As part of your day to day business, you undoubtedly send plenty of packages. Shipping and receiving your cargo is only part of the job. Following compliance standards, using quality transportation, and keeping up with industry concerns are all things you deal with everyday.
But sometimes the most significant challenge lies with monitoring your cargo and ensuring its safe transport to its destination. Many amazing tech-focused tools are available and suited to this very purpose—and using them can save you time, energy, and money. Here are five useful tech tools to help you get the most out of monitoring your shipments.
The power and reach of the global positioning system (GPS) is quite far reaching. GPS is used in a number of different industries, including shipping and supply chain logistics. Incorporating GPS and leveraging its value as a technology tool gives managers and logistics professionals keen insight into what’s happening with a particular shipment. Because GPS allows you to Monitor location, speed, and trajectory it becomes an essential tool for secure shipping and fleet management.
GPS is more than tracking, however, as it can help you plan better routes and find the path of least resistance. It’s also crucial for finding lost or missing items, making it invaluable in certain situations. With GPS tools improving all the time, many more businesses are adopting them and as a result are seeing improvements across the board.
Sometimes throughout the course of travel cargo can be damaged or impacted. This may be caused by an accident or, more commonly, through mishandling. The best thing about an impact recorder is that you could actually see, visually, when something’s been impacted or tampered with. This gives you a quick line of sight into any potential impact problems.
Impact recorders help you reduce losses overall, design and implement a strategy for preventing risk/mishandling, and give you a lot more agency for addressing potential impact issues along your supply chain. Loss or damage is an inherent risk in shipping anything, so keeping an eye on your goods with these tools and methods can be beneficial over time.
Certain items that are being transported long distances require cold or cool environments to avoid damage/spoilage. Everything from pharmaceuticals and vaccines to certain types of food such as raw meat requires transport via the cold chain.
Cargo usually needs to be transported between -56 and 40 degrees to remain safe in transit. Temperature indicators are a useful tool that lets you monitor a shipment for time temperature abuse. Over time, a chemical inside of a temperature indicator strip will darken as the temperature rises out of the established threshold.
Some strips designate specific exposure times to help streamline this process. If the strip’s chemical is completely dark, then that means it very likely passed its safe temperature threshold and is probably no longer a viable item. Time temperature abuse happens a lot more often than we might think and anything we can do to ameliorate it is crucial to ensuring the safe transport of any cold chain cargo.
If you’ve ever been to the library and checked out a book or two, you’ve undoubtedly been exposed to RFID tags. RFID (radio frequency identification) is a time-tested tracking method that greatly reduces damage during transport. RFID asset tracking and tags offer a way to remotely arm and monitor your shipments for impact damage.
If an impact exceeds a certain G-Force threshold, the tag will turn red indicating potential damage from the impact. Because RFID tags do not have to be within line of sight to be read, you can put them inside a crate, outside of packaging, or anywhere you deem fit and still be able to access their critical data easily. With such a robust strategy in place, you can reduce damage, fill out fewer claim forms, and ensure a successful delivery most of the time.
Vendor and Logistics Management Software
Vendor management, at its core, is a way to manage an external workforce or other people that will work with you as you go about your typical shipping and receiving. These might be the suppliers who supply your products, inspectors, or external companies you hire to service/maintain your fleet. Logistics management software, on the other hand, lets you leverage multimedia tools to manage different aspects of your company’s logistics.
This goes beyond shipping and receiving, encompassing everything from managing raw materials to supplying finished products to your customers. Depending on your industry and your role within it, one or both of these software tools can be beneficial for streamlined operations and continued success.