Used as part of a freight forwarder's day-to-day operations, real-time supply chain visibility provides you with the ability to avoid delays with shipments, identify risks, meet compliance requirements, and serve your customers better by obtaining a clear, comprehensive view of overall metrics.
Major companies with an international presence must rely heavily on supply chain visibility platforms in order to monitor inventory stock, better manage production and materials acquisition, and ensure that their customers can easily access goods and services uninhibited. Global supply chains are unbelievably complex, sprawling networks that involve virtually every industry on the planet – on virtually every continent. Because of this complexity, it helps to have a guide or navigation tool to better understand demand, inventory, and labor availability – there are hundreds if not thousands of precarious yet interwoven cogs responsible for the global engine that is consumerism, supply, and demand. Organizations like FourKites exist to help businesses see through layers of uncertainty to provide their clients, vendors, and customers with quality logistics solutions that can weather the strain of unknowns and volatile global economics.
What is FourKites?
In short, FourKites is a global supply chain visibility software. According to Zippia, FourKites’ revenue is around $48.5 million annually. They are headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. According to FourKites’ Crunchbase summary webpage, FourKites’ valuation (post-money) is somewhere within the range of $500 million to $1 billion as of September 2022. Recent investors like Mitsui & Co and FedEx are only two examples of well-known investors that have helped contribute to an astonishing funding total of approximately a quarter of a billion dollars since 2015.
FourKites API suite provides data insights from the globe’s greatest network of shipping entities, carriers, and third-party logistics. But what is an API within the context of supply chains and logistics? API is an acronym for ‘application programming interface,’ and they help organizations integrate additional applications or components into a preexisting architecture. The key to FourKites’ success has largely been visibility – the more information supply chain collaborators have, the better equipped they are to navigate an uncertain and tumultuous system.
How Does FourKites Work?
FourKites is a leading global supply chain visibility platform, also referred to as freight visibility software, but what does FourKites do? How does FourKites work? FourKites logistics API documentation helps to eliminate cumbersome data silos and integrates seamlessly with existing systems and platforms to empower companies to make better-informed, dynamic supply chain decisions. FourKites’ API also enables invaluable data integrations and leverages important data insights about tracking and other crucial logistics metrics.
Because FourKites provides freight visibility in real-time, companies can experience a variety of benefits throughout the entire sales cycle, from end to end. Improved visibility means companies can provide better customer service and create a more agile and adept business practice that also helps to improve planning procedures and inventory logistics. Other benefits include reduced dwell and detention costs, improved yard efficiency, and the ability to maximize OTIF (on time in full) compliance. Since FourKites continually monitors and tracks over three million global shipments daily, this provides a wealth of invaluable supply chain data which is used to prepare highly accurate ETAs (estimated time of arrival), more advanced network collaboration, and a singular nexus from which all relevant data and information can be accessed.
FourKites tracking information can also be accessed by drivers via the FourKites Carrier Link mobile app. Nearly 700,000 truck drivers utilize the CarrierLink mobile app to help enhance their travel journeys with improved tracking capabilities and an optimized delivery and communications process. CarrierLink can help reduce navigation subscription costs, provide more accurate and up-to-date routing options, and enables contactless document processing for documentation like proof-of-delivery and bill-of-lading. No matter your company’s industry – food and beverage, general retail, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, consumer packaged goods, among countless others – improved supply chain visibility and logistics provides a plethora of short- and long-term benefits.
Benefits of Using FourKites and Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platforms
FourKites customers understand the numerous benefits of using FourKites for their supply chain visibility applications. FourKites benefits include the ability to discover powerful two-way connections while expanding your organization’s global network. Most large enterprise organizations understand the power of accurate data and, furthermore, the potential unlocked by putting that data to good use.
Other benefits of using a real-time transportation visibility provider include:
Increasing efficiency. Businesses are better able to meet customer expectations while minimizing costs, maximizing throughput, minimizing production downtime, and reducing inventory levels.
Improving inventory management. Through real-time tracking insights based on purchase orders, line items, and SKUs, a company’s decision-makers will be able to make more informed calculations about inventory management, planning, and exception handling.
Eliminating time-consuming and manual processes. By accessing real-time data that leads to predictive ETAs and other insights, companies can avoid late fees and penalties related to missed appointments.
Additionally, it has been proven time and again that real-time transportation visibility helps maximize value and visibility returns on investment. In global markets that are increasingly under pressure from consumers and suppliers alike to keep up with escalating demand, organizations are relying more and more on real-time transportation visibility to ensure their supply chain logistics are fruitful and successful.
Customers can observe the myriad benefits as well – in supply chain systems without transparency or improved visibility, customer service teams are too often over-encumbered by phone calls or other messages about missing or late shipments, and customer service agents have little information they can provide.
Increasing supply chain visibility is like finding the light switch in a large, dark, and windowless room. When the customer, driver, and carrier can all see where a shipment is, customer service agents are better prepared to respond to more pressing customer concerns, and drivers and carriers can focus solely on completing their tasks on or ahead of schedule.
Chain.io is natively connected to the top freight visibility providers including FourKites, Overhaul, project44, Terminal49, and Vizion. What all of these organizations share in common is the desire to eliminate or mitigate as much as possible the risks and pains that come with the territory as part of a sprawling global shipping supply chain. Without measures taken to increase visibility, transparency, and accountability, supply chain logistics can cause a whirlwind of headaches, delays, missed shipments, and more. By improving visibility and transparency, companies can also improve their customer service initiatives while simultaneously improving their brand perception. In general, most contemporary customers prefer dealing with entities that can provide them with fast, direct answers, as well as ongoing updates about any other current or future shipments.
The top supply chain visibility companies are listed in Gartner's Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platforms Reviews and Ratings report.
- FourKites: When using FourKites visibility software, customers in various industries, including food and beverage, retail, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, and chemicals, utilize its offerings of a real-time visibility platform, ocean visibility and document management, network visibility, and other offerings. The company is headquartered in Chicago.
- Overhaul: Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Overhaul provides supply chain control and risk management solutions through a SaaS solution that provides a unified view of the supply in real time.
- project44: Customers using the project44 visibility platform will have features that provide analytics, ETAS, and supply chain insights that include, ocean, over-the-road, air, intermodal, rail, supplier, and order and inventory, as well as various workflows. The company is headquartered in Chicago.
- Terminal49: An all-in-one shipment and container tracking platform is helping shippers and forwarders streamline and automate their container tracking tasks to save hours of labor. Founded in 2015, the company has grown quickly offering complete container tracking through one API.
- Vizion: By providing instant access to the most complete, standardized, and detailed container tracking information available, VIZION API empowers forward-thinking companies to create more powerful and nimble solutions, delivering greater supply chain visibility and control for their stakeholders without and within.
Why is Supply Chain Visibility Important?
To integrate your data with supply chain visibility providers like FourKites, Overhaul, project44, Terminal49, and Vizion, supply chain integrations experts at Chain.io provide solutions that ensure key information is automatically available within all your systems. As part of the FourKites implementation process, customers can expect to have better data available in their TMS and other systems instantly, helping them save time and serve customers faster.
Integrations with supply chain visibility platforms allow for direct connections between a visibility provider and a shipper or logistics service provider. The visibility provider can collect accurate, real-time data by building direct connections with large fleets.
Having a piecemeal view of supply chain operations is no longer an option for freight forwarders and shippers. Now, customers expect supply chain automations to transfer visibility data directly into their systems, allowing for quick and accurate communications around the status of shipments, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty, and enabling logistics teams to work more efficiently and maintain a competitive edge.
McKinsey estimates that 73% of supply chain functions still rely on spreadsheets. These kinds of workarounds for data integrations are inefficient and expensive. The good news is that integration projects don’t have to be as time-consuming and expensive as they once were.
Chain.io Supply Chain Visibility Integrations
Visibility data arrives to you through endless channels and formats. Chain.io translates this data and routes it to any file type in any location for freight execution, customer visibility, reporting, and analysis. Using our pre-built adaptors, we can integrate your TMS to any visibility service provider within weeks so your team can focus on what matters - serving your customers.
Through our Canonical Data Model, input and output translators communicate through supply chain-specific language to ensure the right data is delivered, even if the applications we’re integrating use different terminology.
Even with your existing connections to other software and customers, Chain.io can be integrated anywhere in your organization. There’s no need to redo your entire ecosystem, no need to replace old systems or processes.
At Chain.io, we are automating best practices and changing the way forwarders leverage visibility data with customers.