In the bustling world of ecommerce, ensuring that products navigate through the supply chain and reach the final customer efficiently is paramount. Track and trace systems serve as a vital tool, enabling both businesses and customers to monitor orders from the warehouse to the doorstep. Let’s explore how a proficient track and trace system enhances transparency and is particularly crucial for brands that engage directly with consumers.
What is Track and Trace in Shipping?
Track and trace, also known as tracking and tracing, is a method that allows ecommerce entities to ascertain the present and historical locations of inventory throughout the supply chain. The objective of track and trace is to offer complete visibility of an item's whereabouts and status during the ecommerce fulfillment process.
While consumer-oriented track and trace systems predominantly utilize barcoding and scanners to continuously monitor the package's movement, it can also be applied to freight shipping and B2B transactions. In the modern ecommerce landscape, providing a clear and user-friendly track and trace system is a strategic approach to enhance consumer satisfaction and confidence.
The Essence of a Track and Trace System
A track and trace system, a software utilized for shipment tracking, integrates information from various parcel or freight carriers into a single digital database. This database can be accessed by various stakeholders, such as customer service agents, supply chain managers, and logistics managers, to locate shipments.
Different users might require access to various aspects of the system. For instance, logistics managers might need an overview and statistical analysis of package routes, while customer service agents might need to determine the location of a customer's package to address queries.
How Track and Trace Operates
In most conventional carriers, a barcode allows each item to be tracked at pivotal points in the shipping process, such as when a label is generated, when a package is collected from the fulfillment center, when it enters a distribution hub, and when it’s dispatched with a delivery driver.
Customers typically expect to be able to monitor their deliveries through a shipment tracking system. By inputting a number associated with the package’s barcode or QR code on a company's website or app, they can view a history of their parcel's stops at distribution hubs and when the package is out for final delivery.
Advantages of Implementing Track and Trace
Implementing track and trace provides numerous benefits, including:
- Reduced Costs: By optimizing delivery routes and identifying inefficiencies, track and trace can minimize wastage and improve delivery management.
- Enhanced Customer Service: Businesses can proactively address shipping issues, potentially identifying delayed or lost packages before the customer raises concerns.
- Increased Trust: Offering transparent tracking information enhances customer trust and reduces the frequency of customer service inquiries.
- Problem Identification and Resolution: Track and trace systems can highlight issues in the supply chain, enabling businesses to identify and rectify problems, thereby enhancing supply chain management.
Differentiating Between Tracker and Tracer
While often used interchangeably in the context of shipping, a tracker typically focuses on monitoring the forward progress of an item, including its real-time location. Conversely, a tracer is associated with the path the parcel has traversed through the supply chain, including the various distribution centers and hubs it has passed through en route to its current tracked location.
Track and trace shipping is fundamentally important for maintaining customer confidence and providing your ecommerce business with control over its supply chain and inventory. If you utilize various carriers, managing track and trace data across multiple platforms can be challenging. With Airhouse, you can consolidate and streamline your track and trace information for all your shipments and parcel deliveries. Reach out to one of our fulfillment experts to discover more about Airhouse's solutions for enhancing track and trace data for your business.