Today we do business in an information economy. Those with the best information win. In supply chain terms this means Supply Chain Visibility, SCV or just visibility. It simply means being able to track goods in transit from manufacturer to destination. Its goal is to make the supply chain more efficient and resilient by making information available to stakeholders.
When businesses outsource parts of their supply chains, they also outsource their visibility and therefore control over their inventories. A raft of supply chain visibility technologies has emerged to remedy this giving businesses back their information and allowing them to influence demand and manage supply.
Visibility is a critical element to optimising your supply chain logistics.
Without it, you expose your business to enormous risk.
So why do so few businesses have it?
And why is it so hard?
Despite this, genuine visibility is far from being achieved, mainly due to the complexity and inefficiencies in international supply chains. Consider the high number of break-points in a typical cross-border trade – as many as ten parties, each with multiple touchpoints, dwell times, and little data standardisation.
Shippers and consignees must interact with up to 25 different entities (customs, terminals, shipping lines, forwarders, authorities, etc. for each shipment. Fifty per cent of the US’s largest importers still use spreadsheets to manage their international supply chains.
A 2019 study of 2000 North America based supply chain professionals by ToolsGroup revealed that a majority of respondents thought that supply chain digitalisation would have the most significant effect on operational efficiencies, customer expectations, customer service levels, and order fill rates, as well as help to drive business performance towards improved revenue and profit.
Yet only 7% of companies are realising the benefits of supply chain digitalisation and 58% are currently evaluating strategies for digital transformation.
These are only a few examples of how complexity has inhibited the development and adoption of universal supply chain technologies to provide visibility.
What does a lack of visibility look like?
The symptoms of poor visibility in your supply chain are the usual band of suspects. Errors, inconsistent inventory management, delivery inefficiencies, misinformation or out of date data. It all adds up to a poor customer experience. But that is not where it ends.
The impact on your business reaches further than a disgruntled client.
There are higher costs to your business through ineffective inventory management. Stock-outs mean lost sales and higher transport costs if you need to send something by airfreight to meet a deadline. Excess stock in the warehouse as you’ve over-ordered means higher warehousing costs and leads to discounting.
Then there is the impact on your reputation. Too many errors and you might not get the next order or the one after that.
Good businesses demand data integration
You can’t run a business blindly. Supply chain visibility is crucial to the success of an organisation. However, inefficiencies always creep in when the individuals in an organisation don’t know what’s happening upstream or downstream. But despite the challenges, it is possible to increase visibility and transparency across every stage of the supply chain.
Supply chain visibility (SCV) allows you to ‘see’ every aspect of your inventory
Businesses that break down silos by focusing on efficiency, transparency and risk exposure will gain an advantage.
- Identify and fill gaps in your system
- Gain a holistic view of the organisation or system through information sharing
Reduce risks and costs
- Eliminates interruptions in your processes
- Quickly respond to demand fluctuations and redirect supply.
- Review areas of inefficiency such as errors and damaged goods
- Track KPIs and predict future trends
- Open dialogue with other organisations throughout the supply chain
- Measure and enhance team productivity
- Proven ROI through efficiency gains and customer satisfaction improvements
Get started with visibility
Increasingly our customers and their end consumers demand real-time visibility, along with the near-immediate delivery of goods. This has placed enormous pressure on supply chains and with it, enormous innovation. Gary Allen, Ryder Vice President of Supply Chain Excellence recommends the following to get you started on the journey to supply chain visibility and gaining and maintaining a competitive edge.
- Manage and standardise data so you can consistently use and translate the data into meaningful information.
- Trust the data, so you can believe the information. Find ways to ensure security around the exchange of information.
- Interpret the figures. You can’t make improvements until you know what problems to solve. Data allows you to manage exceptions before they occur, saving time and money and keeping customers happy.
- Drive efficient decision-making. Now that you can uncover opportunities across your supply chain, you can execute solutions.
- Focus on real-time transparency. The frequency and size of data is growing almost exponentially. Being able to use this data in real-time is imperative. The key to this is knowing what data is most critical to solving key business problems, what it means.
MagTrack – tracking and data integration
Access to timely and relevant information is critical to your supply chain. Too often there is frustration over the gap in the level you need vs what you’re getting.
Our agile operating system enables us to offer automated standard and custom reporting, web portal access and full data integration – as much or as little as you want, delivered in a way that suits you.
Best of all, then is no need to purchase expensive software or overhaul your systems. The team at Magellan Logistics can take care of the set up for you.
- Real-time data integration – standardised data format increases data integrity and the value of the information
- Centralised to promote collaboration across the supply chain
- End-to-end visibility over orders, suppliers, and third-party partners – break down silos and gain access to relevant data
- Reports tailored to your specifications and automatically triggered based on identified events
- Early exception detections
- Data analytics to direct warehouse, retail and last-mile delivery teams efficiently
- Advanced automation to improve speed and accuracy
- Notifications and alerts on the go give you the potential to resolve disruptions before they disrupt your business
Get in touch with me at Magellan to hear about how you can use data integration to gain supply chain visibility (SCV) and get control of your inventory and business performance at firstname.lastname@example.org or +61 407 484 584.