Freight Visibility (tracking) Improve the reliability of supply chain management. Status and locations of shipments (vehicles, rail cars, containers and individual loads). Mobile communications and Global positioning systems (GPS). Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and bar codes.
Asset Management Maximize equipment utilization. Equipment location (tractors, trailers, rail cars, containers, ships). Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS; GPS and RFID tags). Status monitoring of vehicle and cargo conditions.
Efficiency Improvements Improve productivity and reduce errors in data transmission. Verification and exchange of shipment information. Non-intrusive inspection and information technologies such as optical character readers (OCR), RFID tags and bio-metrics (to identify drivers).
Freight Information Exchange Information exchange using web-based technologies and electronic data interchange (EDI). Real-time terminal information systems.
Regulatory Compliance Pre-screen loads and direct low-risk freight to quick clearance. Enhance security at international borders. Electronic pre-notification of shipment information.
Key Information Technology Drivers in Freight Distribution
There are five main areas of application of information technologies in freight distribution:
  • Freight visibility. Ability to track the status and location of shipments.
  • Asset management. Ability to manage transportation assets such as vehicles and containers.
  • Efficiency. Ability to improve the quality of freight information being exchanged.
  • Freight information exchange. Ability to provide easily accessible and real time freight information systems.
  • Regulatory compliance. Ability to comply with regulations, such as customs requirements, in a more efficient and cost effective manner.