Written by
David Koke
Senior Marketing Manager

Beacon’s supply chain visibility and collaboration platform empowers organizations to achieve more efficient, reliable and sustainable supply chains.

In this article

June 4, 2024

Supply chain visibility and the power of unified freight tracking

In today's world, the twists and turns of global trade are more complex than ever as the disruptions are constant and unrelenting. At the time of this post, the Red Sea crisis has made the Suez Canal practically unusable, even as the Panama Canal on the other end of the world struggles with drought issues causing it to work at 70% capacity.  

It's crucial for your business to navigate these waters smoothly to stay ahead. At the heart of this journey is smart supply chain management, especially when it comes to keeping tabs on your freight. Historically, tracking methods were not only fragmented by the mode of transportation – be it sea, air, or land – but also by individual carriers. This dual-layered fragmentation often compelled businesses to juggle multiple tracking systems, each specific to a carrier, complicating efforts to obtain a comprehensive view of their shipments.

While supply chain visibility was a topic that found mainstream relevance in the late 2010s, the pandemic proved to be a catalyst that propelled market interest. Consequently, this has also led to improvements and innovations in visibility tech. Thanks to these advancements, having a clear view of your entire supply chain from start to finish isn’t just a pipe dream anymore. The kind of all-in-one freight tracking offered by visibility solutions delivers efficiency, clarity, and control, changing how we can manage our supply chains.

The importance of supply chain visibility

When it comes to running a smooth supply chain, visibility isn't just a nice to have; it's absolutely vital. Supply chain visibility lets you keep an eye on your products every step of the way, from where they start to where they end up, and all of this in real time.

In our fast-moving world, a small hiccup anywhere can ripple through the whole chain, affecting businesses and customers alike. Manufacturing, in particular, can be devastated by disruptions, as we saw during the pandemic. That’s why more than half have placed supply chain visibility as their top priority, according to Fictiv’s 2023 “State of Manufacturing” Report.

Why supply chain visibility is a game changer

Make smart moves on the fly:

With real-time data at your fingertips, companies can pivot quickly and effectively, an essential capability for addressing unexpected supply chain disruptions. Whether it's a sudden shortage of materials or a transportation strike, having quick access to live data is key. The complex nature of modern supply chains often conceals potential risks, which can lead to costly disruptions and tarnish your brand reputation. With the ability to make swift, data-informed decisions, businesses can navigate these challenges, turning potentially major disruptions into manageable setbacks.

Keep customers happy:

In today's market, customers expect transparency and timely updates. Supply chain visibility offers just that, providing accurate, up-to-the-minute information on customer orders and delivery timelines. This not only boosts customer satisfaction but also fosters long-term loyalty by building a reputation for reliability and openness.

Get inventory just right:

One of the trickiest parts of supply chain management is balancing inventory levels—too much ties up capital and warehouse space, while too little can lead to lost sales. Visibility solutions like Beacon help to optimize inventory flows by replacing transit lead time assumptions with actual historical data. This data-driven strategy provides insight into how lead times fluctuate based on different times of the year, routes, and other variables. Utilizing this information, businesses can fine-tune their supply chain planning, align supply with demand more accurately, and reduce the need for excessive safety stock.

Stay on the right side of the law (and the planet):

Compliance with legal standards and sustainability practices is more than just following rules; it's about being a responsible corporate citizen. Visibility ensures that all parts of the supply chain adhere to these standards, promoting ethical practices and reducing environmental impact.

Integrating ocean, air, and road freight tracking for streamlined supply chain management

Consolidating freight tracking for ocean, air, and road transportation in a single platform is the foundation of a good visibility infrastructure, and a game-changer in the world of supply chain management. This kind of integration is a huge leap from the old ways, allowing for a smooth flow of information that was hard to achieve before.

Central to making this work is getting all the data in a standardized format, a process visibility solutions like Beacon have mastered. This is key to making sense of everything quickly and clearly and being able to compare the performance of different suppliers, carriers, forwarders and routes. Plus, it makes it easy to share real-time data and updates with everyone who needs it, giving every actor in your supply chains a level of visibility and control they've never had before.

The experience of Beacon customers shows that bringing your data into one place also delivers knock on benefits in terms of simplifying workflows and reducing the number of tools supply chain and logistics teams  need to effectively do their jobs.

Unified freight tracking with Beacon

Unifying freight tracking is one of the foremost benefits of improving supply chain visibility and delivers a wealth of strategic advantages to supply chain management. 

Solutions like Beacon offer a practical solution for enhancing efficiency, managing risks, and boosting customer satisfaction. Beyond the operational benefits; visibility platforms are also an essential component of a modern, digital supply chain. 

Ready to experience the advantages of unified freight tracking for your business? Start your Beacon free trial.