End-to-end Visibility is Crucial to Shipper Network Optimization
“Visibility.” It’s more than just the latest buzzword on everyone’s mind and tip of the tongue. But what does it mean and what is its value in your supply chain?
As technology advances, the velocity of business increases, the proliferation of personal electronic devices continues, and people’s expectations of shippers grow. Today’s consumers already assume they will be able to get an immediate status update on a shipment, product, or event simply by checking their smartphones or tablets.
These heightened expectations not only require faster order fulfillment, but data and information that is extremely reliable. Shippers are seeking velocity, agility, and high service reliability in their supply chains. In fact, the desire for supply chain agility has overtaken transportation and inventory cost on shippers’ lists of concerns as companies strive for customer retention. Cost pressures on shippers certainly have not lessened, but the plethora of choices available to customers means that meeting their demands has to be Priority #1.
Q: How can I achieve visibility to optimize my supply chain?
A: It’s crucial to understand that visibility in and of itself will not deliver customer satisfaction and retention. However, when paired with proactive communication and predictive analytics, the powerful combination shines a light on the areas of cost and waste across the supply chain–and can lead to areas for process and continuous improvement.
It’s possible for shippers to gain better control of their inventory by reducing safety stock by up to 20 percent, reduce premium freight expenditures by 5 to 50 percent through better inventory and supplier management, move distribution resources to points of immediate need, and gain control over the increasing exposure to delivery fines. Of course, these factors all contribute directly to cost containment and customer satisfaction.
Q: How can analytics impact the performance of my supply chain?
A: Visibility can’t stop at product picking and restart when a truck is moving. There are activities and processes between these two events that are frequently forgotten but can have an impact on the performance of your supply chain.
Analytics provides the opportunity to:
- Address a wide array of inefficiencies related to driver detention and other delays
- Improve paperwork processes (such as in and out gate procedures and digital bills of lading)
- Facilitate better forecasting of truck demand to reduce short lead time activity
- Eliminate redundant communication
- Respect the strict hours of service under which drivers operate
Q: How does visibility move from buzzword to business results?
A: The answer lies in system integrators. These technology platforms and their underlying processes merge data captured across an organization into one system. This provides a consistent, clear view of a shipper’s supply chain and creates the opportunity to take action. Simply put, greater end-to-end visibility lays the foundation for transformational change within shippers’ supply chains.
Q: Where do I start?
A: Working with supply chain experts that can provide the technology platforms to allow shippers to achieve network optimization and end-to-end visibility is crucial.
Learn more at: schneider.com/inbound