We are in a rapidly ‘moving’ economy where consumers demand instant delivery of products and services. If your company doesn’t have systems in place to instantly deliver services and products to consumers, they’ll quickly move on to a company that does.
This calls for real-time visibility in the supply chain to allow consumers to track the progress of the product they’ve just ordered. The need for visibility has never been as apparent as it is today. This is critical if you hope to run an efficient supply chain that prioritizes the needs of the consumers.
So, how can you increase your supply chain visibility? Follow these nine expert tips to help you improve supply chain visibility:
1. Hire the right people
An effective supply chain service is anchored in a customer service that prioritizes the needs of consumers. The customer care personnel should possess analytical skills and be extremely skilled in interpreting data.
They should also be proficient in the application of new processes and technologies that enhance efficiency. It’s, therefore, critical to hire the right talent, people who understand that the customer is the most crucial cog in the supply chain.
2. Define the level of visibility
To increase supply chain visibility, you need first to define what that visibility is. What does visibility mean to your customers or consumers of your products? Clearly define the kind of experience you want the end-users of your product to have. What value will they get from enhanced visibility?
3. Audit the supply chain
The reason you want to increase your supply chain visibility is that it’s not as visible as you would like it to be. There are areas in the chain that aren’t as visible as they should, or which could be hampering visibility instead of enhancing it. Isolate these areas and look for ways to increase visibility.
This exercise involves performing an audit into various processes, engaging with your internal departments and meeting with suppliers and vendors to brainstorm on problematic areas. What’s the biggest issue that’s hurting your visibility? Many businesses have vulnerabilities in their freight systems. This calls for a comprehensive freight audit to help you identify possible improvements.
Once you have everything figured out, look for the best solutions and technology to help you deal with these issues and increase your supply chain visibility. For some companies, inventory management is a considerable challenge. The situation may be different for your company, but it’s an excellent place to start your investigation.
4. Improve real-time transparency
At the core of supply chain visibility is transparency. Your systems and processes, logistics, communication and the products themselves must be transparent. The volume of data exchange is increasing exponentially. Leveraging this data in real-time can be quite the task.
Yet, it’s essential to do so if you wish to improve the visibility of your supply chain. Your ability to understand the most critical data for solving essential business challenges significantly improves real-time transparency.
5. Choose an ideal connectivity platform
The supply chain involves many players, each with a vital role. Ensuring they are connected via an appropriate digital platform is essential. Whatever connectivity platform you settle for, make sure it’s easily accessible to all the players, and that they can use it.
Your platform should be flexible enough to allow fast adjustment whenever the need arises. The platform should be able to adapt to the development of new capacities quickly. The ability to integrate irrespective of the execution system in place is critical.
6. Standardize and manage data
Your data strategy is a critical component of the supply chain. Have data models that can translate into actionable information. Players in the chain should be able to use the same data and arrive at similar solutions. When data is standardized, outcomes can be managed across the platform. This enhances the visibility of your supply chain.
7. Trust the data
To improve the supply chain visibility, trust the data. Avoid operating from assumptions since these can be misleading. The data is your most reliable partner in understanding the health of your supply chain. Trust that both the data and information generated from it are secure.
This is important since it makes sense to act on data and information you can trust. Make sure there’s confidentiality around financial data as this is a critical component of the supply chain.
8. Expedite supply chain decisions
After identifying areas that require improvement, use the data to respond to the issues at hand. Since you know the various components of your supply chain, including which areas need tweaking, act expeditiously by executing the appropriate solutions. This will enhance the supply chain visibility of your company.
9. Collaborate and partner
However efficient and visible your supply chain is, you cannot achieve extraordinary goals by working alone. The digital environment you operate from requires partnering and collaborating with others, leveraging each other’s strengths. This way, you get to benefit from the capacity of your partners, creating an interdependent ecosystem that further enhances your supply chain visibility.