Written by
David Koke
Senior Marketing Manager

Beacon’s supply chain visibility and collaboration platform empowers organizations to achieve more efficient, reliable and sustainable supply chains.

In this article

June 6, 2024

The state of supply chain visibility in the retail industry

In the bustling realm of retail, where consumer demands fluctuate and market dynamics shift with lightning speed, supply chain visibility has emerged as an indispensable asset for businesses striving to stay ahead. 

The ability to track, monitor, and analyze every facet of the supply chain has become a cornerstone of success in this ever competitive industry.

In this article, we'll delve into the significance of supply chain visibility in the retail industry, explore key trends, and highlight how Beacon's platform is being used by retailers to revolutionize the way they approach supply chain management.

Key trends impacting retail supply chains

Several key trends are shaping the landscape of the retail sector and driving the need for enhanced supply chain visibility:

  1. Increasing Disruption: The massive disruptions caused by COVID and the Red Sea crisis have focused a lot of eyes on supply chains. Having been reminded just how bad things can get, supply chain and logistics operators are under pressure from corporate leaders to make supply chains more agile and resilient, all while keeping costs under control.
  2. The ‘Amazon Effect’: The explosive growth of e-commerce has transformed consumer expectations of the retail industry. Today's consumers expect timely delivery and transparent communication from retailers at every stage of the journey. Because of this, the pressure to keep shelves stocked and fulfil e-commerce orders on time has never been higher. 
  3. Emissions Transparency: A survey of 10,281 global consumers showed 78% agree that environmental sustainability is important, that the concept of sustainability appeals to them, and that they want to lead more sustainable lives. Additionally, 63% have taken to modify their lifestyle, including adopting greener buying habits. Shifting consumer expectations combined with new and forthcoming regulations means supply chain emissions transparency is quickly becoming an essential capability for retailers.
  4. Nearshoring and reshoring: More frequent supply chain disruptions combined with rising global conflict mean retailers are increasingly looking for ways to bring manufacturing closer to home as a way of reducing lead times, de-risking their supply chains and mitigating unpredictability.

The need for improved retail supply chain visibility

In the world of retail, these prevailing trends have led supply chain and logistics operators to face increased pressure to drive reliability, transparency and supply chain agility across multiple fronts, including:

  • Inventory control 
  • Supplier reliability
  • Data sharing and collaboration
  • Freight and logistics cost management
  • GHG emissions reporting

Despite widespread acknowledgement of these priorities, capabilities are not progressing as quickly as many corporate leaders would hope. A close-group survey of retail supply chain professionals conducted by Beacon revealed that:

  • Only 53% of respondents have on-demand access to analytics and reports that allow them to assess supply chain performance and pinpoint risk areas
  • 32% reported being able to track and report on Scope 3 freight emissions
  • 47% can quickly identify shipments that pose financial risks (demurrage, detention, chargebacks etc.). 

Retail supply chain visibility software solutions like Beacon are well positioned to help move the needle on these priorities, but the survey data underpins the need for wider adoption of such tools within the retail sector. 

Enhancing retail visibility with Beacon

Beacon's retail supply chain visibility software offers a comprehensive solution for retailers seeking to enhance visibility, connect supply chain stakeholders, optimize performance and measure carbon emissions. 

  1. Track Freight in Real-Time: Beacon's platform provides real-time freight tracking updates for logistics teams, buyers and planners, warehouses, stores and other supply chain stakeholders. With all your ocean, air and road freight in one platform, you can track the flow of goods through your supply chain at the shipment, PO or SKU level, identify potential stockouts and share live updates with everyone who needs them. 
  1. Improve Connectivity & Collaboration: Beacon Live Boards facilitate data sharing and communication across the supply chain ecosystem, enabling seamless coordination with suppliers, warehouses, stores and other stakeholders. By fostering greater transparency and streamlining communication, retailers can optimize their operations, keep goods moving and deliver a superior customer experience.
  1. Supply Chain Performance Insights: Beacon’s reporting suite provides insights into route, carrier and supplier performance so you can understand and act on the persistent sources of risk in your supply chain. 
  1. Scope 3 Freight Emissions Reporting: Beacon applies a standardized approach to measuring Scope 3 freight transportation emissions in compliance with the GLEC framework. This allows retailers to generate a single, trusted view of freight emissions.

Supply chain visibility is no longer a luxury but a necessity for retailers looking to thrive in today's world. By embracing innovative solutions like Beacon, retailers can gain the insights and agility needed to stay ahead of the curve, delight customers, and drive sustainable growth.

Curious what Beacon can do for you? Watch the 3-minute video demo.