Being able to track and trace any goods in transit is more important than ever in a world that is increasingly connected. It gives everybody involved in any trade the opportunity to stay on top of their stock and find out exactly which worldwide location any goods are in, which in turn provides them with a more accurate time of arrival.
As newer technology develops, we’re rewarded with more opportunities to ensure supply chain visibility which provides a wealth of benefits to everyone involved. That’s why supply chain visibility is one of the most important areas in which logistics companies are focusing themselves right now.
Let’s take a look at some of those benefits and discover a few measures we can take in our own supply chain management to ensure we can enjoy them.
Why is supply chain visibility so important?
Of the main benefits around supply chain visibility, some will be more obvious than others. However, you may not have contemplated one or two of the following, and they just might be the motivation you need to adjust your own logistics management for greater visibility:
- Predictable timelines means greater efficiency: with good supply chain visibility comes more predictability of the timescale of an operation, and that means better coordination between everyone involved in the chain, improving overall efficiency.
- Lower chance of errors and delays: anyone involved in logistics will know that delays and errors can be the most frustrating thing in the world, leaving behind a trail of problems you’ll need to clear up. A simple way to minimise the chance of these things happening is to boost the visibility of your supply chain.
- Saves you time: no matter how involved you are with logistical management, greater supply chain visibility means more agility and that in turn saves you time. Getting updates on any movements will be quicker, freeing up time in your schedule to get on with the important tasks at hand.
- Greater satisfaction for the customer: all of the preceding benefits to you will be enjoyed by the customer as well. There’s a lower risk of delays and mistakes upsetting them, they'll be able to track the product more easily meaning less enquiries from them and you’ll be able to satisfy any extra requests they have thanks to the enhanced agility.
How do we ensure greater supply chain visibility?
There are a few steps anybody involved in the supply chain can take to ensure greater transparency of the supply chain, therefore reaping the aforementioned benefits. Naturally, it depends on where in said supply chain you’re involved, but here’s a look at some of the steps that can be undertaken to smooth the process:
1. Choose the right tools: there are tons of amazing pieces of software available these days. An upgrade will guarantee greater supply chain visibility if you haven’t done so recently. The same can be said for hardware, including computer systems and tracking technology.
2. Ensure the standardisation of all data: data is the future and staying on top of how you handle it can make all the difference to the success of any business. It’s also important to make sure you trust the data you receive and make the correct decisions based on that.
3. Make sure you have the right team: the key characteristics for an employee working in a supply chain these days are data-driven and analytically-minded. Having team members with these skills will give you a much greater chance of ensuring strong supply chain visibility.
What are the main trends in supply chain visibility?
As technology gets better, the way we perceive supply chain visibility increases. Staying on top of this can be the difference between a successful supply chain and an unsuccessful one. Let’s check out some of the main trends for supply chain visibility in 2022 so far.
If you keep an eye on how these technologies emerge throughout the year and into the future, you’ll be putting yourself in the driving seat to a successful and highly visible supply chain:
1. Cloud sharing: perhaps the main benefit of the technology of today for logistics companies is the ability to share information all around the world in a fraction of a second. With software such as cloud storage and sharing, it could not be more easy to keep an eye on the entire supply chain process and communicate any updates to those involved. The supply chain has never been more visible than it is today!
2. Artificial intelligence: we can go one step further with making things easier for ourselves by incorporating AI into our supply chains. While this technology is developing further all the time and it’s unclear as to how far it can go to help us in the logistics industry, there are already benefits. These include more efficient manufacturing lines and route planning. We might even have self-driving vehicles soon.
3. Robotics for automation: on top of the incorporation of AI, robotics will become even more of a help to us in the supply chain than they already are. Not only will manufacturing become quicker but so will distribution, and that will cause all sorts of benefits for us.
Last thoughts on the rise of supply chain visibility
Logistics and supply chain management as an industry grows all the time and as a result, more and more tech companies are investing their time and money into it to improve how it runs. This makes it a lot easier for companies to ensure supply chain visibility and that, as we now know, can make life a lot easier for everyone involved in the supply chain.
The rise of supply chain visibility makes the industry more competitive because of those benefits it has to those in it, so make sure you stay with the trend and make the steps to ensure a more visible supply chain today.