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Road Construction
Road Operations
Tuesday, 07 March 2017

Visibility could lead to freight supply chain efficiency

Austroads has released a report that examines the benefits of using end-to-end supply chain visibility technologies.

The project, undertaken with the Australian Logistics Council Supply Chain Standards Working Group and GS1 Australia, used real time industry pilots with TOLL, Arrium OneSteel and Nestlé to assess the impact of using end to end supply chain visibility technology.

The technology uses Global Data Standards (GDS) and enables all stakeholders in a supply chain to keep track of freight.

Increasingly GDS-enabled traceability systems record and follow the trail as products, parts, and materials come from a range of suppliers and are processed and ultimately distributed as end products to various consumers/users.

Transport assets such as vehicles, containers or pallets can also be tracked and associated with the freight occupying the asset, the location and the current operational status. Multiple attributes such as weight, temperature and inspection data can be associated with the vehicle, container, pallet, as well as to the individual items of freight, providing assurance for customers.

The pilots measured benefits of efficiency, integrity, visibility and innovation. Costs were assessed across the variables of preparation, development and implementation.

The pilots show that the benefits are not evenly dispersed across the supply chain network. Costs and added complexity for small transport suppliers countervail benefits in the short term, where bespoke legacy systems are involved. Larger transport suppliers experienced immediate and significant benefits with enhanced business processes and dynamic capabilities, including innovation, already apparent.

The report suggests that benefits to Australian manufacturers, producers and traders justify an industry-based Supply Chain Visibility Strategy to encourage adoption. Governments, the standards body and industry peak bodies will need to work together to execute the strategy which is paced to take into consideration the needs of the fragmented freight transport industry

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the findings of Austroads’ report are in line with the Government’s commitment to develop a comprehensive national freight and supply chain strategy.

“Improving the ability of businesses to keep track of freight from the time an item leaves the farm or factory gate until it is delivered, is crucial to improving the operational efficiency of supply chains in Australia,” Mr Chester said.

 “To help facilitate this we will ask the independent inquiry into the establishment of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy to consider Austroads’ findings.”

Report link: Investigating the Potential Benefits of Enhanced End to End Supply Chain Visibility

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