The meaning of “visibility” in shipping is evolving. Once perceived as a basic capability that allows shippers to track and trace freight loads, the emerging definition is quickly becoming far more than that. Smart companies are now pushing boundaries with new tools that allow predictive decision-making and proactive problem-solving, yielding an end-to-end supply chain view that solves problems before they can start. Yet many shippers seem unaware of these tools, or at least their analytical power. More than half (56 percent) of shippers say they use visibility tools for monitoring loads, but only 39 percent use them for decision-making. Simply put, they’re missing out.

Dollars and Sense

True end-to-end visibility offers critical benefits in driver productivity and loading efficiency, particularly now that customers are requiring more exacting standards. Here are three important reasons that high visibility makes good fiscal sense for shippers:

  1. Delays are Expensive. Research shows that more than 63 percent of drivers are detained for more than three hours per stop, with fees that range from $30 to $50 each. Now that Walmart and Target are demanding tight compliance with two-hour delivery windows, such delays can trigger fines from $500 to a whopping $10,000. Knowing well ahead that a load will be late can allow shippers to reschedule with receivers, and avoid unnecessary expenses. Further, the ELD mandate layers on more requirements and processes that visibility tools can easily integrate.
  1. Errors are Expensive. Manual data entry is still commonplace in shipping, and the possibility for error is high. Relying on email messages, telephone calls, and spreadsheets creates opportunities for small errors at each touchpoint—adding up to large, costly mistakes down the road. New software and tools eliminate data input errors while optimizing data for more accurate decisions.
  1. Outdated Technology is Expensive. Forget about the price tag for new technology. That old, slow, disconnected, legacy technology is probably costing you far more in lost productivity. New tools not only track and trace shipments, they also offer real-time data in transit, along with predictive and prescriptive capabilities to help you solve problems on the fly.

A Proactive Future

The future of shipping visibility goes well beyond static views of trucks on a map, instead promoting an active approach to managing supply chains. Rather than settling for summary reports, shippers can affect freight while it’s in transport—effectively creating their day’s news instead of reading about it after the fact. Proactive visibility solutions can also be combined to create customized approaches that save money in practical ways:

  • Predicting arrival and delivery times with accuracy
  • Notifying receivers of delays and making changes
  • Providing real-time location information per load
  • Rescheduling delivery appointments
  • Coordinating planning activities with customers
  • Improving fleet management and capacity utilization
  • Optimizing across organizations and enterprises
  • And more…

Seeing is Believing

As with any technology, visibility solutions are changing at a dizzying pace, improving logistics practices for the better by the day. Currently, a few standout firms see and deliver these solutions with exceptional clarity:

  • MacroPoin( – Provides a single source for all location-related information collected via geo-tracking and sends real-time updates from carriers to shippers.
  • 10-4 Systems ( — Offers real-time visibility into shipments for better tracking, including alerts for exceptions and traffic problems that can delay shipments and add costs.
  • Project44 ( — Replaces slower, older tools like EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) with API (Application Program Interface) systems for more dynamic and customized approaches, lower costs, and better productivity.
  • Logistical Labs ( — Increases transparency around pricing to help shippers better understand shipping costs and transit times, and ultimately, have more control over their transportation spend.
  • Riskpulse ( — Optimizes visibility into food and beverage shipments, particularly perishables, by predicting weather-related risks and then re-routing freight to avoid costly delays.

Capstone combines the latest visibility practices and tools with high-touch service, strong carrier relationships, and customized approaches for shippers. We’ve been active users of the MacroPoint platform for more than four years and have experience with the same types of visibility tools that asset-based providers use.  Contact us to find out how we can help you prevent delays, avoid errors, and optimize your shipping operations.