The Digital Container Shipping Association has unveiled its new T&T standard for tracking containers while en route between shipper and consignee. They are quite detailed and have been planned using some of the latest design thinking techniques, including the definition of personas who might use the system one way or another. They’ve prepared some very nice slide shows to describe at a high level what they are doing.
DCSA was launched by MSC, Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd and ONE last April, with CMA CGM, Yang Ming, Evergreen, HMM and Zim joining a month later. This is a fairly quick turnaround for a first standard delivery.
The catch will be how fast people start sticking to them when building equipment and systems. Doing so can be predicted to help sales, via a network effect– since the standards make systems compatible, there’s less hassle making one system relate to another. A close review should be done of the standards, to see how many choices individual participants are given to make the information specific to their needs. Such choices tend to produce systems that lose their compatibility if one of the partners changes, and make specific programming necessary when others try to adapt to the system. It’s the anthesis of cooperation. And these standards are meant to promote cooperation rather than competition.
An example of the issue can be seen with EDI, in which general record structures are defined, but a lot of latitude is given to provide extra information or different information. The result is that EDI needs to be specially programmed for each pair-wise interaction of companies, a problem that has haunted us for 20 years even though
EDI, in general, was a big step forward.
Let’s hope that we all have learned from the past, and can use the standard to really lubricate information flow in supply chains.
By Gavin van Marle via New era of smarter supply chains as DCSA track & trace standards are unveiled – The Loadstar
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