Vertical Collaboration – connecting retailers with suppliers in real-time

11/23/2023 | 4 min

In the dynamic world of retail supply chain, there is constant demand for opportunities to revolutionize the status quo. In this article, we dig deeper into the revolutionary potential of combining vertical collaboration with real-time visibility, and why the time to adopt a new approach is now.


Vertical collaboration

Examples of true vertical collaboration in supply chain remain unfortunately rare, however more evidence is gradually emerging to influence outdated attitudes towards the obvious benefits of retailer and supplier integration and to prove the power of the network. University research studies* show that ‘vertical collaboration between retailers and suppliers...has a positive impact on both parties’ output measures, including improved information and inventory visibility’.

When companies in different verticals are working together, effort is reduced, productivity grows, efficiency is high, costs are lower, and the level of customer service increases. It’s important to recognize that achieving effective collaboration is not a one-size-fits-all process, however, with the right tools, it can benefit all members of the supply chain.

“Innovation can only happen with cooperation. We want to continue working together with our retail customers, with FMCG suppliers, and with carriers, to make better use of data, increase capacity and avoid inefficiencies.”

Tim Bruun, Head of Customer Management - Retail and FMCG, Transporeon


Real-time Visibility

Effective vertical collaboration can happen only when all stakeholders – from the shipper to the final destination – have shared access to accurate, up to date and reliable information. Hence, gathering and sharing real-time data can help tackle the biggest challenges connected to supply chain capacity and inefficiencies.

“When you still have to manually shuffle 450 trucks back and forth on a piece of paper and by emails, it's incredibly difficult. If your plane misses the landing slot, none of you ever have had to wait 12 hours to disembark. Why aren't we able to react just as flexibly to demand?” 

Guido Schierhofer, Supply Chain Director, Intersnack

When the right people have access to the right data at the right time, turbo-boosting traditional manual processes becomes possible. For example, a solution like Real-time Visibility provides full insight into what’s going on with your shipments on all lanes, as well as the power to action that insight in a way that really can boost the efficiency of the supply chain operations.

Supply Chain Sync: vertical collaboration fuelled by real-time data sharing

So, what does synchronization really mean in this instance? Let’s recap the challenges encountered by shippers, carriers and retailers when the technical link between the transport to, and the appointment scheduling at the load recipient’s warehouse is missing:

  • The Shipper has no insight into the unloading appointments booked by the Carrier
  • The Carrier needs to book slots separately, one for pick-up, one for delivery
  • Low real-time visibility coverage results in limited information about the truck’s location for the Retailer

In this scenario, the pick-up process and delivery process are not integrated or synchronized – and this is the exact challenge Supply Chain Sync is here to address.

By developing a closed data flow, the time slot can be planned simultaneously by the carriers for both the pick-up and delivery, and at the same time, both sides can get real-time visibility of the shipment. This way, all parties are synchronized and can react to shipments' developments in real time, including dynamic time slot management, for improved efficiency through the whole supply chain. 

Supply chain sync provides door-to-door visibility

Benefits for Shippers

Benefits for Shippers
  • Synchronization of ordering and transport processes
  • Comprehensive availability of vehicle data
  • Door-door visibility
  • Mutual insight into the entire supply chain
  • Contribution to Real Time Yard Management

Benefits for Retailers

Benefits for Retailers
  • Synchronization – all parties have the information about the inbound deliveries at retail DC
  • More information in transport = potentially more information for the receiving warehouse
  • Real-time information – from dock to dock
  • Better base of information = less communication effort

Benefits for Carriers

Benefits for Carriers
  • One stop solution: Scheduling appointments for pick-up and delivery & vehicle allocation in just one booking system
  • Better base of information = less communication effort
  • Increased transparency and process efficiency

Time Slot Management becomes dynamic with Real-time Visibility

Time Slot Management, even in 2023, can still be a static, tedious and manual battle for several supply chain parties. Making dock scheduling dynamic by integrating real-time data into your Time Slot Management represents a major opportunity for players of all sizes and on both ends of the vertical collaboration scheme to work more closely, improve efficiency, reduce waiting times and gain competitive advantage. Current ways of working see buffer times of up to 100 minutes, which equates to a huge waste of resources, and screams out loud for improved performance via vertical collaboration.

Supply Chain Sync embodies a holistic approach, and connects FMCG manufacturers, carriers and retailers by providing end-to-end visibility that sets all parties up for improved plannability with dynamic Time Slot Management, and adds value to the whole supply chain.

The technology enables retailers to benefit from Transporeon Real-time Visibility for inbound shipments and gives FMCG shippers visibility of what’s happening on their customers’ docks. Introducing a dynamic element to Time Slot Management with Real-time Visibility instantly enables more trucks to be processed and reduces wait times. Greater transparency means getting proactive with providing updates to the customer – replacing historic ways of working where nothing happened until the customer got in touch to ask where the expected truck was.
From the manufacturer to the freight forwarder, to the retail warehouse, Supply Chain Sync delivers advantages for everyone.

What’s next?

Collaboration across verticals is essential for businesses that aim to turn their supply chain into a competitive advantage – Supply Chain Sync painlessly accelerates retailers’ and shippers’ ability to collaborate. But “this can only work if all players work together, suppliers, transport service providers and retailers. It's a joint development path that we have to move on in order to increase efficiency," says Tim Bruun.


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