How Far Does Your Supply Chain Visibility Go?

Simon Eskow Supply Chain Articles Leave a Comment

Business has a definition for the supply chain. However, different companies describe their specific supply chains differently. For example, a large enterprise may own and manage factories and fleets of trucks, in addition to warehouses, retail branches and multiple sales channels. Whatever it takes to get your product to your customer on time, every time will be your supply chain. Thus, the more involved it is, the more difficult to adjust to changes in demand, customer behavior, and circumstances. This is what makes supply chain visibility so important.

Your Business Needs Supply Chain Visibility

As important as it is, a surprising number of business leaders don’t have great supply chain visibility. In fact, 77% of them ranked their supply chain visibility as restricted or non-existent in one survey. What makes this response more surprising is most of them describe their supply chain as complex.

Companies, however, do aim to achieve supply chain visibility because it gives them the control they need to keep their customers coming back.  That, in turn, paves the way to more profitability.

Visibility boils down to knowing everything about your inventory wherever it is in your supply chain. For example, how much of your product is waiting in your warehouses and storerooms? How much is on its way to your customers? When should you place orders with your suppliers to replenish and meet demand?

Improving Your Supply Chain Visibility

Amazon frequently comes up as the epitome of a well-designed, well-managed supply chain. Thanks to its investment in distribution centers, automation, and data, Amazon set the bar for rapid, timely and complete order fulfillment.

Most businesses won’t need to design a supply chain as complex as Amazon’s. However, like Amazon, all businesses generate a lot of data. Information about customers and sales, purchase, stock level data accumulate over time. The key to supply chain visibility lies in your ability to access and act on that data. Companies that know where their products are at any given time, and can analyze the data as it accumulates, will be in position to achieve perfect order fulfillment. Their customers will be satisfied, and their profitability will improve.

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