The importance of supply chain visibility Part One

Nele Campaert, product manager at Alpega, shares her thoughts on the importance of real-time visibility and how leading companies leverage transparency to improve their margins

In most industries, the days of squeezing suppliers for lower prices are long gone or at least coming to an end. Margins are tighter than ever and shippers who want to stand out need to give their customers some form of added value. Providing visibility across the supply chain is an efficient and a cost-effective way of doing this. 

In part one of our interview with Nele Campaert, product manager at Alpega, she discusses her background and how she started working on supply chain transparency. 

Tell me a bit about yourself and how you ended up working on Live Tracking? 

I joined Alpega 12 years ago and I started out working as a Customer Support Team Leader for the Transwide TMS application supporting our shippers and carriers. Over the last four years I implemented various Transwide solutions for our shippers as a Delivery Manager and I moved into product management last year. 

I was really interested in improving visibility because that’s something I kept hearing from businesses across all industries. 

Is that what kickstarted Alpega’s work in the area? 

Each day so much time and money is wasted because of a lack of visibility over the execution of transport and it consistently featured as a pain point for businesses, so Alpega  got to work on developing Live Tracking.  

We started with a proof of concept with several existing customers who helped us iterate on the required tracking features. On top of this, we were able to benefit from the rapid technological advances that made cost-effective, real-time visibility a reality. 

How has the market changed since you started working on Live Tracking? 

Not so long ago end-to-end tracking was science fiction, but now it’s something many businesses demand. That’s driven by the so-called ‘Amazon effect’ where people track their orders online up to the delivery.  

And they’re right to want it, because knowing where your shipments are and having a dynamic ETA is really valuable. It lets businesses plan ahead and make sure everything is ready for unloading, or if a shipment is delayed, use their resources elsewhere. There’s no waiting around. 

That’s something a lot of our customers were really keen for us to address, especially with the current driver shortage. When driver’s time is scarce and expensive, you want to make sure you make the most of it! 

And of course, when you know what’s going on and have access to reliable data, so you can improve and optimise your process. That’s the big win in my opinion and it’s a positive for all players in the supply chain. Mutual gains and collaboration are the key here.  

You recently did a webinar on supply chain visibility. What were attendees most interested in? 

There was a lot of interest in how and what data we track. We realise this is a sensitive topic and we strictly apply GDPR regulations. Tracking only starts on the pick-up date and when the truck is 50km from the pick-up location. As soon as the goods are delivered the tracking stops.  

In terms of how it works, it uses the truck’s onboard device and this means there’s no extra work for drivers. We were conscious that we had to develop something really easy to use. That’s why carriers just need to provide the license plate of the tractor or the trailer. This information can be shared online, via EDI or our weTrack app. Then it’s all pretty much automated from that point. 

Stay tuned for part 2 of our interview… 

Want to find out more about Live Tracking? Check out Nele’s webinar, hosted by Martin Lofvers, CEO of Supply Chain Media. 

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