Uncertainty around borders leading to need for transparency

on November 20, 2017

During the last few years, global trade has been growing at an unprecedented rate and is having a considerable impact on today’s global supply chains in many ways. According to the World Trade Organisation world exports of manufactured goods show a 5% growth rate per year over the last ten years. Globalisation has impacted supply chain security and technology solutions as global logistics providers have to cope with rising global demand from international customers and must scrutinise all operations related to planning, controlling and coordinating the distribution of goods when crossing international borders.

Changes in global regulations, such as Brexit, are expected to create even tougher environmental controls around borders. According to a stark economic analysis of the likely impact of customs checks after Brexit Britain will be hit by huge border delays and the outcome could have far-reaching consequences for the road haulage industry. Indeed any change to the relationship with the EU could profoundly affect those who make their living delivering goods across international borders.

Away from Brexit there is uncertainty elsewhere surrounding trade with reform set to take place in NAFTA, tension in parts of Spain and the ever-expanding role of China all things to be considered when looking at the evolution of global borders.

Image from the World Trade Organisation

“A crucial goal of any supply chain security effort is to promote the timely, efficient flow of commerce while protecting and securing the supply chain as well as reducing its vulnerability to disruption.”

Bill AndersonInternational safety health and security Director (Ryder)

The cold chain logistics market is also concerned about the coming changes. Preventing contamination and preservation of cold chain shipments have increased in complexity as the supply chain has globalized. A larger portion of temperature regulated goods – food and medicine – are crossing international borders creating both regulatory challenges as well as more opportunities for failure and/or complication before goods reach their final destination.

The pharmaceutical supply chain is highly complex and requires a complicated & controlled logistics process. As medicines change hands many times between the manufacturer and patient its transportation relies upon infallible temperature control and meeting stringent border regulations across regions. Providers must guarantee the integrity and security of the products throughout the entire process.

Changes to global borders and trade could mean huge dealsy for goods. Image via foodmanufacture.co.uk

Strengthening supply chain management and maintaining end-to-end cold chain visibility is a critical focus for the pharmaceutical industry as a single loose link in the chain could result in thousands or even millions of dollars in inventory loss, logistics costs and settlement fees.

The food industry as well has to cope with rising cross-border implications and will be affected by Brexit changes. Waiting times in border controls are expected to rise drastically and consideration has to be given to how refrigerated vehicles transporting low shelf life products will be monitored. Each year two million vehicles cross the channel into the UK via Dover with an average of 5,500 food trucks a day with the numbers rising to 8,000 vehicles on peak days according to BearingPoint subsidiary LCP Consulting.

On top of this the Republic of Ireland sees significant volumes moving across its borders and is critical to trade in the UK representing up to 70% of the tonnage and 50% of the value traded by the UK with the EU in some of the food sub-segments.

Cross border tracking solutions could become key to providing transparency amongst uncertain borders

The rise in border uncertainty not just in Britain but across the world has led to an increased demand for shipment visibility and transparency. With the time it takes for goods to cross borders no longer certain or predictable knowing where shipments will likely get held up, and how long for regardless of the carrier or which country they are entering will become paramount. According to a supply chain survey conducted by Food Manufacture, biggest supply chain needs relate to product and ingredient traceability by 49%, which qualifies this capability as the biggest logistics concern in the food industry this year.

Cross border tracking solutions such as ParceLive offer access to real-time data allowing each unique product or shipment to be tracked and monitored throughout the supply chain. Whether by air or water global shipments are set to come under increased customs delays and scrutiny in the coming years. The best way to safeguard shipments to ensure direct knowledge and visibility on them at all times is via a real-time asset/shipment location and environmental tracking capability.

As well as providing location data on shipments ParceLive also allows those shipping cross border to access information on whether their shipments were opened at customs or mishandled while they were there. By interpreting data on a higher level users of the service will also be able to predict which crossings experience the most delays and advise future shipments in real time direct from the parcel. This enables immediate action to be taken to promptly address and correct any issues throughout the chain. Access to real-time data when shipping cross border is crucial to improve the overall supply chain processes in an ever changing and unpredictable environment. With the integration of intelligent systems and monitoring technologies such ParceLive users of the service can track inventory status cross border on a piece by piece or pallet by pallet basis regardless of who is carrying the shipment itself. This data integrated across supply chains means the capability to detect bottle necks and hold ups before they even occur saving money, waste and time.

Stephen HartnettUncertainty around borders leading to need for transparency