Logistics company Hellmann announced the launch of a new cargo tracking tool called SmartAir! The web-based platform enables the real-time tracking of air freight shipments. It was developed in coproduction with specialist BlueBox Systems, a Bonn, Germany-based start-up, and is an important element in improving supply chain transparency, says the management.
According to Hellmann, SmartAir! users are provided comprehensive information on their consignments at a glance, no matter which carrier has been chosen, route flown, or type of shipment booked.
Hellmann claims that the digital tool “closes a gap in the live tracking of transports,” following similar platforms for monitoring ocean, road, and rail transports.
“Do you consider SmartAir! as being a USP?” we asked Henning Pottharst, Product Manager at Hellmann Worldwide Logistics.
“Of course, a multitude of tracking tools do already exist, so we don’t claim that our product is a revolutionary innovation, but it offers valuable extras enabling customers to go the extra mile and be ahead of competitors. For instance, it only needs a mouse click to visualize and unveil the performance of different carriers, making business decisions objectifiable, since they are data-based. Although SmartAir! is conceived as an insular system, it offers users a multitude of information, depending on their needs. The end-to-end visibility increases the transparency of the entire supply chain and leads to more cost-efficient cargo transports based on data collected.”
According to Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, SmartAir! provides information on the duration of stopovers of aircraft at airports, loading times, and the time needed to transfer goods from aircraft to a warehouse and from there onto a connecting flight. This way, airport performance as well as that of ground handling agents become visible in real time, eventually influencing carrier and route decisions, aimed at fostering best practice solutions.
And what about data security? “All data is encrypted and transmitted in real time, and a daily backup is made that’s stored in a central server,” the Hellmann expert explains.
Which brings up the next question: “Do customers have to pay when deciding in favor of utilizing the platform?”
Henning Pottharst: “Yes, SmartAir! is – as usual in the market for such complex tools - not free of charge. But it should be considered that the tool generates a multitude of benefits and it enables quick decisions in the event of an insurance claim. This, because the data obtained make instantly clear, which party along the supply chain is ultimately responsible and therefore liable for any damage or time delay that may occur. A multitude of cases show that quarrels on this issue often last for months if not years. Our system prevents this because of the data transparency.” How much the implementation of the tool costs, he does not say, referring to his commercial department.
Covid-19 vaccine distribution benefits from shipping transparency
In a nutshell, the web-based SmartAir! tool represents the bridge connection between Hellmann’s Smart Visibility product that records and stores information on humidity, transport duration, handling performances, temperature deviations occurring along the supply chain, incidences of light, vibrations and door opening, thus enhancing the transparency of supply chains.
A final quote from Henning Pottharst, Product Manager, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics: “In times of digitalization and ever smaller time windows for decisions, quickly available real-time data within global supply chains is becoming increasingly important. This will also be of particular relevance for the upcoming distribution of Covid-19 vaccines."
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