There is a common misconception that supply chain visibility is just about freight tracking. But this constrained definition fails to capture the transformational strategic and financial benefits that organizations stand to gain from an investment in visibility.
So what does supply chain visibility really mean? At its core, supply chain visibility is an organization's ability to access, share and analyze their supply chain data. To put it simply, investing in supply chain visibility helps organizations unlock new capabilities, transform ways of working and future-proof their businesses.
The strategic benefits of supply chain visibility are wide-ranging
Firstly, supply chain visibility gives you ownership of your supply chain data. This is essential as supply chain and logistics teams typically face two major challenges when it comes to data; there is rarely a single source of truth that enables you to get the full picture of what’s happening, and data is often controlled by supply chain partners. Beacon and other visibility solutions are well positioned to solve these problems by automating the collection and organization of freight tracking data in a single platform. Ultimately, data drives knowledge, and knowledge is power.
Secondly, visibility streamlines supply chain collaboration. Supply chains are made up of a huge network of actors and any good visibility programme has to extend beyond the walls of your organization to reach your supply chain partners. Supply chain collaboration solutions like Beacon Live Boards bring together all stakeholders, data, documents and communication in one place.
Finally, visibility platforms such as Beacon help to measure Scope 3 carbon emissions, get ahead of regulation and protect your brand. If you are not currently required to report on the carbon emissions of your supply chain, you can bet the question is coming soon…
Visibility is also good for the bottom line
Beyond the strategic benefits, improving supply chain visibility also delivers savings that boost your bottom line. Insights into past performance boost negotiating power with supply chain partners and help you make better, data-driven planning decisions that collectively drive down costs and improve supply chain performance. Data-driven approaches to planning also help to achieve the dual objectives of reducing reliance on excessive safety stock levels and reducing the frequency of stockouts (boosting revenue in the process). From an operational standpoint, visibility solutions also save teams time by virtue of automating high-frequency tasks like fetching and communicating tracking updates.
In today’s world, being data-driven is imperative. Supply chain visibility solutions help to amass a robust historical data set, and once this database is built, companies can be well-prepared to take the leap into AI-powered supply chain automation.
The benefits of investing in supply chain visibility are highly impactful and wide-reaching. Not only does it help drive near term cost savings and supply chain performance improvements, but it also helps businesses future proof their supply chains and set the groundwork for automation. Improved visibility and data quality are two sides of the same coin, and if you aren’t focused on it now, you risk being left in the dark.