Transportation Execution & Visibility Systems Strategies for Success

Transportation Execution and Visibility SystemsI just finished my latest research on the global market for Transportation Execution and Visibility Systems. Transportation Execution Solutions (TE) allow shippers to connect to multiple carriers and then tender, track, and pay in the system. Visibility solutions allow real-time asset tracking across the entire distribution network. This enables improved estimated arrival times of goods. Visibility solutions are playing a larger role in the market, as real-time tracking of assets becomes more important. Suppliers of visibility solutions continue to bring in additional data streams for better ETAs.

Similar to other reports, I have written about the growth drivers for the market, as well as the growth inhibitors. This post will advise both the buyers and sellers of these solutions on what they should do.

Strategies for Buyers

  • Research Transportation Execution and Visibility System Purchases. Make sure to do your due diligence when shopping for a Transportation Execution or Visibility solution. This means understanding how that specific solution will meet your changing needs. It also means aligning the individual supplier’s modal strengths with the modes you will need. ARC will offer a supplier section guide for Transportation Execution and Visibility Systems that is configurable.  The guide offers nearly 100 features and functions.  Prospective buyers of Transportation Execution and Visibility Systems can delete criteria that do not apply to them, add criteria that are missing, and weight the remaining criteria in a way that best addresses the needs of their business.Criteria categories include features related to the technology and architecture of the product, functionality of the product, customer support, product leadership, and complementary products offered by the supplier.  The guide contains not only a description of the features and functions, but also a way of measuring from better to worse the robustness of features and functions. The guide will be updated later this year.
  • Minimize Customizations. Transportation Execution and Visibility System solutions offered by the leading suppliers are highly configurable.  Generally, there are rarely good reasons to customize the base code.  Those customers that do end up paying for the customization experience the headaches associated with longer implementations and increased difficulty in upgrading their solutions.  There is a much better return on investment (ROI) from going with the base package, even if that means modifying existing processes.

Strategies for Product Suppliers

  • Enhance Machine Learning. Machine learning is shaping the visibility side of the market. Machine learning can be used to “learn” about constraints (capacity, regulations, hours of service, etc.) and properly plan shipments accordingly. This gives a much better estimated time of arrival for shipments, to warehouses, stores, and the end customer.
  • Continue to Look to the Cloud. SaaS solutions are driving the market, accounting for nearly 90 percent of all revenues. This is not a position that is going to change, and suppliers that are still locked into an on-premise model need to embrace the cloud. While it features the same functionality as on-premise solutions, the cloud offering opens up a larger pool of prospective clients. Those companies that are currently deploying a SaaS model need to continue to innovate and push the bounds of their offering.
  • Focus on the Last Mile. Last mile is the most difficult and most expensive part of the supply chain journey. The growth of e-commerce is only going to make the last mile more important. Better ETAs and better visibility into when orders will arrive are a requirement.
  • Embrace the Driver Shortage. According to most reports, the driver shortage has surpassed 50,000, and the situation is likely going to get worse in the coming years. While there has been a lot of talk about autonomous trucks, they simply are not the solution. Instead, suppliers need to focus on using the driver shortage to maximize backhauls. This may mean testing the digital freight matching space, but opportunities abound.

Conclusion

The Transportation Execution and Visibility System market is poised for explosion. The market has seen significant growth over the last two years due to a variety of factors, including the growth of e-commerce, the strong ROI tied to these solutions, the rise of control towers and visibility requirements, venture capital expenditure, and counter-intuitively, the driver shortage. The aforementioned strategies will help suppliers and buyers prepare for the impending growth.1