Tracking & Tracing

Definition

In the world of distribution and logistics, the concept of tracking and tracing refers to determining the physical location of goods and the path they took to reach that point. As these goods arrive at a carrier processing location, the carrier’s system can transmit status update message to relay that the goods have arrived at the next checkpoint on the path to the destination.

Tracking and tracing can exist at many different levels along the logistics journey. This could include a full truckload moving from a port to a warehouse, full containers down to specific items stored within a warehouse, or items packaged into boxes and shipped via a carrier to your home or office.

Technological advancements now allow for many options when it comes to gaining visibility into the exact location of goods. Methods like radio frequency identification (RFID) and barcodes have been around for many years, but tools such as GPS and weather-tracking systems are offering shippers and carriers more visibility into traffic and speed conditions on the road, as well as weather patterns in regions along lanes.

Armed with today’s technology, delivery vehicles can automatically be redirected, if unexpected delays such as road construction, traffic jams or road closures occur along designated routes. If bad weather is moving into an area a shipper or carrier is planning to deliver within, customers can be contacted in advance to allow them to take early delivery, or simply be aware that their delivery day and/or time may be impacted.

From the customer’s perspective, software tools offered by carriers now make it possible to follow the path of their package, from the shipper’s facility to final delivery, and be notified via text, email, smartphone app, etc. The goal of tracking and tracing is to allow customers to be aware of the progress and current location of their goods so they can plan to receive those goods accordingly.

The final step in the fulfillment process is delivery. Unfortunately, some customers have been known to deny delivery to extend payment. This process, known as “credit tracing,” can be a ploy to extend or deny payment.

If you see a pattern in which any of your clients is consistently denying delivery, particularly on large or expensive orders and most often on residential deliveries where signatures are not required, you may have a credit tracing problem. A solution can be flagging this customer’s orders and using the carriers adult signature required feature, may help you to solve this problem.

If team need any assistance with tracking and tracing our team at Creative Logistics Solutions is always happy to help answer any questions you might have, as well as what your multi-carrier shipping system can do to capture and automatically push status tracking messages to your operations and to your customers.

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