“Transparency” is a word that carries more weight than it once did. Today, a company must account for everything, especially in its supply chain. Supply chain visibility becomes increasingly important the more companies outsource because segments of the process are handled by other companies—often in another country.
Customers want to know about status or delivery updates as soon as changes in shipments occur. Therefore, the more transparent your supply chain is, the more your company can meet the wants, needs and expectations of customers.
What is Supply Chain Visibility?
Supply chain visibility is essentially an inventory strategy that involves techniques to improve the allocation and orchestration of products and shipments.
It allows you to see what inventory is with your suppliers, in your store and in your warehouse, so you can accelerate order fulfillment and exceed customer expectations while keeping operating costs low.
What Are the Benefits of Supply Chain Visibility?
End-to-end supply chain visibility provides a competitive advantage because it allows you to serve your customers better.
Some benefits to expect include:
Greater inventory control
Better customer experience and satisfaction
Shorter cycle times
Improved worker efficiency and productivity
Saved time via automating the tracking process across all transportation parties
Reduced costs associated with delays and chargebacks
More precise data to make smarter business decisions
How Do You Improve Supply Chain Visibility?
Supply chain visibility might seem complex and difficult to adopt, but it can be broken down into three stages: the order stage, in-transit stage, and invoice and audit stage.
Order stage: The order stage involves the quantity of product requested.
In-transit stage: The in-transit stage represents the physical movement of the items.
Invoice and audit stage: This final stage completes the transaction between buyers, sellers and contracted Logistics Service Providers (LSPs).
During each of these stages, information collected can be handled either manually or automatically. A third option, an integrated approach, communicates information through independent, but connected, systems.
Manual input is when errors are most likely to occur and simultaneously when visibility is weakest. An integrated approach, on the other hand, tends to be the most accurate and transparent of the three options.
By using an integrated approach to supply chain information handling, the improved visibility will help your stakeholders make informed decisions rapidly. Further, you’ll save time and effort over manually created reports. As a result, your customers will receive orders more quickly. You will also experience fewer errors and profit losses, which will result in lower operational costs.
The Future of End-to-End Visibility
Increasing end-to-end visibility within your supply chain is an ever-changing process because new technologies and opportunities are introduced every day to improve operations and results. This is not, however, an area of business where you can simply integrate solutions and consider it done.
As supply chains expand and lengthen with the increase in the number of global resource providers, distribution channels and markets, more will be required to ensure that visibility remains intact over time. Solutions—including omni-channel software platforms, complex system integrations and other advancements—will be ongoing requirements to maximize supply chain visibility, which ultimately plays a role in driving cost savings, revenue and profitability.