When a shipment gets loaded on a container ship, how does the shipper (or the freight forwarder) know where his or her shipments are currently, and when will they arrive at the chosen destination? Well, they know where the cargo is by literally tracking it on a computer! According to freight and forwarding experts, direct freight tracking is critical for the success of a business because it has an impact on customer service, as customers will want to know where their cargoes are, and when they expect these to arrive. Let’s take a look at the value of freight tracking on businesses and customers.
What is Freight Tracking?
According to experts on shipping and container cargo, freight tracking refers to the ability to see, in real time, where a cargo shipment is at any given time. Inbound direct freight tracking lets the company trace and prepare to receive incoming shipments, while outbound freight tracking keeps tabs on the customer’s shipments.
Tracking freight is extremely useful for international logistics, because problems may arise at customs, or while utilizing various local carriers to send parcels. But with the use of freight tracking software and systems, customers and freight companies will have peace of mind, because they will know exactly where the shipments are, and when it will arrive at its target destination.
The Various Ways to Access Freight Tracking
Today, there are many ways to access direct freight tracking. In the logistics sector, these freight tracking terms relate to tracking by numbers, and we’ll discuss them one by one. The first system is called TMS, or the Transportation Management System. This refers to the software used to track shipments, as it stores shipping information, and it even helps companies choose a carrier. The software then finds a suitable carrier who will help reduce shipping times and optimize costs.
The next way to track freight is thru the BOL, or Bill of Lading. Your BOL is a critical piece of data, because it serves as the receipt when goods change hands between the freight carrier and shipper.
The BOL contains a significant amount of information, and these include sender and receiver names and addresses, the purchase order (PO) or account numbers, units and dimensions, special instructions, packaging types and the description of goods and their declared values.
Next is the Pro Number, which is assigned by the carrier to identify a shipment once it has been picked up. This is often considered as the standard industry tracking number. The next item is the PO number, which the purchaser assigns as a reference for a shipment. The PO number helps simplify paperwork and communications about orders and payment information.
Last but not the least, the Shipment Reference Number is used by the shipper to identify a shipment. Shipment reference numbers could either be a BOL number, or an order number or a customer number. However, it can also be the company name or some identifying phrase like “office furniture” or “gifts for clients” etc.
The Many Perks of Shipment Tracking
Now, let’s talk about the many perks of direct freight tracking. For starters, investing in a shipping tracking software or system can help significantly lower shipping costs. In the shipping supply chain, you will definitely find costs almost anywhere from the order ticketing phase to packaging, warehousing, transportation and a whole lot more.
With shipment tracking, freight companies and customers in general can benefit from reduced expenses, as it allows them to gain better insights with regard to the status of a shipment.
For business owners and ordinary customers as well, shipment tracking systems can provide them with helpful information like the location of the parcel, the parcel’s specifications as well as the SKU’s contained in it.
Shipment tracking systems also considerably reduce the instances of wrong product deliveries, which will cause shippers to spend more on repackaging, re-warehousing, inventory storage and fuel costs due to transporting the cargo.
The system also helps with better management of all the freight company’s shipping related activities, and allows them to handle customer complaints or queries more efficiently.
Shipment tracking systems or software also help to improve the overall customer experience. It’s because customers will be provided with a real-time view of where their packages or cargo are in the distribution chain.
For example, if you’re ordering products internationally, the direct freight tracking systems can provide them with updated information on customs clearance, the departure from the country of origin, the estimated time of arrival, as well as the status of the package at any given moment.
And when customers are able to rely on this information on a freight company’s platform, this will create a sense of loyalty to the customer, because they will trust in the dependability of the shipping or freight company.
Freight tracking systems and software also help lead to on-time deliveries. Majority of customers today often cringe on the thought of delayed shipments, because sure they did receive their package without any damage, but if the shipment time doesn’t meet their expectations, then the freight company can expect an avalanche of complaints and negative feedback.
And when efficiently used, shipment tracking software or systems can help to further increase the shipping company’s chances of delivering all of their cargoes to their final points of distribution on time.
This is because of the greater transparency of the system, and the shipping firm as well the local carrier can closely communicate and collaborate with other major players in the supply chain like distributors, warehouse managers and even delivery men or women. And, any sudden or unexpected change or disruption will also be easily communicated to the customer, as well as to the other key players in the distribution chain.
So, the next time you hear terms like BOL, PO number or TMS, heave a sigh of relief as these systems help to easily track your cargo, and ensure that they arrive to you on the date and time you specified.