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Achieving competitive advantage through information - A combined transport case study

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image of Transport Logistics

Information systems of all kinds are increasingly being applied to improve the management and control of goods movement. Commonly expected benefits include less inventory in the supply chain and enhanced levels of customer service. One important example of a transport information system is track and trace, in which the movements of a particular consignment can be monitored as it passes through the transport network.

In many cases the application of track and trace systems has been in response to a perception that customers would want information on request concerning the progress of their consignments. In this way, the customers would be reassured that the transport service was working as expected.

However, research by the authors has shown new possibilities which may have substantially greater appeal to transport customers. Track and trace systems, along with associated booking systems, are capable of generating databases with important potential applications. For example, by recording occurrences of transport system failure, management can be systematically alerted to the need to take action. Such databases can therefore make a key contribution to total quality management (TQM) programmes designed to improve services and, as a result, competitiveness.

Similarly, databases information can be used to considerable effect in customer retention programmes. Information on the buying habits of customers can be the basis for differentiating service levels and pricing to match more closely the demands of customers.

As competition in the European transport market intensifies it has never been more important for management to use data as creatively as possible to retain - or preferably expand - market shares.


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