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How to Save Money and Increase Revenue with Real-Time Visibility

Lars G Olsson
November 22, 2022
min to read

In a global supply chain that’s seen more than its fair share of upheaval over the past couple of years, getting both a helicopter’s-eye view and a more in-depth picture of your operation is crucial. Without knowing what’s going on at every stage of your supply chain, you can miss both problems and opportunities.

Real-time visibility means using technology to help collect and analyze information as your raw materials, finished goods, and customer orders move along the steps of your supply chain. All of this data gets fed into a software platform that helps you pinpoint the location of every product in your system right now.

Why’s that matter? For one thing, getting real-time information like this can help you spot potential delivery exceptions before they occur, improving your on-time delivery rate. And not just your on-time deliveries to customers - you’ll also save on inbound deliveries from suppliers and on returns.

It also gives your customers a much better delivery experience, since you can give them more powerful order tracking (reducing your “Where is my order?” or WISMO calls). This reduction in WISMO calls eases the burden on your internal teams, who can focus on other tasks besides fielding customer questions about delivery status. They also won’t have to wonder where incoming supplier orders or returns are.

Here’s what you need to know to add real-time visibility to your operation:

Lack of visibility comes with huge costs.

Real-time visibility is important for every stage along the supply chain – from suppliers to merchants and all the way to end customers.

Eurostat reported that only 63% of consumers they surveyed said they hadn’t experienced any problems with the orders they’d placed online in the previous three months. 

For retailers trying to retain customers, that’s a troubling number. Speed of delivery was the most common issue reported, with nearly a quarter of customers saying they’d experienced a slower delivery than expected. Lack of real-time visibility leads to issues like these, because it hinders your ability to communicate effectively with customers.

Manual systems of supply chain management, such as paper or spreadsheets, just can’t keep up with the pace and complexity of the current supply chain environment. Trying to manage exceptions becomes a big headache, and you’re left always reacting to disruptions, rather than resolving them before they affect your operation or customers.

Not being able to catch exceptions before they happen can add a lot of extra shipping costs. Up to 40% of inbound calls to customer care centers are WISMO calls, and each one costs you employee time (and salary) to deal with. That can add up fast, putting deep cuts into your revenue.

You’ll also have to deal with the expense of returns of unclaimed orders from pickup service points and transport terminal storage, if you don’t have a good way to show customers exactly when their order will be available to pick up. 

Even worse: lack of visibility can seriously harm your customer relationship. If it leads to a missed delivery window and extended shipping times, you can even lose that customer. According to a report by PostNord, 75% of Nordic customers expect a one- to five-day delivery window. 

Customers also want choice in where and how to receive their deliveries. More than half of those surveyed said choice in delivery place (home vs. pick-up point, etc.) was even more important than speed of delivery. Without real-time visibility it’s all but impossible to keep track of deliveries across these different acceptance methods.

In order to be able to meet those delivery expectations, it’s critical that you have real-time, end-to-end visibility into every delivery.

Benefits of real-time visibility

The most obvious benefits of visibility are reversing the challenges listed above. First, you won’t be working with old information, so you can head off or fix delivery problems in real time. You can also provide clear, detailed tracking to your customers, which cuts your WISMO calls by 30 to 60%

Visibility also makes it much easier to spot and correct inefficiencies in your fulfillment process. Is one carrier underperforming in a particular service area? Are orders slower to leave one distribution facility? Answering these questions – and fixing these problems – are much more difficult if you don’t have a clear picture of what’s going on throughout your supply chain.

Another area where visibility can save you both in expense and customer perception is sustainability. Businesswire reported in October 2021 that 60% of global consumers consider sustainability an important part of their decision to buy from a brand.

Real-time visibility can help you meet customer demand for sustainability by reducing the carbon footprint of each delivery. Reducing returns, heading off delivery exceptions before they cause expensive delays, and automating routing and tracking can all help you reduce the miles driven by your delivery vehicles and carriers.

How to find the right real-time visibility platform

In order to reap all of these benefits, you have to choose a platform that’s easy to use and gives both you and your customers a smooth delivery experience. 

The first thing to consider is whether the platform provides a branded experience so your customers can track their order without leaving your website. Sending customers to a third-party carrier tracking site causes headaches of its own. According to Baymard Institute, customers experience usability issues when forced to visit third-party tracking sites. These issues include: 

  • Missing information: Third-party tracking sites only show  events where an order is scanned through distribution centers. They don’t show customers status updates such as “order processing” “ready for shipment” and “picked up by carrier.”
  • Disconnected information: Customers forced to visit a third-party site will only see package details like shipping events and current location. If they want to check on order details or need to see the product page for one of the items in the order, they have to navigate back to the e-commerce site and look up their order again.

A platform that gives your customers a branded tracking experience on your own website solves these issues and gives you more control over how much information customers can see.

A good platform should also automate much of the delivery process. From providing dynamic ETAs to automated exception detection and proactive alerts so you can re-route as needed, automation can save you a lot of expense and provide a much better customer experience.  

Look for a platform that gives you a personalized dashboard so you have all the information you need in one place, without irrelevant or unnecessary data cluttering your view. It should also help you track KPIs, so you know at any given moment how your delivery service is performing. Some important metrics to track include:

  • Reliability (such as on-time delivery rate and accuracy of delivery estimates)
  • Responsiveness (these metrics include response time for customer inquiries and speed to resolution of delivery issues)
  • Communication (the level of customer engagement between purchase and final delivery – are you just providing a tracking number, or actively alerting customers to important steps along the delivery path?) 

Wismotion: Your real-time visibility partner

Not sure where to find a platform that does all of the important tasks above? Wismotion can help. Our platform gives you a personalized monitoring dashboard to give you a helicopter view of your operation, zoom in to find items with the potential for problems, and take informed, timely action. 

It also allows you to choose how you communicate with your customers. You can choose a dynamic content template from the Wismotion library and add your own branding, so customers get a seamless experience across the purchase and delivery process.

With Wismotion, you can improve the customer delivery experience, save money on delivery costs through automation, and make intelligent business decisions using better data.

Ready to see what Wismotion can do for your fulfillment and delivery process? Book a demo today.