Transport visibility through the eyes of the customer of a transporter

Transport visibility is a sub-area of transport management in which a lot of technological progress has been made in recent years. Thanks to smart on-board computers, the Internet of Things, the availability of real-time transport data and intelligent software to process all that data, logistics companies now have the ultimate tools to visualize their transport flows down to the smallest detail.

Where are my trucks at the moment? Which trailers are behind it? What's in it? What is the temperature and humidity in the cargo area? Are there traffic jams or other obstacles? What is the fastest route? What is the expected time for a truck to arrive at its destination? With Trimble’s Track & Trace solutions, you can access all this information perfectly and your planners can see at a glance what’s going on.

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Transport visibility from the customer's perspective

Technologically, the possibilities are endless, but as a transport company, have you ever asked yourself what your customer actually gets out of it? After all, visibility solutions are primarily intended to provide better service to your customers, so it is important to look not only at what is technologically possible, but first and foremost at what the customer wants. Look at visibility through the eyes of your customer.

Put yourself in the place of your customer, e.g. a manufacturing or commercial company that has outsourced its transport to customers to a logistics service provider. What information would you like to receive? Of course you want to know when the transport will take place and what the expected time of arrival is. During the transport itself, what matters most to you is the progress. Is everything going according to plan? In case of delays, you want to be able to inform your customer and determine a new delivery time in consultation with that customer. You want to keep a grip on the transport process and be able to make adjustments yourself where necessary.

The phone ringing off the hook

That doesn't sound weird or overly demanding, right? However, in many transport companies it is rather unusual for a customer to have real-time insight into the progress of their transport orders, let alone have any control over it. At many transport companies, the telephones in the customer service department are ringing off the hook because of customers who want to know what the status is. In the event of an emergency, they would prefer to call the planners directly to find out what is possible, for example if there are restrictions on the unloading times at the unloading address.

Transport visibility

Virtual Transport Department

Perhaps the ultimate form of visibility is that customers ( e.g. a manufacturing or commercial company) no longer see you as an external transport company but as their own virtual transport department, a department that they have full control over. That they can see where there might be deviations in the arrival time, but also have insight in the planning and the options to prevent or minimize the deviation. The latter is still in the future, of course, but some shippers are already expressing this wish out loud. So thinking about this in the transport sector in advance certainly doesn't hurt.

Better customer retention

Transport visibility, that puts the customer first, leads to better customer retention. Customers are more likely to place their next order with you than with a fellow carrier who does not offer this service. This also has an additional advantage: your customer can handle most issues themselves and they don't have to 'bother' your customer service department anymore.

By looking at transport visibility through the eyes of your customer, you will gain insight into what really matters. By acting on this in time, you will gain an advantage over your competitors and build a future-proof company. The necessary tools for this will not be an obstacle, you have Trimble Transport & Logistics and its integration partners for that.

About the author

Peter Huysmans

General Manager, Trimble Transport & Logistics