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Track and trace in B2B – is it possible?

Knut Fredrik Ramstad | 07. Jan 2020
4 minutes read

Any company that produces/sells goods wants to have visibility and control over all deliveries. Today’s B2B customers want to know exactly when their products will arrive at the front door of their business. Plus, they want to know that the goods are in the agreed condition.

The boom in e-commerce has made reliable track and trace standard operating procedure in the B2C marketplace. But why is this so difficult to achieve in B2B?


Why track & trace is critical in business-to-business

First of all, let’s dive into why track & trace is so important in the B2B space nowadays.

The overall customer experience is becoming increasingly important in B2B, as a tool for retaining your customers and growing your brand. Delivering your products on time, to the right location and in the agreed condition is key to making your customers happy and bringing repeat business.

scanning a barcode label

Real-time track & trace enables you to inform your customers if a product will arrive as expected or not. This allows them to use their resources in the best possible way (no one will be waiting unnecessarily). No one wants to potentially lose a customer because of shipping deviations that are out of the company’s control.

We are used to being informed about B2C logistics. However, B2C is dependent upon order tracking in B2B as well. B2B receivers do not constitute the end destination for the goods. Your customers have customers of their own, who in turn expect their orders on time. Knowing the status of your deliveries may have a critical impact on your customers’ ability to fulfill other orders downstream.


So why is track & trace in B2B so difficult?

After all, we are in the age of Amazon and eBay. As an individual, when you order something online, you expect to be able to follow your parcel from the order confirmation pops up in your mailbox right up until it arrives at your door or a pickup location near you.

Let’s take a look at why this delivery experience is so hard to achieve in B2B.

Logistics is complex

Delivery and supply chain management requires collaboration between many different stakeholders and systems (supply chain integration). Relevant data needs to be shared between all supply chain stakeholders, so that everyone has the right information when they need it. So far, this hasn’t been easy to achieve, because:

  • Traditional systems are hampering your operations
    Traditional systems are not prepared for making your life easier when it comes to providing track & trace. These usually require expensive integrations with all your trading partners.
  • Trading partners lack the proper technology
    Some of your partners in the supply chain may not have the technology to provide you with tracking in real time. Imagine a small family-owned trucking company that you subcontract to perform a delivery service. They may not have the technological capabilities to report their status in real time and get you proof of delivery.


The solution

Getting real-time visibility over your deliveries does not have to mean disrupting your existing systems or work practices. There are already cloud solutions available that can help you get the visibility and control you need – without having to invest a large chunk of money upfront.

So how exactly can a SaaS solution for supply chain collaboration give you full outbound shipment visibility?

  • By easily connecting all the trading partners in the supply chain.
  • By providing easily accessible tools (such as smartphones apps) for some of your subcontracted transport partners that do not have the technological capabilities.

In today’s B2B marketplace, expectations about the delivery of your products are super-high. Providing full track & trace on your deliveries plays a vital role in keeping your customers happy and coming back for more.

A cloud solution that enables full visibility and control over your deliveries allows you to meet your customers’ needs for order accuracy throughout the entire ordering, fulfillment, and delivery process.


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Allard Peeters
VP of Global Sales, MIXMOVE

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