It would be a great opening scene for the latest summer blockbuster, if, of course, it were not playing out every day on the highways and byways of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia (EMEA).
Imagine: your driver dispatch call-center operator receives a call late Friday afternoon from your transport planner who has a little-known health and beauty supplier in need of a last-minute, rush-job delivery.
The planner is fairly certain the driver you send will be paid, in full, in a week or two’s time and that crossing the few borders the operator needs to should not be a problem since the company usually sends trucks across this stretch of the European Union (EU) with no issue.
You randomly assign a driver and do not give your decision a second thought until you see the news on Monday morning detailing yet another moving-truck theft in which over $500K worth of goods went missing after highway robbers slowed the lorry down and stole products directly from the container.
What’s more, the driver and his truck are still missing.
Sadly, this scenario is becoming less about the world of cinema and more about the day-to-day realities of being a supply chain manager across North America, South America, and Europe.
Shipping companies can overcome these threats and uncertainties, however, by investing in simple vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) GPS solutions such as ParceLive.
Not only does this turnkey hardware and software package monitor external threats toward the long-term reduction of those costs incurred when entire loads go missing, but also identify internal weaknesses in the form of dishonest employees.
Tagging fixed assets & theft prevention:
Too often, logisticians, supply chain personnel, and transport managers forget that they are charged with moving more than just the items located in the back of a lorry. This is to say that they must also ensure all fixed assets (e.g., trucks, trailers, boxes, containers, etc.) are maintained so as to not only ensure roadworthiness in the form of safe handling and operations on the highway, but also monitored so as to ensure efficient operation.
In looking at the current suite of software as a solution products, many systems aim merely to prevent the loss of high-value goods or assets aboard a truck in motion.
Knowing this, thieves are now targeting empty containers, boxes sitting in a yard, and partially loaded rigs that they can sell to public warehouses under the guise that they recovered the assets in following a wreck or rollover.
While ParceLive absolutely protects high-value luxury goods, pharmaceutical items, and time-sensitive products during the delivery process, their easy to recycle and reuse GPS transponders mean that empty lorries or boxes can also be tracked as well as traced should they fall into the wrong hands.
Ensuring compliance & avoiding fines:
For the shipping firm, it can be difficult to see beyond an immediate loss of stolen goods, which researchers estimate at $75K for low-cost, high-turnover items such as those moved on behalf of food and beverage suppliers.
What should be more concerning to the independent owner operator as well as the transport planner, however, is the numerous opportunity costs incurred by a firm that has to reposition empty trucks or proves unable to mass-out a container due to poor route planning and optimization.
On this last point, many roads and bridges not only present planners with safety and environmental regulations with which drivers must comply, but also have the potential to result in fines, delays of up to two days for products awaiting clearance at ‘automated’ checkpoints, and, what’s worse, an increased likelihood of theft since trucks are often left running idly for hours at a time.
ParceLive not only improves the routing and rerouting of deliveries, but also gathers information and data on best-practice drivers so that suppliers know who to contact in the event of a last-minute delivery. This means they no longer run the risk of offering contracts to deviant drivers looking to either maximize their miles by going through needless waypoints, but partner only with those independent owners and operators that refuse to break mandatory rest times or leave goods unattended.
Protecting drivers, owners, & operators:
In returning to the dramatic start of this piece, it is equally important and incumbent upon the broker to focus on driver safety, health, and well-being.
Not only are there fewer and fewer reliable drivers than ever, but the demand for immediate deliveries is forcing many to take shortcuts in their standard operating procedures.
Additionally, and due to the lack of transparency in receiving payments, many drivers feel they have no choice but to turn to a more lawless means in which to earn a paycheck.
While no excuse for poor behaviour, planners and shipping firms have a responsibility to make as easy and safe as possible the routes for drivers by leveraging the monitoring capability and capacity offered to them by ParceLive.
Drivers that know they are being monitored are not only less likely to attempt to commit an act of fraud, but also charge reasonable rates on account of the inherent ‘insurance’ that GPS provides between firms.
In summary, ParceLive is not just a turnkey solution toward ensuring the lack of product theft during transit, but also a means in which to make more robust all the static activities incurred by drivers and fixed assets.
That said, and whilst ensuring driver safety and compliance is non-negotiable, simultaneously correcting for inefficiencies is just good business practice.
And, who knows, one that might not see your firm featured on the silver screen anytime soon.