supply chain visibility

Budgeting, Planning & Forecasting

- 3 min read

Visibility through data: A solution for Supply Chain

Visibility is the operative word for extended Supply Chain actors, reporting on the Supply Chain decisions that enable companies to function more effectively; namely, all the business decisions that influence the balance of inventory cost and improve revenue.

Visibility is a predominant challenge for Supply Chain managers today, with a significant number of companies declaring they do not have adequate visibility into their Supply Chains. Low visibility is undesirable as it prevents companies from efficiently detecting and resolving incidents.

Visibility and data go hand-in-hand. Both are crucial for organizations to better understand their business challenges and opportunities. Recent studies found most business leaders have a data strategy to drive revenue streams and improve productivity.

The need for visibility

Managers must have wide-ranging Visibility into the entire Supply Chain, no matter how complex, to make exact shipment locations and time estimations for buyers. This data must come directly from the source and should be precise and reliable. Otherwise, Supply Chain managers will risk relying on third-party sources to deal with this crucial information.

As Supply Chain become ever more complex—sometimes encompassing tens of thousands of suppliers for worldwide organizations—business leaders need to work hard to uphold Visibility into what occurs from shipment source to destination.  The impact of low Supply Chain visibility can be diminished with increased data, from supplier integration, through shipment integration to Demand signal management from customers. With data-ready insights, organizations can make more informed decisions at speed that will drive improved business performance.

Increased granular visibility enables logistics and supply management to supervise container status at risk, such as temperature variance, which may compromise the integrity of goods and the brand, impacting the compliance of agreements and significantly affecting customer’s trust.  Disappearance is a huge problem in the Supply Chain, as misplaced products represent millions in costs and lost profit for companies every year, whether through theft, damage, or data inaccuracies. Lack of visibility into the shipment locations leaves logistics and supply leaders without a way to identify and prevent these disappearances and losses. 

Visibility through data 

You can improve visibility with solutions that enable the planning of shipments, their status, and readiness across the Supply Chain. Most enterprises will use data collected by visibility solutions to achieve visibility into their company processes. This data can give Supply Chain participants the ability to track goods, supervise asset quality, and boost more reliable decisions.

When Supply Chain managers want to ensure assets are tracked throughout their entire Supply Chain, they use sensors and triggers located inside the warehouses and stores throughout the supply chain to improve flow, decrease delay and maximize efficiency.

Currently, consumers demand fast delivery and accurate delivery estimates. These requirements are quite challenging for companies to fulfill without Visibility into the Supply Chain.  Transmitting accurate delivery estimates is particularly important in offering the best customer experience and consolidating customers’ trust; providing accurate delivery estimates is challenging for corporations to set without visibility into the Supply Chain – this is why more than half of retailers do not offer detailed delivery date estimations. 

Tracking assets

You can use the triggers and alerts as an integral part of bringing granular data usage to a new level.

The triggers can monitor inventory status; then, Supply Chain managers can be alerted to possible issues and solve them before they become critical. Additionally, Supply Chain managers can track this data over time to identify where problems tend to arise and remedy where there are likely to be less robust processes. 

With better tracking, businesses can:

  • have healthier delivery expectations set among customers
  • get ahead of anomalies in fulfillment processes
  • collect data by alerts to facilitate the company identifying irregular shipping behavior or weak links in their Supply Chain
  • identify patterns of mistakes or misuse that could lead to a change in their chosen Supply Chain partner or warehouse
  • enable Supply Chain managers to proactively reach out to the correct logistics provider to push them to move reprioritized products
  • enable businesses to test different shipment routes to determine which are most efficient
  • enable triggers to communicate the location of inventory and deliver updates on inventory conditions for reprioritized decisions.

With greater visibility, the Supply Chain can set the path to improved operational efficiencies, superior customer experiences, and a more profitable result. 

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