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Southwest looks to improve shipment tracking

By control on July 15, 2011

According to Wally Deveraux, director of sales and marketing for Southwest Airlines Cargo, one of the key issues with today's supply chain is shipment visibility. To address the issue, Southwest officials are busy upgrading their tracking processes.

Deveraux recently told Air Cargo World that the carrier is "developing piece-level, plane-side scanning for all commodities being loaded in, or unloaded from, our aircraft." He expects the new technology to be fully implemented by the middle of next year.

Another bit of technology Southwest recently started accepting is OnAsset Intelligence's Sentry 400 FlightSafe GPS device — an invaluable tool, especially to the seafood and other perishable shipments Southwest routinely handles.

"[It] not only provides shipment tracking information, but also tracks temperature which is certainly important to cold-chain food shippers," Deveraux said.

These enhanced tracking capabilities will help shippers keep an eye on their goods once Southwest expands to new markets. The carrier's acquisition of AirTran will open up new services and locations, as will the addition of new planes.

"We plan to add the 737-800 series aircraft to our fleet starting in 2012," he said, "which will also add new markets to our system, as well as provide some longer haul flights in select markets."

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