Supply chain digitization: The key actors in a logistics network

When we think about supply chain digitization, we must think broader than a change which applies to only one specific adopter of the platform. We must think about a change that will impact the entire ecosystem, bringing transparency, visibility and efficiencies to every actor that is part of a shipment — including carriers, terminals, government authorities and inland providers.

In this article, let’s talk about the network as a whole; the key actors of a logistics network and how data can help them tackle current challenges.

Putting the puzzle together

The ecosystem of logistics is complex. Collaboration between all parties is the essence to enabling more reliable data and improve the speed in which it is available to all parties. If we think about the way shipments work today, we can compare that to a complex puzzle in which each member has a role to build the full picture. The puzzle will only work if all pieces are arranged in the right place and there is a way to connect that piece with the surrounding ones.

With this comparison we can explore some of the basic standards of a digitized supply chain that apply across the network, such as identifying the role of each network member, establishing the connection between those parties and ensuring that everyone has information to smoothly deliver the completed puzzle to customers.

The right amount of visibility

For a digitized supply chain setup, such as TradeLens, understanding the role of each network member in logistics is the key to enable them with the visibility to the right data. Further, addressing concerns with regards to data safety and visibility are at the core of establishing an effective collaboration across the industry.

Handling industry data is a big responsibility and its they commitment of TradeLens. Each network member should have the visibility only to the data related to the shipments they are handling and have the right to protect their sensitive information, such as customer data. Ensuring that all this specification is covered for both, monitoring shipment milestones and documentation, is only possible using a vetted and participant agreed data security specification framework.

Sharing data across the network

With collaboration and the right setup, data shared across the industry to each network member can be done in near real-time. Visibility rises to new levels with every ecosystem member seeing data and information flowing to them starting from the moment of the booking. Changes to transport plans and estimates can be transmitted across all players at the moment they occur — without the need to activate different messages one by one, providing equal visibility to all parties.

But this change shouldn’t occur in an isolated manner. Adding one more piece of software to work in isolation to existing systems would bring more work than gains. The data coming from across the industry should be ready to easily connect to existing software, business intelligence and analytical tools that are already in place. This way, it will truly support further gains in optimization of processes and completeness of information.

By being capable to plug in and off different kinds of information across systems, a digitized supply chain can cover a variety of needs across ecosystem partners.

Connecting your supply chain

Delivering a connected supply chain to all parts of the supply chain ecosystem is the goal of TradeLens. For network members that are sharing and receiving data, such as customs authorities, ports and terminals, inland providers; the adoption and use of the platform is free of charge and guided by an onboarding team.

Creating a digitized supply chain and facilitating trade is everyone’s responsibility evolving and spur innovation for in our industry. Connect with us now to know more about how TradeLens can support ports and terminals, customs authorities, rails and trucking companies, and about becoming an ecosystem member.

Read my next post, where I discuss ports and terminals in-depth, and their role as key partners within a logistics network.

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