The transportation of goods has always been big business, with billions of tons of items moving by rail, shipping, air and highway each year. In the U.S, there are about 12 million trucks, rail cars locomotives and vessels moving the goods over the nation’s transportation network. E-commerce has only made that industry grow over the past couple of decades, as more and more people have switched much of their shopping online. While e-commerce offers speed of purchase, people also expect speed of delivery, which has made the sellers and the transporters have to rethink the way they transport goods.
In the U.S., the e-commerce market is now over $400 billion a year and continues to grow. There are not only the behemoths like Amazon, but many smaller companies are in the game as well. For those companies, there are strategies they need to use to ensure they can get their goods to customers in a timely manner. One of those strategies today is to build more distribution centers. This gets them closer to the customers and allows them to distribute goods more quickly. When they are within a 750-mile radius of customers, they can ship by truck, which is faster and cheaper than other methods.
Getting closer to customers isn’t the only method that retailers and transportation companies use to ensure goods can get to customers as fast as possible. They also use a range of shipment tracking integrations and methods to track their fleets. There are many types of freight management software that can track goods from the time they leave the retailer’s warehouse until they show up on the customer’s door. Most of them work by having a bar code scanned in by each entity that receives the shipment. Shipment tracking integrations often involve cooperation between the seller, shipper, deliverer and sometimes even the customer.
The companies that do the shipping and delivering also have their own methods to track their fleets and also to ensure they are efficiently using their fleets. This can include using transportation broker software to ensure they get loads that are as full as possible so they maximize the use of their vehicles and operate as efficiently as possible.
The ultimate goal of all involved in the chain is to get goods to customers safely, quickly and as inexpensively as possible. These methods all help do that.