Technology Snapshot: FourKites has introduced multimodal purchase order (PO) tracking for all freight in the FourKites system. This new capability gives shippers, carriers and receivers the power, flexibility and granularity to track the full lifecycle of shipments using their associated PO numbers. PO tracking greatly simplifies freight visibility for the many organizations and teams—including inbound logistics, track-and-trace, customer service, procurement/materials management, merchandising—that manage the exchange and transportation of goods primarily via PO numbers.
POs, which might include a single load of freight or hundreds, include comprehensive product details, such as name, quantity, price and SKU. Absent PO lifecycle tracking, different teams have had to work within multiple systems (ERP, POM TMS, YMS) to painstakingly identify all of the individual load numbers associated with any given PO. The FourKites PO tracking system eliminates these time-consuming and inefficient processes via a single pane of glass that can provide every organization, team and partner with a common view of exactly where a PO is in its lifecycle.
FourKites built its new PO lifecycle tracking solution in close collaboration with retail leader Meijer, which has since implemented the system across its procurement/materials management, transportation and merchandising teams. This has vastly simplified and streamlined the scheduling, transit and on-time delivery of all of Meijer’s POs from its vendor facilities to its own, and between its distribution centers. A better understanding of transit times on critical products has enabled the company to derive optimal lead times for its ordering process. In addition, Meijer is now sharing product details, along with shipment statuses, to its merchandisers so they can proactively plan for retail store deliveries.
“Visibility has been hugely valuable for us, and as a large retailer and shipper, adding PO lifecycle visibility means we can now identify critical orders faster, eliminate inefficiencies and make better decisions on lead times,” said Paul Thompson, inbound logistics director, Meijer. “Meijer prides itself on being first to market in many categories, and we are thrilled to have co-innovated this product with the FourKites team, which will drive enhanced transparency throughout our entire supply chain.”
Digitizing the procurement process can unlock as much as 3-10% in annual cost savings, according to McKinsey. Previously, transportation and procurement teams spent a significant amount of time reconciling loads and materials ordered, while procurement and materials management teams spent considerable cycle times in order orchestration to adjust quantity ordered against quantity delivered at the facility. Now, with FourKites PO tracking, shippers, carriers and receivers can visualize and track individual SKUs to their destinations, whether a shipment is being transported through multiple loads or a single load.
“As we’ve said many times, real-time freight visibility is just the beginning when it comes to better and more efficient supply chain management,” said FourKites Chief Product Officer Priya Rajagopalan. “For so many departments within our customers, the PO is the primary vehicle by which they manage the exchange of goods with their own customers and partners. Today’s new PO and SKU tracking capabilities means FourKites is now the one-stop shop, organization-wide and across all modes, for real-time supply chain visibility.”