Solving for Dark Spots and Data Gaps in the Supply Chain

Inefficient. Unproductive. Expensive.

Dark spots and data gaps in the supply chain are more than annoying. They’re costly, time-consuming and result in high amounts of extra effort. With inflation running rampant and unexpected events around every other turn, productivity and efficiency in the supply chain have never been more important. After all, dark spots and data gaps result in:

  • High container demurrage and detention fees, which can cost manufacturers anywhere from $10M-$20M/year
  • Excessive dwell times, sometimes exceeding 7-14 days
  • Excessive and often out-of-cycle inventory

In a highly volatile environment impacted by market pressures, competition, disruption, and more, solving for dark spots is best achieved by bringing together visibility and execution, improving supply chain operations for all stakeholders. Here are some of the meaningful outcomes we can achieve when connecting execution and visibility:

  • Shippers gain predictability, a consistent and timely real-time view of cargo status, and integrated solutions that increase efficiency and control.
  • Terminals reduce handling costs and turnaround time for trucks and vessels, increase productivity, and improve asset and capacity utilization.
  • Carriers can increase asset maintenance and performance, maximize revenue per trip, reduce operational costs, and offer better service to shippers. 
  • Consumers receive a better experience with the brands they know and love, with the products they want available in their preferred shopping and delivery modes.

The integration of visibility and execution is happening now, driven by the mounting frustration with pure-play visibility apps. These apps reveal the problem – for example, that inventory is stuck on a truck waiting in a congested yard – but offer no ability to make operational changes to fix the situation. Until now. Let’s dive deeper into what’s possible when real-time visibility meets execution applications: 

Reduced dwell time and demurrage by prioritizing shipments using real-time supply chain visibility

Dwell time, demurrage, unproductive rehandles – there is a way around the waste and unproductivity. By layering visibility applications into execution systems that run terminals, truck and rail yards, and distribution centers, we can share real-time operational information across important nodes in the supply chain. This information, such as over-the-road truck visibility coming from intermodal rail yards, intermodal facilities gate-in and gate-out, and demurrage can eliminate unnecessary waiting, unproductive moves, and costs. 

Enabling a network of connected parties to streamline operations 

Rudimentary methods such as phone, email and spreadsheets are still the main communications channels and “tools” used at supply chain nodes. The lag time created by requiring manual invention for every step is enormous – and entirely unnecessary. Technology can now see, connect and automate across the chain with highly accurate information to enable capabilities such as prioritizing delivery shipments based on dwell time, last free day, or demurrage.

Intelligent planning capabilities to provide BCO value added service 

Cue the competitive advantage. Savvy players leverage clean and aggregate data from a single source of truth as a foundation for AI and machine learning solutions. These enable further improvements in planning and execution – going lightyears beyond pen and paper, phone and email, even those spreadsheets – and have a massive reduction impact on detention, accessorial and demurrage costs.

With continuous technology modernization, and secure, reliable, scalable, user-friendly applications, inventory can move efficiently, and dark spots can be eliminated. It all starts when we connect execution and visibility and the major players in the supply chain.  

Scott Holland is Chief Product Officer at Kaleris.