The information exchange for consignments on transit has played a key role in the long run; their delivery right from the initial stages to its final destination is preferred by the client (Coyle, Barti & Novack, p. 353). Thus, a close nexus between the shipping firm and its client is maintained in availing relevant and accurate information during the processes of the transaction. In line with Coyle, Barti and Novack (2006, p.353) argument, this information exchange significance (during the transaction process) as spread along with three phases: when populating the carriers’ course information before departure; information for planning itinerary for the carrier soon after departure and during the transit process and finally, information post-delivery (353).
The media along which the transactions are undertaken have tended to switch from manual operations and paperwork, to improve efficacy in handling transactions and remain cost-effective Coyle, Barti and Novack (2006, p.362). The rooting of information technology and its advancement in the logistic management and transportation process by transportation providers is partly a contributing factor to the switching. This has seen a transformation in transaction documentation; right from the client initial request documents, be it a bill of lading, waybill or the manifest. According to Coyle, Barti and Novack basic information technology mainstreamed in this global sector include the electronic discharge interchange (EDI); barcoding technology where the alternating binary numbers (of zero (indicate by space between bar) and one (bars customized for integers) series are patterned to form a strip of bar codes such that when the scanner is passed through, a number is registered (363-375). PDF 417 bar code and SSCC-18 are other generics and Track and Trace technology. This allows continuous communication tracking during shipment; it introduces an internet interface and satellite positioning systems.
The adoption of tracking systems by global transportation providers has been generic, as seen in the following three case studies. DHL Express offers optional tracking tool services powered by the internet DHL ProView facility where a client can keep up to date with the status of shipping of his consignment (DHL International GmbH, 2010). From the internet, it allows clients at a remote location wherever and/or whenever to monitor the real-time progress of their consignments. The tracking is customized to support either text messaging and/or email messaging (DHL International GmbH, 2010). DHL provide their clients with waybill documents that contain in them prescribed numbers that are to be uploaded for the tracking (DHL International GmbH, 2010). Dial-up calls to the nearest DHL customer services can provide tracking information.
United Parcel Service of America (UPS) is another global transportation provider that offers a variety of tracking options. Online tracking via internet, client uploads reference numbers from the bill of lading to establish shipment progress; the client can also email the reference numbers to a prescribed address for an update; use of online signature authentication of delivery signature and the Quantum View Manage alerts clients (via email messaging) especially, delay cases in of consignment arrival (United Parcel Service of America, 2010). Maersk Line tracking system is concentrated only on uploading the prescribed number for the consignment on their online monitoring system for feedback on the progress of the shipment (Moller, n.d.).
In the three tracking case studies, the remote access to internet services allows the clients to use online monitoring: However, the DHL supports the use of reference numbers in their website or sending the same number via email to a prescribed address so as to receive updates; UPS supports website referencing and signature authentication as well as sending progress alerts to clients email inbox while Maersk Line supports only website referencing. Text messaging and dial-up calls are also used for tracking with DHL. In the face of stiff competition, the Maersk Line tracking tool is outdone by those broad ranges exhibited by UPS and DHL Express. Thus, with Maersk Line tracking customers tend to feel they are missing opportunities. However, where internet services signal is low, all internet related are affected, a DHL customer will turn to landline calls while UPS one will turn to mobile text messaging. It’s quite clear as much as internet services are popular for real-time services but doesn’t guarantee security for the confidentiality of the details. Some of the internets come with specification on minimum requirements for which to run on the computer. For instance, the DHL toolbar runs on Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher versions (DHL International GmbH, 2010).
UPS tracking package seems to have the upper hand in feeling the different tastes of its customers although with not much difference from UPS. The facilities range from signature authentication, website referencing, mobile messaging alerts, email messaging, and dial calls. Main factors that are heavily considered when deciding to implement information technology and preparing logistics: where to initiate the operations as well as in the way systems are introduced (Coyle, Barti, and Novack, 2006, 2006, p.11-1). Integration of this has been witnessed in the supply chain. Transportation is an integral element of the whole logistical cycle, thus when transport costs are incurred during they tend to hamper the logistical aspects. The converse in some circumstances is also true, for instance, poor tracking systems end up giving misleading details regarding cargo on transit.
Dollar discounters ought to use the UPS tracking systems because they are in the textile business which involves frequently changing of hands of cargo thus, the signature authentication as cargo is proof that the person is in possession of the cargo. In this case, it is very difficult for the consignment to be claimed by the wrong person and fail to recognize this. The fact that UPS tracking sends alert text messages to the client’s mobile such that in case of any irregularity such as delay of cargo meant to reach destination earlier, this can elicit a reaction and get to intervene and know the cause of these. Such issues occur especially when your cargo is commonly shipped or when their several cargoes that is being at the same time by the same person in a remote location.
The client can also track cargo from the local UPS customer service through the dial landline calls. DHL tracking tools are also powerful and quite customizable but it’s in the innovative ideas that make UPS more attractive in their package. In the case of Maersk Line tracking only by website referencing may not be adequate since not every time the client is in proximity to internet services. The ability to track with UPS especially with the alert option enables the client to focus on other issues until probed while in the case of Maersk line and DHL the client must be in active anticipation of anything can happen.
Coyle, J. Barti, E. & Novack, R. (2006). Transportation, 6th ed. Thomson South-Western: Mason OH.
DHL International GmbH. (2010). Express Tracking Tools For All Needs. Web.
Moller, A. (2010). Tracking. Web.
United Parcel Service of America. (2010). Tracking. Web.