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In today's interconnected world, information silos — information management systems that are unable to communicate freely with other systems — can be the Achilles' heel in a company's supply chain. Visibility is king when it comes to contemporary logistics, both inside and outside of the warehouse, and businesses in both North America and Europe have a new visibility solution at their disposal.
Supply chain visibility platform FourKites and business solutions innovator Zebra Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ: ZBRA) announced on Thursday an expansion of the companies' partnership. Zebra will now resell FourKites' Dynamic Yard and real-time visibility platform as a part of its MotionWorks Yard solution, combining FourKites' solution with its own locationing hardware and professional services to provide end-to-end visibility. MotionWorks Yard will continue to be sold directly through Zebra to select partners in North America and Europe.
FourKites and Zebra's collaboration seeks to eradicate information silos from the supply chain. Many modern supply chain solutions have the occasional (or not-so-occasional) gap in visibility, but that won't fly for the two companies. Their goal is to provide visibility from the warehouse to the yard and everywhere in between.
"FourKites' relationship with Zebra has grown over the years as we work together on a joint mission to create a fully transparent supply chain and reduce time to delivery for customers," said Mathew Elenjickal, founder and CEO of FourKites. "By combining Zebra's expertise in delivering warehouse visibility with FourKites' visibility outside of those four walls, we can provide better end-to-end predictability and forecasting of assets for our shared customers — all while dynamically accounting for the on-the-ground realities across the supply chain."
Having end-to-end supply chain visibility comes with a host of other benefits for businesses. For one, it can enable them to be agile — if companies can watch as disruptions develop in real time, they can get out in front of them and mitigate any backups or delays. The ability to see things in real time also increases the speed with which a company can make decisions, which can in turn help them move units quicker to meet customer expectations.
FourKites' Dynamic Yard solution is the first piece of the puzzle. The yard management system (YMS) has greater flexibility than a typical YMS because it tracks both in-yard freight and in-transit freight in real time. By leveraging visibility outside of the yard, Dynamic Yard is able to provide insights that most systems simply can't.
The other piece of the new-and-improved MotionWorks Yard is Zebra's in-house technology. Its operation management system is able to track the location and status of any moving part in the yard, and its solution is able to optimize switcher productivity, gate transactions and dock door management. When combined, FourKites and Zebra's systems can provide truly comprehensive visibility.
"Businesses want real-time visibility into their goods and assets throughout the journey — from the manufacturing facility to the final destination," said Drew Ehlers, global futurist and venture innovator in the office of the CTO at Zebra Technologies. "Our relationship with FourKites adds a critical layer of visibility that helps companies improve asset visibility, streamline the shipping process and unlock new levels of performance and customer service."
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