Global Logistics: A View From Above

Global Trade Magazine featured an article in the November/December 2012 issue about cloud-based supply chain software and how exporters are enabled with the latest technology to track shipments. This is an excerpt of the article, read the full story here >>

There are places in Africa where it is generally expected that up to 20 percent of shipments could go missing. A ship arrives at port, cargo gets unloaded onto one of several trucks which then motors off and never arrives at its destination, yet presumably comes back for more. The trucks operate in a round-the-clock continuous loop from port to factory in an effort to clear the ship and have it on its way as fast as possible, though no one knows when one of those trucks goes off route and goods are stolen. Consider this the extreme example of why tracking cargo is so important in today’s supply-chains, but knowing where your cargo is—whether it be a supplier’s inbound shipment or your own product en route to a distributor or end user—isn’t just a valuable tool, it’s a necessity for any company committed to being competitive.

In today’s world of collaborating in the cloud, there are many options for end-to-end supply-chain management software that will handle everything but spending your profits. Massive networks of suppliers, warehousers, 3PLs and transportation companies, buyers, brokers, distributors and more all converge in a hub—or in some cases, a “platform”—each adding to the tens of thousands of data points which create a visualization of the supply-chain. Variations on the software abound, but the gist remains the same: Cut down lead times by giving shippers a visualization of each link of their supply-chain, enabling them to react in real time to exception events.

And yet, at what point do you know when your latest shipment to Africa has been appropriated by undesirables? As powerful as most of the existing supply-chain management software is in providing just about every necessary service from one end to the other, widespread, true real-time tracking in-context that can actually be pinpointed on a map still represents the future…[FULL ARTICLE]

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