Written by Marvin Harris / July 2020 / 6 Minute Read / Fulfill
Using third party transporters comes with several challenges and risks that until recently were difficult to mitigate. Slow economic growth coupled with increasing costs and accidents have been a long-standing issue with using another logistics company. According to Logistics News, 90% of accidents include an element of human error as a contributing factor, and 57% of all accidents are entirely a result of human error. This is a serious disruption to logistics, and the company may be slower to let you know that there is a problem.
Even if transportation is slowed because of weather or traffic, any interruption in service can be a serious problem for your business. If the goods are damaged either because of an accident or tampering, that is another problem that you may not learn about until the delivery when it could be too late to act. Overall, there is a greater demand for more innovation to track and manage inventory while reducing cost.
However, technology gives you a means to track and receive notifications about your products that are in transport. Among the several different methods, the real time location system (RTLS) has proven to be one of the most reliable and cost effective means of ensuring you know the progress of your products, the problems that may be encountered, and provide a way to react and take action if something goes wrong.
What Is RTLS and Is It Right for Your Business?
There are three primary types of reliable tracking systems: RTLS, Global Positioning, and Radio-Frequency Identification. After doing a detailed analysis of these three options, Ovalz found that RTLS provides the most options for tracking and managing inventory remotely. The other two types were cheaper, but they were far more limited in what our customers would be able to see. Ultimately, RTLS served a dual purpose that would give our customers a better, more reliable way of tracking their goods. Because it has stronger connections, you can track goods inside your facility or in-transit. It allows us to offer the ability to enable notifications based on your specifications, such as if your goods are exposed to extreme conditions, are tampered with, or reach a certain location. This makes it easier to keep tabs on your products regardless of where they are.
Not every company that works with goods will require the versatility that RTLS offers. If your needs are basic, it is possible that you can choose one of the other methods with lower costs. For most businesses, being able to monitor sensitive goods and track goods being sent long distances, it makes perfect sense to have a way to check on goods in real-time. It makes it easier to make decisions when something goes wrong to reduce product losses. You can also adjust plans and start negotiating new timelines in the event that something happens to your goods while they are in transit.
Build a Vendor Strategy to Tie Your Goals with Customer Needs
Being able to track products that are in transit to a customer has a number of significant benefits, particularly improving customer service. When a shipment arrives with damaged or missing goods, your customers are going to be understandably upset. If you don't have any previous knowledge or warning, things can quickly become a problem. The best way to ensure that your goods arrive on time, you need to work with your vendors for a strategy that will enable them to provide exceptional customer service.
Third party transporters already have a wealth of things to manage. They tend to work slightly longer hours and are focused on getting to their destinations as quickly as possible. Monitoring temperatures and products they are carrying will take away from that focus, making it more likely that the goods will arrive later than promised. RTLS provides you with a method of monitoring, taking the burden off of the carriers. In the even that you notice something wrong with the products, you can contact your vendor to rectify the situation as quickly as possible.
RTLS provides the additional benefit of giving your customers a way of monitoring the transport of the goods too. You can earn extra revenue by offering the same tracking your company uses so that they can track and monitor the conditions of their products. With the extra eyes on the goods, your vendor will be able to focus on the trip instead of having to manage one more thing. This not only allows you to have goods arrive quickly with issues already being triaged, you could see an increase in contracts based on the improved delivery of goods. You can turn around and use that as an incentive for your vendor. When you receive more contracts, you can provide more work for your vendors, giving them extra incentive to continue improving performance.
How to Align RTLS Benefits to Customer Delivery
One of the greatest benefits of RTLS is that it works to improve customer service. However, it needs to be aligned so that you get the maximum benefit from it as well. You want your customers to see the value in it, but you don't want it to be a financial burden. For many businesses, RTLS will be right solution, but it isn't right for everyone. You need to make sure the cost is outweighed by the benefits. It also needs to be easy to implement and adapt to your business needs. You want an RTLS solution that is easy to integrate into your current systems; your new system should be user-friendly, not so complex that it takes a specialist to use it on a daily basis.
Our RTLS is not only cost efficient, you can turn it into a source of profit (not just a way of tracking and decision making). If you pass some of the cost on to your customers by offering them the ability to track the goods, this can lower your total cost of ownership. Given how easy it is to implement this feature, it can quickly become a reliable source of revenue as customers enjoy the ability to see most of what you see for goods in transit.
It is also incredibly easy to integrate into your day because it works with most handheld devices. This means that you can get notifications about issues or tampering outside of business hours, giving you as much time to react as possible. By the time the goods reach your customer, you may have already implemented a solution. With dashboards that are easy to use and provide metrics, you can reduce product loss. For example, the map shows you where products are, while the dashboard header provides the details of interest. When you need a quick update on the status of a delivery, head to the dashboard. If you need details, you can drill into them from the dashboard. This will make it easier to root out problems before they become worse, by giving you the tools you need to act quickly.