Why Supply Chain Visibility Is Vital to Company Success

If you manage or help coordinate a logistics operation, you likely wear many hats throughout the workweek to keep things running smoothly.

Your role might require you to keep track of an inventory, confer with carriers, optimize shipping methods and routes, monitor performance reports and activity, and apply management skills to move efficiencies into action.

But while you might only see yourself as aiding in transportation management, you also have the potential to affect the outcome of an entire business. Delivery issues and product damages, unkempt financial records, missed claims, faulty customer service, and many other logistics complications can seep into other departments and impact a business’s bottom line.

How you handle transportation challenges can influence customer relations, sales, purchasing, finance, and other core areas of your company.

This is why visibility is such a key issue in business management and most recently in the management of supply chains. An incomplete view of activity within a company’s transportation department will always lead to missed opportunities in monetary savings and overall growth.

Introducing transparency throughout all aspects of your business–starting with the supply chain–will bring about remarkable results.

How can supply chain visibility make a business more competitive?

Transparency in the logistics industry means obtaining a lens that permits a balanced view of interconnected transportation activity. From shipping practices and freight spend to carrier relations and forecasting, you’ll need to monitor all operations to judge the current and future state of your supply chain. Once this is achieved, it’s up to company decision makers and their transportation consultants to find ways to translate what’s observed into techniques that mitigate risks across all areas of the chain.

New efficiencies including automation and accountability measures will ensure that time, money, and valuable personnel are not wasted both in the short- and long-term. These chances to refine logistics operations over time will leave other areas of a business open for improvement, which leads to smarter decisions for shareholders and increased competitive standing and reputation.

With the help of an advanced TMS and an invested 3PL partner, a business can see improvements in:

  • Sales: Accurate profit margins and cost of goods sold can help a sales team better estimate the total cost of closing a deal.
  • Customer service: A high-performing customer service team has access to more resources and shipping process details, allowing them to be proactive and better serve customers.
  • Finance: Financial reporting and accurate invoices will permit easy spend tracking, claim mitigation, and segmented freight analysis.
  • Management: With full supply chain visibility, C-level executives can obtain a clearer understanding of company operations and pull KPIs to make informed adjustments in spend.

How can a transportation team take the first step?

With materials for products coming in from multiple suppliers, retailers charging fees for late deliveries, and pressure on your team to keep personnel at a minimum level, it may seem difficult to reach the required level of visibility that allows you to make real logistics improvements. But investing in the right tools will fuel the proactive approach to transportation management that will let you get a grip on these moving pieces and begin company-wide efficiency adoption.

The first step is selecting appropriate team members who have the time to closely watch current processes and begin to recommend corrective actions. For many companies, these people come in the form of a team of dedicated third-party logistics experts. You’ll also need the right technology to keep track of the data flowing through your supply chain, and for today’s modern manufacturer, transportation management software must offer multiple modules and a clean, customizable user experience.

The combination of these two logistics solutions will put your company on the path to true supply chain transparency and business success. Does your company promote transparency? Ask your internal transportation team, your current third-party partner, and your carriers what they’re doing to enforce honest visibility and invest in future enhancements to highlight room for improvement.

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