fingertips means less time spinning wheels, and frees people in decision-making positions to pursue more important, high level goals instead of wondering what is going on at a loading dock, or arguing with customs in a foreign country, half a world away.
Comprehensive, global, electronic database management directly addresses issues that many people have been clamoring for from a professional freight information system. The right supply chain makes industries operate smoothly and allows companies to establish important trust with its clients, eliminate stress, and add value to products by making sure they are delivered on time, every time.
The future of database management
With businesses and freight forwarders all working together and on the same page, progress can be made toward creating a standard that will allow companies to move product around the globe as fast and as cleanly as possible, and without loss.
Electronic database tracking initiatives will only continue to grow and become more responsive to the needs of business. As time progresses, a database of mistakes, successes, triumphs, and supply chain snags will be as vital to the way a business moves product around the globe as a playbook is vital to a championship football team winning games.
The supply chain world grows smaller and more cutthroat every day. Businesses must make sure that they have the most advanced protocols on their side, or risk losing out to those who do. By understanding the history of their supply chains, they stand a much better chance of understanding the future, and preparing for it.
Simon Kaye is Founder and CEO of Jaguar Freight Services, a provider of fully integrated door-to-door freight solution including customs clearance, storage, and distribution facilities, and proprietary Cybertrax, real-time online information tracking system. For additional information, visit www.jaguarfreight.com.