AAA Cooper Transportation, a Dothan, Alabama-based less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier, will begin offering its customers Pre-Pickup Visibility on December 14.
AAA Cooper President and Chief Operating Officer Charlie Prickett explained that today, an obscure period exists between the pickup request and the arrival of a carrier — a time frame in which customers have no visibility to arrival times, delays, etc. This can be a problem for warehouses and shipping facilities as many must plan around the unpredictable timing of the carrier pickup process.
“As we were designing ACTION TRAC® Pre-Pickup Visibility, we asked — What information can we provide the customer about the pickup process that aids them in planning and executing their business?” Prickett said. “ACTION TRAC® can now predict exactly when our driver will be there for pickup, and the customer can align their resources around that arrival time.”
With Pre-Pickup Visibility, AAA Cooper said it will provide customers with insight, transparency, and simplicity. Prickett said ACTION TRAC® can accurately calculate ETAs within three to five minutes of actual arrival.
Effective time management is what’s demanded of carriers as retailers, already grappling with pandemic-related challenges and inventory shortages, prepare for the coming holiday rush in addition to an unprecedented peak season for e-commerce as online shopping looks to remain in vogue.
Contributing largely to the online shopping boom is Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) which moved its Prime Day online shopping sales event from July to October 13-14. Amazon’s move has ultimately started the 2020 peak season for holiday shopping 30-45 days earlier than normal.
The Coronavirus pandemic has also spurred traditional retailers to pivot as the holiday season fast approaches. Making headlines was The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE: HD) as the home improvement chain announced Black Friday sales for both in-store and online shoppers from early November through December.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, supply chain predictability, coordination, and durability have become increasingly important to our shippers,” said Lee McMillan, AAA Cooper Vice President of Quality and Customer Solutions.
This year’s extended sales periods are putting pressure on carriers to keep up with the growing demands of its customers. For instance, Walmart (NYSE: WMT) has rolled out tighter compliance, requiring its suppliers and their carriers to deliver all orders to its stores by their “must-arrive-by” dates 98% of the time or be fined 3% of the cost of goods. Walmart initiated the “on-time, in-full” (OTIF) program in 2017 to push its suppliers to improve their fulfillment execution as the retailer reported losing millions of dollars in sales because of restocking delays.
Pre-Pickup Visibility looks to build on the success of AAA Cooper’s ACTION TRAC® Continuous Visibility technology, which debuted in July 2019. This feature provides the exact location of LTL shipments from point of pickup to delivery. GPS technology enables Continuous Visibility to keep customers informed with the latest status and transit information, including delivery date modifications.
AAA Cooper customers can continuously track their shipments and estimated delivery times via custom email or text notifications in addition to real-time tracking with ACTION TRAC’s® interactive map, according to McMillan. This confluence of data enables warehouses and shipping facilities to plan accordingly without incurring unexpected delays.
ACTION TRAC® Continuous and Pre-Pickup Visibility were developed leveraging AAA Cooper’s planning and execution systems, according to Prickett, explaining that both tools were designed specifically from the customers’ perspective and keeping their needs in mind throughout the development of this technology.
Pre-Pickup Visibility works similarly to that of its Continuous Visibility counterpart so experienced AAA Cooper customers should find the latest tracking installment easy to use. Prickett said that customers are quickly catching on to various ways of implementing ACTION TRAC® into their operational planning and are even providing their customers with tracking visibility.
“Customers need this information for their planning,” Prickett said. “Instead of waiting to act until their shipment arrives, they can be confident in its scheduled arrival and start planning downstream actions in their warehouses, manufacturing facilities, or sale of the product.”
Both ACTION TRAC® technology visibility tools are available to AAA Cooper customers and third parties at no additional charge.
With the addition of ACTION TRAC® Pre-Pickup Visibility, customers, drivers, and other stakeholders can remain in sync through every step of the shipping process — a capability unique to AAA Cooper and a huge differentiator for our customers and their ability to plan and execute their business, McMillan noted.