As customers emphasize on-time key performance indicators (KPIs), shorter delivery timeframes, and better insights into where their orders are at any given point in the supply chain, freight visibility has become a high-priority area for shippers. By going beyond traditional freight milestones (i.e., when an air shipment leaves the ground or when an ocean shipment arrives in port), modern supply chain visibility platforms provide the complete, accurate, real-time data that all stakeholders are asking for right now.
These platforms are helping to fill in the gaps for the more than 50% of companies that reportedly lack end-to-end visibility into their supply chains because they’re overly reliant on their own internal data to provide those insights. This siloed approach is keeping organizations from fully understanding their freight operations and leaves them vulnerable to unexpected risks (e.g., emerging threats, disruptions, etc.).
Knowing just how important ease-of-use and visibility are for shippers, DB Schenker recently upgraded the connect 4.0 online booking tool to give shippers a high level of visibility for their freight as it moves through the supply chain. The tool allows shippers to compare prices and timings in real-time; save time by booking their shipments online; and track and trace those shipments as they move from the point of origin to their destinations.
The upgraded platform simplifies the process of selecting and securing freight capacity and also provides global coverage across air and sea transportation modes, plus land in Europe. Currently in use in about 50 countries worldwide, the platform covers more than 80% of DB Schenker global airfreight business. “If a shipper in the U.S. wants to get a rate on a shipment that’s going to Germany,” said Philipp Coloseus, Director Head of Operational Excellence, Business Architecture and Digitization, at DB Schenker, “you can get an instant quote, accept it, and book it right online quickly.”
Shippers like the instant quoting features and how easy the platform makes it for them to secure and track their freight. “As newbies in air freight, we were excited about the intuitive booking process on connect 4.0 air. With just a few clicks we received a quote and could quickly complete the booking,” one connect 4.0 air user commented on DB Schenker’s website. “It’s extremely fast and efficient. You fill out the dimension and weight and receive the pricing instantly. It allows me to worry about something other than transport logistics,” said another user.
Helping Shippers Navigate Transportation Complexities
Container shortages, port congestion, driver shortages, and rising freight rates are just some of the challenges that shippers are grappling with in 2021. As the global pandemic persists and the world’s economies work to right themselves, demand for capacity across all modes is only expected to increase. Add the worldwide vaccine rollout to the equation and the logistics complexity grows even further.
To ensure good coverage for their loads, shippers need to be able to make fast decisions, approve their quotes, and get those loads tendered on time. Only then can companies be assured that their shipments reach their destinations—and, subsequently, their end customers—on time and in good order.
“In today’s freight environment, visibility is more important than it’s ever been in the past,” said Coloseus, who sees connect 4.0 continuing to play an important role in companies’ ability to get rate quotes, secure their capacity, and then track and trace those in-transit loads. The connect 4.0 portal, for example, provides shippers with a dashboard for all of their active shipments, bookings, and quote requests for air, ocean, and land (in Europe) shipments.
Quotes obtained on the connect 4.0 are the best achievable prices based on the current market conditions. Coloseus encourages shippers to make fast decisions as the market is moving quickly. “The sooner the shipper decides the better,” Coloseus added, “especially for locking in the desired rate and space on the plane, boat, or truck.”