Telematics in Trade: Enhancing Visibility and Efficiency in Containerized Freight

By
Golden State Logistics

Technology adoption is not just revolutionizing the supply chain ecosystem — it is increasingly becoming a necessity for a business to survive in the market.

In 2024, a Garter survey revealed that a staggering 50% of global supply chains have already embraced AI and other technological advancements, including the widely adopted telematics.

Modern supply chain operations rely heavily on technology, some more than others. This is because the modern supply chain landscape is more complex and shippers and their logistics partners have to navigate more nuances than the traditional supply chain. With technology solutions in logistics like telematics, supply chain professionals can effectively manage containerized freight thanks to its real-time monitoring and remote adjustment capabilities.

This article explores how logistics and supply chain operations can leverage telematics to solve inefficiencies in containerized freight.

Filling The Visibility Void in Containerized Freight

Visibility and transparency are all the rage because they allow quick reactions and flexibility in the supply chain. Without them, it will be challenging for businesses to promptly deal with disruptions in operations. In a world that makes speed a priority, the lack of it can unfold so many problems for all stakeholders involved in the process.

Impact on Shippers

Without visibility and the information-sharing capabilities of the telematics system, it becomes challenging for shippers to track their shipments across the logistics process effectively. This means shippers and supply chains cannot monitor their shipments in real time. This can be a challenge, considering there will be a struggle to optimize transportation and transloading operations and promptly solve or mitigate problems. This lack of promptness can lead to delays and significantly higher costs for the entire supply chain.

Planning and Coordination Pitfalls

Supply chains typically struggle with effective planning sans visibility and transparency across their end-to-end operations. Supply chain planning is heavily dependent on real-time data because situations and market dynamics are constantly evolving. Coordination with various stakeholders across the entire supply chain and with trade partners will be limited because of a lack of real-time insights.

Expedites and Fire Drills

When there is a lack of real-time insights into any particular situation across the logistics operation, businesses and supply chains are forced to play catch-up. This also increases the administrative burden of these supply chains and stakeholders because they always have to course correct. It will impact the efficiency and output of the entire business.

What is Container Telematics

Container telematics is the telecommunications and informatics technology that monitors and manages shipping containers.

Telematics provides the supply chain with live information and status data, keeping it on top of the entire process. But beyond just providing information, the impacted supply chain operations can also take steps when needed to ensure the logistics and transportation continue seamlessly. If need be, they are in a prime position to take proactive steps to manage and mitigate risks and vehicle breakdowns as they arise.

Telematics enhances the entire logistics process, leading to seamless trade situations.

Transformative Applications of Telematics

Real-time information is great, but beyond that, supply chains also need to be in control at all times.

That is why telematics is so critical in today’s logistics and supply chain landscape. At its core, telematics is data transmission across short and long distances. However, the system can leverage many more applications to help supply chains monitor and enable effective management and control.

Here are some of them:

Real-Time Tracking

Telematics provides real-time tracking of containers throughout the transportation process through technology solutions like GPS and IoT sensors. This tracking data is usually the precise location, and the status updates indicate to the operator every city, zone, village, and region passed and the exact time it did. This guarantees that the supply chain is well-informed about the shipment, allowing other processes to work around it.

Condition Monitoring

In reefer transport and logistics, the business and supply chain always deal with sensitive items that require exact temperature conditions to preserve the cargo or shipment. Slight changes in the required temperature can be detrimental to the integrity of the product. With telematics, more supply chains and shippers can monitor the condition of their cargo, including temperature, humidity, and shock levels, ensuring the safe transport of sensitive goods.

Route Optimization

Supply chains can leverage data from telematics to help with accurate predictions and optimize through AI and machine-learning solutions. These solutions can analyze the data from the telematics systems to predict fuel consumption, allowing for effective budgeting. However, it also helps optimize routes, thereby reducing transit times. Optimized routes also ensure security and less shipment exposure.

Security Enhancements

Containerized freight is usually sealed to preserve product integrity. However, in many cases, unauthorized persons may try to access the cargo for any number of reasons, including cargo theft, which is at a ten-year high across the United States. Supply chains can leverage advanced telematics systems to detect unauthorized access to containers and trigger alerts, thereby ensuring the protection and security of the shipments.

Five Benefits of Telematics in Managing Containerized Freights

The application of telematics in containerized freights has been a game changer for many supply chains. It indeed helps them have access to necessary information at the right time, but beyond that, it has five key benefits. They are:

1. Increased Visibility

Visibility is a critical factor for modern supply chain operations because it ensures that all stakeholders and processes can seamlessly communicate and share information, leading to more throughput overall. Visibility enhances transparency, which can improve decision-making for several issues, including sustainability and demand planning.

2. Boosted Efficiency

Through the information provided by the telematics systems, businesses and supply chains can improve route optimization, reduce fuel consumption, reduce delays, react to potential disruptions, and mitigate certain risks. This contributes to a more efficient operation, saving the business time and resources.

3. Cost Savings

Real-time information from the telematics system or application allows for effective monitoring and control of the entire logistics process. More importantly, it allows for streamlined coordination of the entire supply chain operation. All of these lead to better resource allocation, optimized supplies, less damage, and loss of goods during trade, culminating in cost savings for the business and supply chain.

4. Elevated Customer Satisfaction

The telematics system allows for real-time information and updates, allowing businesses and supply chains to be more transparent with customers. Supply chain stakeholders crave transparency, but the customers demand it as well. Being transparent and leveraging information from telematics to coordinate and ensure reliable deliveries help elevate customer satisfaction.

5. Data-Driven Decision Making

Telematics provides comprehensive real-time data on various aspects of operations. And with them, shippers can make informed, timely, and accurate decisions that enhance efficiency, optimize routes, and improve overall performance.

Charting The Future: The Path Forward for Telematics

Technology is continuously advancing, and more businesses and their supply chains are increasingly adapting it. Telematics integration in trade is set to become even more advanced and widespread. Here is what to expect:

Advanced Analytics

Advanced analytics can help supply chains predict potential delays, equipment failures, or temperature fluctuations by analyzing vast datasets like past routes, weather patterns, and equipment performance. A business that receives alerts about an issue with temperature control or a vehicle breakdown can take steps to mitigate that particular problem. This will ensure smooth logistics and a resilient supply chain.

AI and Machine Learning Integration

Integrating telematics with AI and machine learning has introduced an era of logistics simplicity.

All telematics data, such as location, weather, and container status, can fuel AI algorithms. Machine learning can analyze these data sets to predict optimal routes, suggest alternative routes to avoid congestion, or reroute shipments facing extreme weather. The logistics process can enjoy dynamic risk assessment and automated decision-making when coupled with real-time monitoring.

Wider Adoption

Telematics has clear advantages that supply chains can leverage, and many of them are adopting it.

Real-time tracking, cargo monitoring, and predictive analytics are attractive features that will propel widespread adoption during trade. AI will eventually empower businesses to proactively manage disruptions and optimize routes. The level of transparency will set new standards.

Partnering With a Logistics Provider That Embodies Telematics

Golden State Logistics is the logistics partner you can trust to leverage state-of-the-art technology solutions to meet your freight transportation needs. There are few like us across California -- GSL is the go-to third-party logistics player in the LA and Long Beach region. Get in touch with us today to see how we can enhance your supply chain efficiency and visibility.

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