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An “Easy Button” for Transportation Decision Support

by | IntelliTrans | Dec 2, 2021 | Blog News

By embedding more and more knowledge into its systems, IntelliTrans is enabling all supply chain and logistics managers to make good decisions.

Digital transformation has become a key priority for many organizations, but staying the course on digital progress isn’t always easy. Other priorities, disruptions and the extinguishing of daily fires can easily derail any long-term plan and put companies right back at square one. When it comes to digitalization, this may find employees resorting to their “old ways” of managing transportation activities with spreadsheets, phone calls, email and paper notes.

This backpedaling can be detrimental in a world that’s clearly moving in the direction of more digital transformation, which was in place pre-COVID but has become even more important since the pandemic emerged.

“COVID-19 is boosting demand for digital transformation quicker than before as the pandemic exposes vast inefficiencies and disrupts outdated ecosystems and business models,” Umme Sutarwala writes in Top 4 Signs Businesses Are Making Progress­ with Digital Transformation. “Therefore, companies should ensure that they are on the right track with digital transformation now more than ever to maintain business continuity and remain competitive.”

Supporting Good Decisions

Digitalizing knowledge and experience has become a core focus in recent months for IntelliTrans, which is continually honing its solutions to meet its customers’ current and future needs. With freight rates rising, capacity constrained and supply chain disruptions continuing, shippers need robust, digital tools that help them identify, leverage and track the best opportunities. This is something that can’t be handled using manual solutions, and especially not when the activities are multiplied across different sites, carriers and modes.

Take the rail car that a company is leasing for a multiyear period for example. When that lease period expires, that shipper has to decide whether it can squeeze in one more turn before sending it back to the leasing company (assuming it wants to return the car to the lessor). Using a global visibility platform (GVP), the shipper can figure out what the probability is of getting that rail car back in time to be able to send it to the leasing company.

Now, let’s say that probability is 92 percent. “You may choose to try to play the odds or not, depending on the specific scenario that you’re operating in,” said Ken Sherman, President at IntelliTrans. Proper planning requires ensuring that from the time the end customer releases the railcar empty to a shop, until the return to the leasing company must take place, there’s room to get work done to get it back into proper return condition.

The question is, how can you best make the decision whether to eke that last turn out of the car? And, once you’ve made that decision, at what point will it go to the nearest shop for the preparatory work in time for the return? Ideally, the shipper would like to be able to choose from among three nearby shops that have the knowledge, skills, ability and the staffing to do the work that needs to be done. Then, it needs to factor in the predictive transit time to each of those shops and the expected lead times for completion of the work.

But wait, there’s more. Other key metrics that have to be considered include the transit time to get the rail car to the return point (as determined by the leasing company) and the lowest total cost associated with the work. Knowing that these and other intricate details are difficult to manage manually, IntelliTrans can provide “easy button” that companies can use to bundle these steps into a single process.

The easy-to-use decision support system lets shippers pick the lowest-cost option and then it creates the instructions and sends them right to the shop. Then, the empty disposition from the shop is sent onward to the leasing return.

Sherman sees the system as a great tool for newer logistics and transportation managers who may not possess the decades of tribal knowledge that their predecessors had. “We’re enabling the next generation of supply chain and logistics talent to be effective without having a long ramp up curve to get there,” Sherman said. “Embedding that knowledge in our systems is part of the journey that we've been on for the last couple years—and will be going into the future—to enable everyone to make good decisions.”


Your Digitalization Partner

IntelliTrans’ Global Control Tower provides high levels of supply chain transparency; aggregates, completes, and enhances data from a variety of sources; offers visibility into and execution of different aspects of the supply chain; and generates data-driven alerts and analytics that ask deeper questions and deliver meaningful insights.

By leveraging tracking information, the Global Control Tower provides analytics that measures key performance indicators (KPIs) like fleet cycle time, origin/destination dwell time, lane and hauler performance, back orders, freight spend, load optimization, and more. With their rate, equipment, lease, tracking, and invoice data in a central repository that’s accessible 24/7, companies can position themselves for success in any market conditions.