Unisys Corporation today announced the availability of software functionality that for the first time enables airlines to track the status and location of each piece of a shipment throughout their journey – allowing them and freight forwarders that use them to gain newfound visibility throughout the supply chain.
Integrated with the Unisys Cargo Core application and available to airlines, the new “Piece Level Tracking,” or PLT, functionality enables airlines to accelerate the operational efficiency of cargo shipments. While similar technology is available through shipping companies, the functionality has only been available via their own airplanes. In addition, in cases where shipping companies use airlines to ship cargo, PLT has not previously been available.
“With the growth of e-commerce and the increased quantities of special cargo flown, online retailers and shoppers want to know where their individual cargo pieces are at all points of the supply chain – starting with the freight forwarder and continuing all the way through to when it is delivered to the consignee – as opposed to just the larger shipment of which the individual pieces are a part,” said Rodney Melton, senior director, industry and client management, Unisys.
“This new capability is also critical to suppliers that need information at an individual piece level for more effective planning and storage, as well as for improved visibility so that they can take the appropriate actions to ensure compliance with local customs and regulations. This is especially critical for high-priority and/or perishable cargo such as pharmaceuticals, live animals and food.”
The key outcome
Despite improvements in commercial shipping, a lack of supply chain visibility is one of the biggest challenges faced by cargo providers today. A December 2020 survey found that 92% of supply chain professionals say they can’t trust the data they have on products traveling through their supply chains. Respondents also reported significant annual losses in inventory from product spoilage due to the lack of visibility, with pharmaceutical companies citing losses as much as $138 million a year. A separate study of North American and European retailers showed that just 16% of the companies surveyed are able to get real-time key performance indicators for their supply chain.
In a recent session at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) annual conference, Gregory Pritchard, Head of Global Logistics and JAPAC Distribution at AbbVie, highlighted how real-time visibility can improve operational efficiency, explaining, “Immediate real-time understanding of the position of your shipments, and then being able to respond, creates a level of added assurance for your customers and enhances that service experience.”
Unisys has more than 55 years of experience providing innovative IT solutions to the travel and transportation industry. Globally nine of the top 10 airlines depend on Unisys solutions.