At a time when production and delivery schedules are increasingly tight, importers and exporters need tracking systems that can provide easily accessible and up-to-date information on shipments around the world.
They also want to be able to customize that data and exploit it, says Frédéric Serra, director of business applications at Bolloré Logistics in Paris. "Companies want to manage their shipments and accounts in the way that makes the most sense for them," he adds.
In response, SDV has created a new track and trace system called LINK. It allows clients to manage their shipments in real time from any location around the world and to access their shipment details directly. Companies can also subscribe to automated alert services for urgent shipments while receiving alerts on their mobile devices.
Customized pages and reports along with flexible search engines, meanwhile, mean that companies can manage their own supply chains, analyse large amounts of data and produce their own reports.
Crucially, the SDV tool can consolidate logistical data from all actors in the supply chain including airlines, shipping companies, customs offices and clients. "In a tight chain with many different players, it's critical to quickly identify any potential disruption and act accordingly," Serra says.
The new tool took two years to develop in collaboration with clients and was launched at the end of last year. It already has a loyal following and is expected to be used by around 500 of SDV’s biggest customers.
"We use SDV’s tracking system to communicate delivery updates to our production team and to keep production on schedule," says the director of logistics at a large aerospace provider. Most of his company’s shipments require specialized handling and quick transit to keep operations seamless, he adds.
Security of information is vital, says Serra, since companies typically send information that includes sensitive data such as the sales price of goods. For this reason, LINK enjoys the same protections as banking systems and SDV carries out a penetration test every six months.
So far, the ability to customize their reports is one of the features that SDV clients appreciate the most about the new system, says Serra.
"For the first time, we are giving clients power over their data," he notes. "Now, they can design and create their own reports as well as track every shipment around the world."