Results You Can See: What Your Company Gains from Increased Supply Chain Visibility
Today, improving end-to-end visibility in supply chains is more critical than ever.
According to a recent GEP-Tech Target survey of more than 300 IT leaders, a lack of global visibility into supply chain systems was the second most highly ranked pain point, behind only lack of a single view of the truth into supply chain management data.
Visibility means being able to track components and raw materials in real time to ensure the physical flow of goods through your supply chain goes according to the plan and to better diagnose, predict and respond when things go wrong.
But to get to that level of visibility, most companies need to modernize their supply chain management software to collect data from suppliers and turn it into insights.
How can your company gain from increased supply chain visibility, and how does the software take you there?
Tier 1 Suppliers
Unless you have a clear view of your suppliers, materials, and products at each level, you will lack insights into potential vulnerabilities and increase the risk of getting blindsided by unforeseen events. In industries where competition is fierce and margins are razor-thin, any obstacle or delay can be costly. Visibility into direct suppliers enables collaboration and helps you
- Identify potential capacity or supply constraints
- Optimize supply in relation to demand shifts
- Manage risks and find opportunities
- Respond to disruptions with agility and data-driven decisions
Global supply chains are increasingly interconnected, but that doesn’t mean they’re collaborative. When a disruption to one point of your supply chain can throw the whole system off the rails, collaboration, enabled by a supply chain visibility software platform, is key in resolving problems and keeping everything running.
Tier 2 and Tier 3 Suppliers
Companies can gain from having greater visibility into their direct suppliers. That’s the low-hanging fruit. But supply chain visibility software also creates significant benefits from providing visibility into suppliers’ suppliers. Through greater awareness of the multiple tiers of suppliers, it’s easier for you to take the pulse of your supply chains and change strategies if that pulse is off rhythm.
Advantages of multi-tier visibility in supply chains include:
- Sustainability: Making supply chains sustainable in light of ongoing environmental changes will be a key area of concern for companies in the long term.
- Compliance: Regulation will continue to tighten as pressures for such areas as sustainability or data privacy increase, making an agile supply chain with end-to-end visibility necessary.
- Rapid response: By being able to see where material and inventory is and to gain insights on how to adjust strategy, you are able to make better decisions quickly.
- Customer focus: Greater inventory visibility helps your company adjust to demand changes efficiently.
Companies may source material from multiple suppliers in order to strengthen their supply chains, but what if those suppliers in turn have a common source? What they have then is a vulnerability waiting to be exposed. By being aware of the entire supply chain, you can move to address potential issues before they become disasters.
Different Forms of Visibility
What does visibility look like up and down the supply chain? Different systems will give different data and different views, whether the company is looking at transportation, warehousing, inventory, or manufacturing.
Data from all stages of the production and delivery process are important in developing the level of visibility that companies need to have. Without that complete data, you’ve got blind spots, and those will be where you’re most at risk.
Supply chain visibility software brings those disparate streams together into a single unified data model that an AI-powered platform can analyze and draw insights from. That in turn enables predictive analytics and data-driven decision making from a control tower.
Greater visibility into your suppliers and suppliers’ suppliers enables you to not only control inventory more efficiently and respond to crises but also respond to customer needs with greater agility and provide a better experience.
How to Get There
Having end-to-end visibility over the different tiers in the supply chain brings crucial advantages for businesses. But how do you get there? What systems do you need to have in place to truly leverage those advantages? You can consider the following as the starting points:
- Unified Data Model: The starting point for getting real-time visibility into the supply chain is a unified data model to aggregate, organize, and make data from all the devices and sources available.
- Digitized Supply Chain: Cloud-based and AI-driven platforms are becoming the new norm in supply chain management for their capacity to analyze huge volumes of data and offer meaningful insights.
- Control Tower: The dashboard enables companies to take a bird’s eye view of all the systems that make up the supply chain. Control towers are a critical component of next-generation supply chain management platforms and a key feature for companies that want to keep an eye on their suppliers at all tiers.
- Automation: Reducing the manual touchpoints in the supply chain helps minimize errors and frees up employees to focus on more strategic work.
The Power of Visibility
In the new normal, visibility into suppliers and suppliers’ suppliers brings many advantages for businesses. Visibility gives you the context needed to understand what’s going on in your supply chain, identify vulnerabilities, and make decisions based on a more complete picture.
Supply chain visibility software makes that possible by providing a foundation for supply chain data, AI-driven tools to analyze that information, and a control tower to let you see the entire landscape.