How to improve transportation visibility in the supply chain


Despite all the progress made in technology, global supply chains still face the challenge of providing proper visibility to stakeholders when it comes to the transportation network.

The multiple transport modes used (truck, rail, ship, cargo planes), make the flow of goods difficult to track and monitor. 

Compounding the visibility challenge is the fact that the different systems used by the various stakeholders do not communicate with each other.

As supply chains become more complex, the risks for miscommunication, misinformation, external disruption, and bad data all contribute to a lack of proper visibility which is critical to the optimal flow of goods.

Each transport mode comes with its own set of challenges, whether it be strikes and union disputes, labour availability, congestion at ports and terminals, or inclement weather.

Transportation managers everywhere are driving blind, without the timely information required to make the right decision and optimize their supply chains.

Avalon CSC’s team has a structured and proven approach to improving transportation visibility, helping companies make better transportation decisions, and optimizing the flow of goods through the end-to-end supply chain.

  • Phase 1 – Analysis of your current process and data on transportation
  • Phase 2 – Operational Improvements on your transportation visibility
  • Phase 3 – Strategic Improvement Plan to ensure long term success

Phase 1 – Analysis of your current process and data on transportation

Our first step is to establish a baseline of your current transportation operations process and identify bottlenecks and areas where visibility is weak.  Working sessions with the operations team enhance the analysis by getting feedback on the processes from the daily users.

Meanwhile, a comprehensive review of the data available in the entire network will expose sub-optimal practices and identify high-risk areas. A detailed analysis of the operation from a quantitative, data-driven perspective allows the team to corroborate user feedback and to highlight key issues in the transport network.

Phase 2 – Analysis of your current process and data on transportation

The team can then prioritize improvement areas and begin to resolve issues by emphasizing key processes with the transportation team and by applying industry best practices to your day-to-day reality. 

Avalon will apply industry best practices to your business: new processes, new operational approaches, new tools, and finally lots of training and change management. Our industry experts will ensure focus and attention on the overall business process, building organizational trust along the way.

Additionally, routine tasks such as scheduling or routing can be automated to reduce manual errors and further enhance visibility across the supply chain.

Finally, contacting transportation partners and clarifying their own internal processes is an important step. This will help and mitigate potential gaps of information that were caused by unclear processes or lack of data.

Phase 3 – Strategic Improvement Plan to ensure long term success

Once the issues are identified and processes are streamlined, transportation visibility needs to be brought forth to the management team. The creation and the deployment of integrated technology solutions, such as Transportation Management Systems (TMS) and Supply Chain Visibility platforms, can streamline data collection, analysis, and sharing. Such systems collect and regroup information from all stakeholders and facilitate comprehensive visibility across the transportation network.

The utilization of data analytics tools can unlock valuable insights from transportation data, enabling predictive and prescriptive analysis, which leads to faster and better decision-making.

By following this approach, Avalon CSC has supported many of our clients through their transport visibility challenges. This process drove improvement with longtime partners who were eager to support and increase collaboration. Also, one of our clients lowered the workload of their operation team by reducing administrative tasks by 50% on transport related activities. We were also able to realize savings on their overall transportation spend by more than 8%.

If you need to optimize and build more resiliency into your transportation network, then contact us to find out how Avalon can help.  Our wide range of expertise on transportation visibility can be called on to support many types of improvement initiatives:  internal process review, data analysis of your existing network, implementation of data visualization software, and TMS implementation.  We are here to support your supply chain improvement initiatives.

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