Visibility in your supply chain means that you know what is happening within it or that this information is available to you. While it sounds like a simple feature, it can be challenging to achieve. Supply chains can operate at a fast pace, use many different platforms and routes and operate all over the world. The logistics that carry them can encounter unexpected disruptions.
Many of these services have the ability to track goods. The problem lies in pulling the information together into one uniform tracking system for shippers to track. World Transport Agency (WTA) has experienced the real-time benefits of logistical supply chain visibility.
In this article, we discuss the importance of having visibility in your supply chain and the benefits it can offer your company.
What is logistical supply chain visibility?
Supply chain visibility is the ability to track goods in transit. Basically, it means you can see exactly where shipments are at any time on their journey.
It also gives you access to bits of information related to your logistics which wasn't previously available and acts as a single storage point for all information related to your supply chain.
Problems with lack of visibility
We only have to look back on the last two years to see the impact of supply chain visibility. COVID-19 and the Suez Canal blockage caused huge implications to companies' supply chains.
These sorts of events catch any company off guard, but in many cases their problems were amplified due to a lack of visibility. Operations suffered from a significant delay in inbound and outbound supply. Location analytics allows you to minimise the impact of these disruptions, by building a more robust and efficient supply chain.
Companies should be able to track their inventory in real-time, allowing them to address the critical pain points. WTA understands the necessity of knowing where your goods are at any given moment. That's why we offer complete supply chain visibility, so you can better understand where your vulnerabilities lie.
Benefits of visibility in your logistical process
Improved logistics visibility results in improved operations and workflow. There are so many significant benefits experienced as a consequence of a location-analytic tool:
Visibility saves money. It's as simple as that. Being able to analyse your entire supply chain you can remove inefficiencies. There is no waste, every journey is tracked so you can pin point the areas where you're spending too much money and optimise accordingly.
This is the most under-appreciated weapon of supply chain visibility. Good visibility tools will give you access to a whole range of data which was previously impossible. Cost and timing breakdowns across carriers, ports, routes and type of goods. Monitor and compare the performance of all these areas over customisable timeframes. Analyse data related to CO2 emissions.
You gain access to so much information related to your supply chain. Then with this data, you can spot previously unseen opportunities, and make critical decisions to save money. A particular carrier consistently missing their ETA? A particular route overly expensive? A particular port taking longer to process customs? It's all there, and much more.
A single source of truth for information
Visibility tools act as a single source of truth for all information relating to your logistical supply chain. This means you have one place to go for accurate info. All the documents can be stored inside, alongside vital data points such as ETA's, consignee info and incoterms.
A single platform for all this information hugely decreases the time spent managing your logistical supply chain.
Improved communication between you and your logistics partners can minimise the chance of encountering disruptions. Visibility allows you to identify disruptions ahead of time. This will enable transporters to avoid the interruption and keep your supply chain running smoothly.
A logistical supply chain which you can oversee, is more adaptable in times of shock. Easily spot which shipments will be influenced by events outside your control.
Take for example the Suez Canal blockage. Geo-location across your supply chain means you can see exactly what shipments are going to be affected and make changes accordingly to mitigate. Proactive rather than reactive logistical supply chain management.
Enhanced logistics visibility can improve the transit route of your goods. With minimised disruptions and streamlined routes, the lead time of your logistics is reduced.
One of the biggest benefits of gaining visibility along the supply chain is to make your logistics agile. By this we mean you can make adjustments quickly, from one platform. While increasing speed is great, agility can ensure that you meet your delivery promises. This can enhance your reputation and save you associated costs from delays. With visibility, you can be ahead of problems and overcome them in real-time.
Improved customer service and supplier relationships
When you can follow the movement of your goods, you can pass on these updates to your customers. If there are any delays or disruptions, informing a customer in advance can help them manage the problem.
This communication is likely to improve your relationship with them and keep their business coming to you. Likewise, visibility for your inbound goods coming from suppliers can help you understand where your vulnerabilities are. This can allow you to make appropriate changes, mitigate the risks and reduce costs.
Challenges in logistical visibility
The biggest challenge in logistical visibility is the implementation phase. Moving onto a visibility tool is a significant disruption. Staff need to be trained on the system, API's need to set up between the tool and other systems in use at the company.
It will require buy-in from everyone at the company. But it's certainly worth it. It's the future of logistical supply chains, no doubt.
As supply chain logistics continue to grow with the evolving technology, their complexities grow with them. The visibility along your logistical supply chain is critical in streamlining the process. Visibility can help manage the journey, reduce costs and minimise transit disruptions.
We have a visibility tool called WTA Control Tower. Partnering with WTA can provide complete visibility of your logistical supply chain, so you gain all the benefits mentioned in this article. Enquire today to find out more.
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