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Discovering and Using Commercial Map Intelligence to Better Manage Your ETAs

Imagine capturing the ability to eliminate the waterfall effect in last-mile operations by using maps and data to connect the digital and physical worlds.

Recent studies by Trimble MAPS on Estimated Time of Arrivals (ETAs) along multi-stop routes reveal that 42% of missed ETAs create a “waterfall” effect, resulting in additional misses. Unlike a domino effect, the waterfall spreads in different directions, cascading negative impacts throughout a supply chain. The results are losses in time, dollars and customer satisfaction.

The best way to determine an ETA comes from making the same trip repeatedly and noting its duration and conditions. But today even short routes can become delayed by accidents, road maintenance crews, weather, equipment failures and even social events like demonstrations and protests. 

The risk of a missed ETA grows with every mile and stop along a delivery route, and despite all the innovation that has transformed the shipping and transportation sectors in recent years, it’s still the final mile that presents the greatest risk of failing to deliver.

What’s Involved in Map Intelligence

Data gathered by Trimble MAPS shows more than 25% of delivery locations are off the mark by 0.5 mile or more; deliveries based on zip codes can be off by as much as 20 miles. GPS services don’t differentiate between separate entrances and exits for trucks and automobiles. 

Every U-turn costs a driver at least a couple of minutes. The same for each text sent or phone call placed to find a dock. The average delay during the last half mile caused by a driver trying to find a poorly described dock or a badly mapped destination can negatively impact an ETA by five-to-eight-minutes. An ETA missed by ten minutes can add a 70-minute delay to the next stop on a route.

There is no way to guarantee an ETA, but shippers, carriers, and receivers can leverage map intelligence services, which use maps and data to connect the digital and physical worlds. These map-centric solutions combine road network data and route optimization software to simulate everything a driver can encounter on a trip. They can track changes and provide alternative routes in real time. Plus, they offer APIs for mapping, routing, navigation, and location for fleets and individual vehicles, using data and analyses provided by drivers, customers, and shippers.

Mapping intelligence draws on three areas of experience and expertise: analysis, planning and driving. At Trimble MAPS, analysis utilizes resources & routes, profitability analysis, driver performance and fleet debriefing, plus analysis data science. Planning is rooted in Trimble’s Global Commercial vehicle map data and routing engine, incorporating distance and duration, strategic planning and network modeling along with daily routing and decision support at the fleet and vehicle level. Driving takes into account mobile connectivity and dispatch, dynamic resequencing, navigation and real-time visibility.

Collaboration between shippers, carriers and receivers creates sound ETAs supported by data. What makes a good ETA? One that is developed well in advance and:

  • Accounts for as many variables as possible

  • Uses real-time updating

  • Considers the waterfall effect

  • Features transparency and visibility to all stakeholders

  • Provides communication and notifications in real-time

Shippers have the least control over the waterfall effect of a missed ETA, yet suffer the greatest potential impacts to their bottom line. Penalties for missed ETAs may include late fees or refunds issued for late deliveries. Retail studies show 60% of customers who have a “bad shipping experience” will consider shopping elsewhere next time. 

Carriers are also adversely affected: 55% of consumers stop using a retailer after two or three late deliveries. While these studies are retail based, wholesale expectations might be similarly aligned. Carriers should also note 71% of consumers who experience a shipping delay will rate a higher satisfaction score on post-purchase surveys if they were notified in advance of the delay.

Gaining the Competitive Advantage

Given the stakes, supply chain businesses that successfully manage ETAs provide value for customers and hold an advantage over competitors. How can your company gain that advantage? Get the tools of trade and take control of your ETAs.

Consider these six essentials:

  1. Strong Network Design and Modeling Tools: These provide your business with a reliable, repeatable network that forms the foundation of leveraging mapping intelligence.

  2. Shipper-Carrier Collaboration Tools: These are used to effectively communicate expectations clearly.

  3. Advanced Route Planning Tools: Leverage these to execute plans based on feasibility and real-time data.

  4. Commercial Mapping and Location Solutions: Underlying data needs to serve your business and your freight (these enable your drivers to know exactly where they are going and the best way to get there).

  5. A Connected Data Ecosystem: Properly account for variables in real time.

  6. Visibility and Alerting Tools: Because all the above can’t capture every exception, but these tools can help you effectively and quickly respond to the unexpected.

Harness Technology to Increase Efficiency

What makes these tools powerful is their ability to create an accessible hub that shippers, carriers and receivers can leverage, allowing all partners to execute in alignment. The results are increased efficiency and profits along with reduced costs and friction.

Reach out to us today to learn more about how Trimble solutions can help you facilitate this collaboration and optimize the transportation supply chain for everyone.