How Your Supply Chain Can Benefit from a Real-Time Visibility Platform

Real-Time Visibility (RTV) has become an increasingly important initiative for supply chain leaders as the technology to make it possible, becomes more readily accessible.


Understanding the business value and positive impacts of RTV platforms is important before making investments in this technology. This guide highlights the value and ROI that can be delivered when implementing a real time visibility platform.

You will learn:

Key benefits of real time visibility

  • Increased savings from reducing detention and penalties (OTIF)
  • Improve utilization of warehouse and yard resources from real-time ETAs
  • Empower customers to view their shipment status vs. Relying on customer service
  • Reduce safety stock with more reliable delivery performance
  • Mitigate and avoid disruptions with integration of external data feeds
  • Increase customer service with proactive updates on shipment status
  • Turn data into business intelligence to reveal actionable insights

Our solution to your supply chain challenges

Supply chains today are being tasked with becoming more global, complex, and multi-channel while reducing resources, spend, and even carbon footprint. If that’s not enough of a challenge, supply chain leaders must deal with external disruptions that necessitate flexibility and agility, such as large carrier bankruptcies, trade disputes, weather events, and global pandemics.

To navigate these challenges, it’s critical to make your supply chain visible and accessible, utilizing technology that can adapt as your supply chain evolves. Being able to have visibility to all your movements, past and present, allows you to prioritize initiatives to improve things for the future.

"By 2023, 50% of global leading enterprises will have invested in real-time transportation visibility solutions."
Gartner, Market Guide for Real-Time Visibility Platforms, Bart De Muynck, 25 February 2020.

Navisphere® gives visibility to all inventory; at rest at your facilities, or supplier facilities, and in motion, throughout LSP (logistics service provider) networks. To do this, we utilize an industry leading suite of APIs that connect to your ERP (enterprise resource planning) and your network of LSPs. Navisphere applies data science algorithms to predict ETAs (estimated time of arrival) and calculate risk or disruption within your supply chain.

3 reasons you need RTV through Navisphere

The following are some top supply chain challenges that are fueling the growth and investment in RTV platforms.

1. Harness value from the exponential growth in data

There is more data today than ever before. Some statistics suggest that 90% of the world’s data was created in the past two years. In addition to the exponential growth of data, almost every segment and node in your supply chain is now producing accessible data. But are you:

  • Capturing information in an efficient and effective way?
  • Utilizing this data to build predictive models about inventory flowing through your supply chain?

Navisphere delivers the following advantages by managing and extracting value from your data:

Business Intelligence: Our carrier agnostic RTV platform turns unorganized and disparate streams of data into powerful business intelligence that can be utilized to identify opportunities within the supply chain. It can also be incorporated into other data lakes within your business to impact areas outside logistics, like innovation, value creation, pricing, and more.

Predictive Analytics: Navisphere ensures that not only does more information lead to improvements in cost, time, and reliability, but that data can increasingly help predict problems before they arise. For example, you can use Navisphere’s dynamic ETA calculator to:

  • Identify when product will be at your facilities to plan receiving labor
  • Compare the ETA to the commitment date to predict risk to the inventory in motion
  • Compare in-transit inventory to your current stock to calculate days of inventory on hand for critical items

2. Meet increased customer expectations

In today’s world, consumers expect and demand to know how their order is progressing through every stage of the journey, from purchase to delivery. Speed, flexibility, and consistency are not only expectations, but demands from consumers and customers of all sizes. Even internal departments within your company have similar expectations of the supply chain and logistics teams. Navisphere addresses these challenges in the following ways:

Proactive alerts: Be the first to know about shipment status updates, delay notifications, or disruptions, so you can improve service and communication with your customers. Navisphere allows you to configure real-time status alerts based on product, line of business, channel, value, and many other filters that our customers can enable.

Customer engagement: Connecting your customers to a RTV platform allows you to deliver on the expectations discussed above. An example of meeting this challenge is how we deliver real-time status updates to Microsoft, a key customer and partner of Navisphere.

When an order is placed on Microsoft’s online store, a tracking application built within their storefront that commits to a promised delivery date, provides regular and timely updates, and sends email notifications if there is a delay or issue, often with a discount or free item. This keeps the consumer in the Microsoft online store instead of sending them to a carrier website, giving them a unified experience.

All of that is done by listening to the REST API (Application Programming Interface) milestone service built into Navisphere and leveraging its underlying intelligence and connectivity. Larger customers, who have many facilities and repeat orders, can also be granted access to the application so they can self-serve on their transactions, reducing call and email volume significantly. Additionally, it streamlines their customer service department to address more strategic initiatives.

Reduce Risk: Supply chain disruptions can happen at any time, and each one has its own unique impact and characteristics. Knowing the current location of your inventory and where it's going in the coming days is crucial for supply chain leaders to develop effective and timely mitigation strategies. Navisphere integrates with a robust set of APIs that link your supply chain data with external factors like weather and traffic, pairing that with predictive analytics, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning to help you proactively track and avoid potential disruptions.

3. Navigate supply chain complexity with agility

The pace of change in the supply chain industry today is unprecedented, and global commerce is more complex than ever before. RTV and the ability to consume, combine, and analyze data from a growing number of integrations is essential to building a responsive, resilient, competitive, and profitable strategy. Customers need RTV platforms to be global, multimodal, multi-channel, and extremely agile as their business grows and changes.

Cloud Capabilities: Navisphere is deployed to the cloud via Microsoft Azure to deliver an even more comprehensive, powerful solution:

  • Unlimited scalability
  • Premier data security
  • Local deployments within your region
  • Access to massive ecosystem of tech partners
  • Increased application speed

Internet of Things (IoT) Device Connectivity: Through Microsoft Azure IoT Central, Navisphere offers IoT integrations to take monitoring and tracking to the next level. Leveraging Intel’s IoT devices, we can measure and monitor physical elements that impact your shipments:

Navisphere on laptop screen

With this feature, you see the real-time location of your products, as well as monitor and be alerted to potential spoilage, damages, or tampering of their goods, with the goal of engaging and recovering from the issue immediately.

About TMC, a division of C.H. Robinson

Global supply chains are growing increasingly complex. Businesses need the latest technology and industry expertise to advance and stay ahead of the competition. At TMC, a division of C.H. Robinson, we understand what makes supply chains faster, stronger, and more efficient. As a leader in global logistics management, we combine industry expertise with our global technology platform, Navisphere®, to support the world’s most complex supply chains. Our logistics experts are located in Control Tower® locations around the world: Amsterdam, Chicago, Monterrey, São Paulo, Seattle, Shanghai, and Wrocław. This Control Tower® network, supported by our technology platform, connects our customers to their suppliers and supply chain partners. Our customers leverage these capabilities to manage their logistics in over 170 countries across all modes of transportation.

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