If suppliers in China fail to pick up freight containers to fill an order for MediaShop, Marcel Schneider gets an alert via a digital freight system, allowing the retailer to reach out and fix the problem swiftly.
Before July 2020, Austria-based MediaShop’s deputy supply chain director says he would discover problems in his supply chain only when containers failed to arrive in Hamburg as scheduled.
“It was like being in a tunnel where you had only a limited view of what was going on,” Schneider said.
Lost containers means lost sales for MediaShop, which sells consumer goods ranging from kitchen knives to fitness equipment. A missing load can mean the company pays penalties to wholesale customers for late shipments.
Global supply chain snarls, from shortages of freight containers in China to a blockage in the Suez Canal, have thrown a wrench into the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. They have also accelerated the freight industry’s shift out of the digital dark ages. That’s benefiting a fast-growing cluster of startup companies that had struggled to sell their software-powered freight tracking technology, until now.