Technology specialist Elemica, which counts among its shipper clients mostly bulk customers in the chemical and tire and rubber industries, is gearing up for a network upgrade in 2013.
The company, which works to connect shippers with bulk carriers through a substantial IT network, plans on expanding to encompass a social networking aspect where shippers can get expanded data on carriers in the network. Elemica is also focused on strengthening its IT services to make the network faster and more efficient. But even with all these IT improvements, some shippers still have very basic concerns about a shipment’s visibility.
“What I’m hearing a lot from our customers is the desire to have better data about proof of delivery,” Cindi Hane, Elemica’s vice president of product management, told American Shipper
. “It’s still, in practice, very difficult to get definitive data on POD from their domestic carriers.”
This feedback surprised Hane because of the technological advances in the industry. “Carriers still have problems, in some instances, proving to their customers that their products have been delivered,” she said.
Hane said the specialized carriers her shippers use aren’t as advanced in the IT arena as some of the larger parcel truckers. She also said it’s been difficult providing accurate visibility because of the diversity of shippers involved and the variety of data streams. Part of this network upgrade involves providing more data options, so that if a carrier presents its data in one form, Elemica can translate it to the shipper’s preferred data-collection method.
As for the upcoming year, she sees truckers and shippers focusing on reducing freight costs, something Elemica’s technology will help them accomplish. Detention of goods along a route, she said, is one of the largest issues. Elemica currently allows truckers to contact their shippers through the network when a problem that might require more money arises, sending an updated cost sheet that streamlines the process and minimizes these roadblocks. The technology, she added, has been popular in Europe for some time, but is still gaining traction in the United States.
“It certainly helps the carrier get their money faster,” she said, noting that it truly helps both sides of the equation. “It really eliminates the post audit process for the shipper.” - Jon Ross