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transportation management companies

The average shipper spends 6 hours a day, 20 days a month, coordinating deliveries. A lot of this time is spent on calls between the receiver, transport vendor, and the driver to find out, and communicate location-based data for a few important shipments.

Where is the shipment right now? How long will it take? Is it going to be late, and by how long? Is the vehicle making unnecessary stops?

Despite the ‘Information Age’ that we live in, this data is both cumbersome to acquire/communicate, and more often than not, inaccurate.

  1. What do different kinds of shippers care about, w.r.t. location-based data?
  2. What metrics should a shipper consider before choosing between different competing products?
What do Shippers care about?

At a high-level, Shippers want to reduce effort and time spent on coordination, have data to make decisions with, and be notified of any anomalies. Consequently, they seem to care about the following, wrt location:

  1. Real-time notifications: Most shippers did not have labour to spare (or care) to monitor all deliveries all the time. Periodic push notifications to everyone who cared would be helpful and reduce time and effort spent in coordination. Exception management could be built into this for those shipments that were a priority.
  2. Historic Location: Often, problems came up in retrospect. Since the way shippers currently operated was not data-based, giving them analysed historic data on-demand would be useful. For example, a (large, public-listed) paper manufacturer in Tamil Nadu faces an interesting problem — their distributors in North India collude with the drivers delivering their shipments from TN to sell the rolls of paper en route, making 2x the profits, and disrupting the local markets in those routes. Worse, this was predicted to increase in the GST-regime, where different states have differing prices for the same commodity (since transport costs progressively increase). Usually, this information surfaced months later when someone reported it. Pando solves this problem by analysing historic location data for specific routes, and highlighting anomalies. We go a step further to notify all parties involved of any anomaly in real time, playing on their fear —that information is now available. Such historic data is valuable in claims management, bill- settling, vendor rating, and ranking, etc. as well.
  3. ETA: Loading and unloading happened at specific times at different locations — and delays meant demurrage borne by either party. Proactive ETA allowed all stakeholders to plan their activities and reduce costs.
What metric should shippers consider before choosing a product?

  1. Cost/Transaction: For the shipper, this metric is crucial since it has a direct impact on the total logistics cost. Often, shippers ask for a per-month/per-year cost, which is misleading. The number of deliveries that a product can track per unit-time vs. Cost per unit-time is what is representative.
  2. Scalability: Most industries are cyclical between months, with Summer (end/beginning of the Financial year) or Winter (end/beginning of the Calendar year) being the peak/trough season. The product must work for fluctuating deliveries perunit-time, equally effectively. This metric has a cost component as well — variable costs work better than fixed costs.
  3. Intelligence + Accuracy: If the technology needed additional resources to manage or was not proactive/intelligent/customisable, the purpose (of reducing coordination effort and time) is not achieved. Interestingly, accuracy is not very important in long- haul deliveries, with shippers being okay with margins of error of up to 6–6.5 hours in ETA.
  4. Resilience: Long-haul deliveries are rugged environments. Warehouses, Factories that house heavy machinery, fluctuating internet levels on the highways, and very long transits without pitstops (no charging for batteries) is the reality. The product must be resilient to such vagaries.
  5. Compatibility and User-experience: Whether a shipper dispatches one, or hundreds of consignments, it shouldn’t matter — the user experience should be seamless across different shipments for different stakeholders.
Pando solves this problem by powering real-time collaboration and information flow between all delivery stakeholders through one digital, standardised workflow that can be monitored, controlled, and optimised in real-time. This removes complexity and reduces cost, time, effort, and risk. One step in this direction is to get location-based services right.

Pando’s vision is to digitise deliveries of all kinds for shippers of all sizes. Since 2014, we have experimented with hundreds of software and hardware products in the market to formulate the right combination for our clients.

To know the right combination for you, contact us.

Article By:

Nitin Jayakrishnan

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