How to Avoid ‘Chinese Whispers’ Within the Supply Chain


How to Avoid ‘Chinese Whispers’ Within the Supply Chain

TransFollow can help companies to strengthen the communication amongst the supply chain easily – and avoid miscommunication or loss of information.

The game of ’Chinese whispers’ is one of the most common children’s games worldwide, and almost everyone has played it in their childhood. A whispered message is passed on from person to person, until the last player says it out loud – which is the fun part, as mostly, the message is very different from the original one. While this unintended miscommunication means a lot of fun to children, it also happens in business, where it is perceived more negatively. After all, loss of information can have serious consequences for companies, from extra working time needed to be spent on solving a problem to loss of business. However, it still happens, and is often caused by outdated measures. One example is the paper consignment note in road transportation – although the CMR is a great way to set up a general contract for a particular transport, it also offers many possibilities to miscommunicate with supply chain partners, causing a loss of information. A problem that can easily be solved by digitising consignment notes with the TransFollow e-CMR.

Improved Supply Chain Communication

Paper consignment notes function as a contract between the parties involved in the transport, but do not manage the communication flows between the parties. Due to the fact that every party keeps a copy of the document once they have signed for pick-up or delivery and additional comments or changes are not automatically updated on paper, information can easily get lost and cause miscommunication throughout the process. After the sender of the goods has signed for pick-up, it depends on potential comments or changes made by carrier or receiver, if the information on the copy the sender kept is still correct by the time the goods arrive at their final destination. If this is not the case, the sender of the goods mostly only learns about it after the transport has long been completed – which is often too late to react directly and fix the problem at hand. Instead, a long process of finding the information that was lost on the way needs to be started up. This means, the CMR is an ideal way to set up the legal framework for every transport, but not for supply chain communication. This is why TransFollow introduced the e-CMR, a digital version of the paper consignment note that holds exactly the same information, and more, and facilitates supply chain communication between business partners. With real-time updates and transparent insights for all parties involved in the transport, loss of information due to the ‘Chinese whispers’ played in business, is a thing of the past.

Real-Time Insights and Direct Exchange of Information

When using the TransFollow e-CMR, every party of the supply chain has real-time insights into the supply chain. As soon as the e-CMR is ready, every partner receives an e-mail notification about the new freight document, including all information on pick-up and delivery. As soon as the carrier has picked up the goods, the signature is being uploaded to the digital consignment note in the TransFollow Portal, which can be seen by logging in. Also, the status is automatically updated. The same goes for comments and observations that are being added to the e-CMR by any of the parties and the signature and status update upon delivery of the goods. With these functionalities, TransFollow combines the legal framework of the CMR with the advantages of digital communication and end the ‘Chinese whispers’ within the supply chain.