The Logistics of Supply Chain Visibility

Feb. 2, 2021
Tive and project44 team up to deliver the Open Visibility Network, a way to provide transparency between shippers, logistics service providers, brokers, and customers.

The pandemic has put pressure on manufacturers to pivot production in order to accommodate new product needs. Those new product needs require additional raw materials, perhaps added components or controls for machinery, and more pressure to deliver to end users as e-commerce surges. All of that amid closed borders, trade wars, and a disconnected multimodal transportation system.

COVID-19 has hit the supply chain very hard when it comes to logistics. And that has created the need for more visibility and data sharing for everything that is in-transit. This big picture problem is why the recent announcement from Boston-based Tive, to deliver an open network for connecting shippers, logistics service providers (LSPs), brokers, and customers, is so important.

Tive, a provider of multi-sensor trackers and software for real-time location tracking, condition alerts, and analysis, launched the Open Visibility Network, which reportedly breaks down the silos between supply chain visibility providers to enable the collection and sharing of shipment data across platforms. To work across multimodal transportation networks, there must be an ecosystem of players, and the first partner in the Open Visibility Network program is project44, a provider supply chain visibility technology for shippers and logistics service providers.

The goal is to create an open, collaborative platform that combines insights and data among supply chain participants. “Today, project44 has a ton of data. And we have a ton of data produced from trackers,” said Krenar Komoni, Tive’s founder and CEO, in an interview. “We are putting technology providers like Tive and project44 together to provide better data. We want to benefit customers [by giving them] full visibility.”

For example, Kodis, a fourth-party logistics (4PL) company provides a nationwide network of warehouses, including the data analytics to help businesses improve productivity and control supply chain costs. Kodis and project44 work together, combining data and insights from the transportation management system (TMS) that Kodis uses with project44 telematic data. Now, leveraging the Open Visibility Network, Kodis users gain additional in-transit visibility to Tive data from shipment trackers at the load level, which is not specific to carriers.

“In the past this has been a fragmented space with everyone focused on their own [platform],” said Vernon O’Donnell, chief product officer of project44. “We are trying to standardize and remove information asymmetry, [to] create parallel ecosystems.”

While the Open Visibility Network is about connecting what’s happening to materials, ingredients, medicine, and products in-transit, this is just the beginning, Komoni said. The goal is to achieve 100% visibility across all modes of transportation, across all geographies, and across all types of carriers. “We are just getting started. First, we need to make sure things are going from point A to point B with open collaboration, and then we’ll go inside the four walls,” he said, noting the future need to integrate with enterprise resources planning and supply chain management software, as well as warehouse management systems.

Related articles:

MIT PhD on Supply Chain Resiliency in the Face of COVID-19

Pandemic Shapes the Future Supply Chain 

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