Boosting Supply Chain Visibility
Supply chain visibility enables companies to respond quickly to changes in customer demands, optimize production and distribution, deliver a superior customer experience, and gain a competitive edge. Here’s how to achieve it.
1. Obtain good quality data. The old saying about “garbage in, garbage out” is true. Shippers cannot attain end-to-end visibility of their supply chain without good, clean, quality data gathered from multiple sources across the supply chain. Collect and analyze data on customer demand, order volumes, order patterns, typical shipment performance, common issues that arise, and more. This information will help you plan your shipments more accurately, mitigate risk by creating contingencies for issues that arise, and effectively respond to changes in the supply chain.
2. Get a cohesive view of all modes. Gaining a seamless view of all transportation modes requires technology that can digest the data and provide a holistic overview of the supply chain. What good are your supply chain processes if you can see where your trucks are in real time but have no idea where your rail or ocean shipments are?
3. Employ AI and ML algorithms. Artificial intelligence and machine learning continuously learn from the collected data and provide details on how to optimize the supply chain. AI empowers organizations to make sense of complex supply chain data, improve forecasting accuracy, optimize operations, and enhance decision-making capabilities, enhancing supply chain visibility and performance.
4. Integrate and synchronize data. Do this across the entire supply chain, from suppliers to end customers. This data needs to exist in a centralized data repository accessible to authorized stakeholders across the supply chain, enabling them to view and utilize the information for decision-making.
5. Deploy advanced analytics. Analyze the collected data and generate actionable insights. So many shippers spend time trying to execute faster, but few really take the time to analyze their data and work better. The right analytics identify trends, optimize processes, predict demand, and mitigate risks. When issues or disruptions occur in the supply chain, advanced analytics can help identify the root causes, enabling stakeholders to understand the underlying factors contributing to problems such as delays, quality issues, or inefficiencies.
6. Consider data visualization. To help people better understand and interpret supply chain information, data is transformed into visual elements like charts or graphs that can be easily comprehended so that viewers quickly grasp insight, trends, and patterns that might not be apparent from the raw data alone.
7. Leverage a technology platform. Find the technology solution that has the expertise of your specific market because the behavior of the consumer products or medical market is different from industrial bulk or break bulk markets. A supply chain visibility platform tailored to your industry can help shippers understand how the market behaves.
8. Implement tracking technologies. GPS, telematics, or other IoT devices sense and monitor the movement and condition of shipments in real time. These technologies provide visibility into the status and location of shipments throughout the transportation process. Shippers can proactively address any shipment issues or exceptions that arise.
9. Use risk-based decision-making. Leverage data analytics, predictive modeling, and proactive measures to identify, assess, prioritize, and mitigate risks that can impact supply chain visibility.
10. Collaborate with suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders. Gain insights about sustainable practices. By working closely with suppliers and promoting transparency, organizations gain visibility into supplier operations, enabling them to assess sustainability performance and make informed sourcing decisions.
SOURCE: Ken Sherman, President, IntelliTrans