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Could increased tracking capabilities improve supplier performance management?

FedEx has come up with something called SenseAware, which is a microchip embedded in the label of your package. Each FedEx package is scanned about 40 times and all that data is fed back. With the microchip in the label, you can now see where it is real time, at any given time. And I think more things are moving to that level of detail. Amazon already does it. I can watch my package coming down the street and see that it's stopping at my neighbor's house before it comes to mine. Even 10 years ago, we didn't have that visibility and now we demand it. Everything that's happened in the past two years has accelerated technology by several years. I think we all would have shifted to remote working eventually. Eventually we would have had massive breakthroughs in our shipping, tracking, etc. But because of this pandemic we're all at home, shopping online like we've never shopped before. And all that got fast-forwarded several years.

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Anonymous Author
FedEx has come up with something called SenseAware, which is a microchip embedded in the label of your package. Each FedEx package is scanned about 40 times and all that data is fed back. With the microchip in the label, you can now see where it is real time, at any given time. And I think more things are moving to that level of detail. Amazon already does it. I can watch my package coming down the street and see that it's stopping at my neighbor's house before it comes to mine. Even 10 years ago, we didn't have that visibility and now we demand it. Everything that's happened in the past two years has accelerated technology by several years. I think we all would have shifted to remote working eventually. Eventually we would have had massive breakthroughs in our shipping, tracking, etc. But because of this pandemic we're all at home, shopping online like we've never shopped before. And all that got fast-forwarded several years.
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Anonymous Author
One of the techniques I’ve heard from clients is increasing communication with suppliers and distributors, especially if there are a few steps along the way. Before, you would place a purchase order, and they’d give you an estimated time of arrival. Then you might follow up or get some update, but maybe not. Now, a lot of my customers are trying to find out where the actual shipment is along the way: Did it leave the manufacturing site? Did it pass customs? Is it on the ship? Having that communication throughout and doing that electronically is the goal. But depending on who you've cobbled together, there aren’t many that have those types of electronic capabilities, especially among freight brokers and forwarders.
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Anonymous Author
A progress tracking mechanism is interesting because for many people the frustration comes from having no visibility. You probably wouldn't be as frustrated if you knew exactly where your shipment was in the process, whether it’s been manufactured or is sitting on a crate. It's the Domino's Pizza analogy; they were one of the first to release an app that could tell you if your pizza’s in the oven, getting boxed, or on its way to you.
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