Cargo tracking for snapshots vs. global visibility: what's the difference?

Cargo tracking for snapshots vs. global visibility: what's the difference?

If you want to invest in cargo tracking technologies for supply chain visibility, it is important to know that not all visibility is created equal. In fact, there's a broad spectrum.

Watch the video for a quick overview, or read all about the difference below!

On one end of the spectrum, your visibility consists of a handful of individual scans of your supply chain. This ‘snapshot’ visibility means that you are still left piecing together conclusions about critical moments between snapshots.

On the other end of the spectrum, your visibility is a complete picture. This ‘global’ visibility is the standard today. Below, learn about the most important differences between snapshot visibility and global visibility. 

Difference #1: restricted vs. worldwide cargo location

Visibility of your goods in transit begins with location visibility. This is the extent to which you can find your goods.

With snapshot visibility, you might be able to find your goods, but only if they fulfil certain requirements. Your visibility infrastructure might not work in certain modes of transport, in certain regions, or when certain manual steps aren’t completed. Or it could simply come down to the quality of the cellular technology – leaving you with spotty connections and information gaps. As a result, your location visibility is restricted.

On the other hand, global visibility is worldwide and in real time. This standard of location visibility is multimodal. In simple terms, global visibility means you can find your goods no matter where they are. 

Difference #2: isolated vs. comprehensive cargo condition

Condition visibility is ultimately about knowing what’s happening to your cargo and assets. You need to know what environmental factors they are exposed to, and human factors as well. A lot can go wrong with shipping conditions and it can certainly impact profitability.

With snapshot visibility, you can only get a glimpse of your cargo’s condition. Many data loggers today have a limited amount of conditions they can capture. They are also often limited by the manual steps it takes to extract the data, and the delayed access to this information as a result. Snapshots of your cargo condition means it takes a lot of analysis to even understand what’s going on, and in some cases, you might not even have the right snapshots to draw the correct conclusions.

Global visibility is holistic. In other words, you have a comprehensive stream of every relevant data point about your cargo or assets: where, when, how, what. For sensitive, high-value cargo in a complex supply chain, the details don’t just matter – details are everything. This complete picture makes it possible to piece together the puzzle when something goes wrong. 

Difference #3: delayed vs. accessible information

Location and condition data are nothing if you can’t access it. Here again is a big difference between visibility technologies today.

With snapshot visibility, you have to rely on individual updates. Not only that, with tracking technologies that depend on manual steps, you have to wait until the shipment arrives and workers extract the tracking data from the device. While this provides some insight into your supply chain, it’s nowhere near the accessibility that is needed to improve agility and resilience.

Global visibility on the other hand is always accessible. That means immediate knowledge of your movable assets at any time, from everywhere. This is made possible with real-time IoT technology. Nothing should stop you from seeing your shipments. Particularly when it comes to fast-paced supply chains. 

Global visibility is the new standard

On the spectrum of visibility between snapshot visibility and global visibility, the standard today is global. This means no hidden events. No unknown accidents. Forget about information delays. In the case of route deviations or unexpected condition changes, you are notified instantly. Security, integrity and delivery status are only one click away with round-the-clock location and condition data.

Why is global the new standard for supply chain visibility? Because it is the level of visibility that not only makes it possible to drive evidence-based business strategies in your supply chain, but it makes it easier too. With restrictions to location visibility, a limited view of cargo conditions and delayed information, you have to read between the lines.

Global visibility is made possible with real-time IoT technology. Download the brochure to learn more about Visilion, the IoT-based tracking solution from Sony.

Learn more about Visilion?

Gated download of the PDF brochure ‘Wondering what's happening to your cargo?’ – Visilion from Sony