Logistics industry is rather an ecosystem of different actors with different needs, acting in a very dynamic environment. Customer response, exception management, scheduling, prediction and forecasting are some of the key factors that have to be continuously improved and monitored in order to gain competitive advantage in such a demanding environment. Monitoring quality of service, and the closely related area of supply chain visibility have consequently gained increasing importance in logistics in the last decade, becoming one of the major factors determining logistics processes besides e.g. costs, duration, and carbon footprint. A.T. Kearney (2005) surveyed some of the biggest importers and exporters of the US on requirements in supply chains and in cooperation with the International Cargo Security Council (ICSC). Results of this survey show that security is one of the key concerns in the over-ocean supply chain. The Aberdeen Group (2006) published in its “Supply Chain Visibility Roadmap” the priority of supply chain visibility.
This can be achieved mainly by adding more intelligence in the existing ICT solutions as well as by increasing the adoption and integration of on-cargo and on-vehicle technologies ensuring visibility in the supply chain. Furthermore, the huge amount of data thus made available will require new tools for intelligent data analysis and information sharing.
This should allow advanced real-time monitoring of the transport process and also facilitate decision making in strategic, operational and tactical level. Questions like “how to solve various problems during my transport”, “who is the most reliable party to collaborate”, “how can I optimize my truck loading factor”, etc. should have the necessary support in terms of monitoring information and services in order to allow for efficient action. The success of advanced logistic management services as discussed in Chapter 3 depends highly on the quality of service monitoring, i.e. how and which information is collected, process and used. In this field it is expected that detailed real-time information is enabled by connecting all components in the logistics chain; cargo is connected with the vehicles through, e.g., RFID, while the vehicle may connect to the roadside through both short and long range communication technologies.
Another domain depending on connecting vehicles is the traffic management domain where safety and efficiency information is either sent directly to each individual vehicle or broadcasted to all vehicles within a specific location area. Here, there are even stronger demands for, e.g., quality of service (Dar, 2010). In the table below, actions related to communication infrastructure systems are outlined. The Vehicle to infrastructure information exchange is one way of collecting information. This information needs to be interpreted differently depending on the involved stakeholders in the supply chain.
In the field of security we notice several measures and initiatives to enhance the security, such as the ISPS Code for port and maritime operators, but a real worldwide approach, notwithstanding some attempts as the US program OSC Operation Safe Commerce and SST Smart and Secure Trade Lanes, covering the entire supply chain from origin to destination, is still missing. Due to this fact, measures should address the visibility needs of both business and government in order to make supply chain security more efficient and effective. Interoperability of heterogeneous systems has to be achieved such that reliable data can be shared across the supply chain in order to support innovative and efficient means of risk assessment.