Leveraging technology to fully control the supply chain process will foster your business’ capability to minimise risks associated with a lack of transparency. Having authority in every stage, no matter how minor, will also increase profitability and improve customer satisfaction.
Even with all the benefits of integrating technology, many industries continue to handle supply chain tasks manually. In fact, because the businesses in the supply chain process still rely on spreadsheets and phone calls, it’s difficult to provide clear supply chain transparency that could boost processes.
In this article, we’ll explore how businesses can eliminate manual supply chain management and, thus, reap the benefits of transparent information sharing via supply chain visibility.
What are the issues related to supply chain visibility?
The supply chain network involves upstream and downstream flows of products, services, finances, and information from multiple businesses. Since numerous enterprises are involved, complexities often arise unexpectedly at multiple steps.
There is intense competition between industries and increasing complexity among delivery models around the world. Therefore, it’s high time businesses develop a systematic supply chain to reduce operational costs, improve customer satisfaction, and gain a competitive advantage.
Fortunately, gaining visibility into the supply chain allows businesses to handle such complexities easily and stay ahead of their competitors in the market.
Let’s talk about the issues that clear supply chain visibility can help with:
Lack of real-time data on supply chain operations
Businesses that lack real-time data over their supply chain operations are negatively impacting themselves. Without any visibility on the movement of their goods, they will continue to remain in the dark about recent updates and changes to the current situation. In addition, they won’t be able to monitor the delivery or pinpoint any issues that arise immediately either.
This makes supply chain visibility an empowering system that allows businesses to gain real-time data transparency into their supply chain flows. Compared to the periodic manual checking by managers or stakeholders, this system can save time, resources, and money while keeping everyone accountable.
Poor communication between stakeholders
When multiple stakeholders manually communicate with one another, they might miss important details in all the back-and-forth. When all the relevant information is on one single platform and easily accessible by everyone involved, it moves things along faster and reduces errors.
Supply chain visibility essentially places all vital information in a single location for these businesses. Integrated information not only makes it easier to access any important data but also improves communication between stakeholders.
Fragmented supply chain management systems
Businesses that still manage their supply chain manually use various unconnected platforms to complete a single task, such as spreadsheets, phone calls, and emails. Managing supply chains in this manner increases the risk of having unorganised data flows.
Instead, when they utilise a single system to handle the entire supply chain, they can manage all the duties associated with supply chain operations.
As we mentioned above, the supply chain involves numerous organisations and corporations. Typically, each firm handles its respective sections of the supply chain cycle, and without monitoring, they may transfer their tasks to third parties, resulting in unauthorised subcontracting.
Unauthorised subcontracting has the potential to disrupt the entire supply chain process. When one party does this, the other partners involved in the cycle lose control of the products and information flows.
Why is supply chain visibility important?
Lack of visibility within supply chain cycles frustrates all parties involved. Businesses will be less agile since they will be unsure of their product delivery status. On the other hand, customers who want to be able to track their orders in real-time will not be able to do so either.
That’s one of the reasons incorporating visibility capabilities into the supply chain process is critical — it significantly reduces product or service delivery challenges. But, most importantly, it allows organisations to improve customer satisfaction. This, in turn, improves customer retention and boosts loyalty which is beneficial for the business in the long run.
In the following sections, we will discuss how visibility can benefit enterprises involved in the supply chain process in various ways.
Financial benefits from supply chain visibility are one aspect that businesses must consider. Predictive insights from high visibility into the supply chain ecosystem enable businesses to streamline their operational costs.
Furthermore, predictive insights will enable businesses to gain a larger market share. Businesses that can consistently dominate one market of the same industry will automatically have higher profitability, sustaining them in the long run.
CFOs of businesses, in particular, will be thrilled to know of the financial benefits that entail with a visibility platform, such as:
- Lower transportation costs and fuel consumption
- Decrease freight accruals and exceptions-related costs
- Reduce late delivery penalties
- Reduce customer service or call centre costs
- Accelerate invoicing with ePODs
- Cash flow improvements
Other than financial benefits, there’s a whole non-exhaustive list of benefits when it comes to implementing a suitable technology that improves supply chain transparency for the business.
Visibility into the supply chain process allows organisations to stay updated on products or services and information flows. The resulting ability to control the operation will allow them to quickly detect if something is wrong.
The sooner they detect a problem, the sooner they can avoid further disruption. As a result, businesses are more resilient to supply chain challenges such as increased transportation costs, workforce shortages, and slow communication chains.
- Improved productivity and asset management
- Enhanced operational performance in first, mid, and last mile deliveries
- Synchronous exchange of information between customers, 3PL, and carriers and enhanced collaboration
- Faster integration of approved subcontractors and their existing systems and processes
- Improved performance management of subcontractors or external carriers
- Improved resource utilisation route optimisation and dynamic driver scheduling
- Increased precision in business reviews with customers
- Global visibility across all local or regional business units through accurate reporting
Obtaining visibility over the supply chain means businesses can anticipate the occurrence of errors during the process of delivering goods or services to customers. This has resulted in businesses having the ability to consistently offer good service quality to customers.
Shippers, for instance, can transport goods faster as they have visibility into logistics personnel and can distribute work efficiently. On the other hand, customers benefit from visibility into the supply chain since it allows them to check their order statuses in real-time, so they know when to expect their products to arrive.
- Deliver outstanding customer experience with shipment status updates and proactively communicate potential delays, leading to better loyalty, sales, and profits
- The customer booking portal provides a seamless experience when placing an order.
Obtaining visibility over the supply chain means businesses can anticipate any errors and fix them quickly during the process of delivering goods or services to customers. This has resulted in businesses having the ability to maintain good service quality to customers.
Shippers, for instance, can transport goods faster as they have visibility into logistics personnel and can distribute work efficiently. Similarly, customers benefit immensely from visibility into the supply chain since it allows them to check their order statuses in real-time, so they know when to expect their products.
How does supply chain visibility benefit others involved in the business?
The supply chain cycle involves numerous organisations working in different fields other than the primary business itself. Undoubtedly, transparency in transportation and logistics will need to benefit the different players in the process in different ways.
Let’s explore how bringing visibility into the supply chain process benefits shippers, 3PL providers, and transportation companies:
Shippers, brand owners, and manufacturers are the first parties in the supply chain cycle, so they want the goods they provide to arrive safely to end users.
Without visibility in shipment status, shipping delays go unnoticed until customers complain, damaging the brand’s reputation and potentially resulting in penalties. When companies can monitor the movement of goods in real-time, they can also provide clear status updates to their customers. In addition, with real-time data, companies can adjust their order fulfilment plan on the go, mitigating potential delays and ensuring goods can still reach customers safely and on time.
3PL providers / Freight forwarders
3PL providers are parties trusted by shippers to handle the movement of goods. They manage the warehousing, packing, and shipping of the goods to the final destination.
Due to the amount of communication and coordination that goes into a shipment, it can be time-consuming for 3PLs and their carriers to manually assign delivery orders and verify when deliveries are completed. In addition, shipping documents may get lost or become illegible when handled by many people. All this friction can be mitigated when all this information is visible to all involved parties in one single place. A good visibility platform enables the effective exchange of critical information alongside a collaboration tool between different teams. As a result, they can deliver goods on time and earn the trust of their clients.
3PLs that lack the ability to measure carrier performance in a timely manner cannot optimise processes or avoid costs (such as late penalties) associated with inefficiency. A performance dashboard with daily order fulfilment data would help 3PLs evaluate their carriers’ performance and optimise whenever necessary to meet customer demands.
Transportation companies / Trucking companies
Trucking companies are the parties in charge of delivering goods from one point to another. The supply chain cycle is very dependent on them because their role is directly related to ‘moving’ and ‘transporting’ the provided goods.
Without real-time updates about potential delays or early arrivals, loading and unloading at warehouses can cause trucks to remain at docks longer than they should. These result in added costs for transportation companies. Having visibility helps these companies stay informed about their drivers and remove hiccups while shipping goods. They can also take immediate corrective actions if problems occur while drivers are out on the road (i.e., reassigning tasks to other drivers or sending technicians to fix broken-down vehicles).
What can businesses do with supply chain visibility?
The most recent supply chain visibility innovation takes transparency to a new level. As a result, businesses can streamline their collaboration and communication with their partners with accurate monitoring of their entire process.
Here’s what Accenture has to say about how businesses can utilise supply chain visibility:
Monitoring entails collecting and analysing data that indicates the status and performance of the supply chain in real-time. It is such an essential activity in the supply chain that it is considered a control tower since it uses and incorporates real-time data from business partners such as suppliers and logistics providers.
Predicting is the second stage, which involves using real-time analytics derived from monitoring to generate projections about the future conditions of the supply chain. Businesses typically rely on this stage to forecast potential issues with delivery orders allowing them to offer fixes or mitigate problems as soon as possible.
Prescribing entails recommending actions based on supply chain signals and algorithmic decision-making. These recommendations are derived from monitoring to capitalise on opportunities while minimising disruptions. Businesses, for instance, would use prescriptive visibility to design the most efficient re-routing of in-transit supply to different locations to save time and resources.
The ultimate result of the preceding actions mentioned above is autonomous execution. At this point, businesses can use AI, machine learning, or robotic automation to automate their supply chain operations. Businesses can then act independently on real-time signals to maximise opportunities and minimise disruptions.
Examples of supply chain visibility
We’ve talked a lot about supply chain visibility, so now let us show you how businesses can practically use this technology in their day-to-day operations:
Shipment status includes several critical components, including real-time fleet locations, predictive ETAs, and automated delivery notifications. Businesses can use it to take immediate corrective action in the event of a disruption. They can also use this shipment update to improve their route planning and ultimately deliver goods faster to meet the demands of last-mile operations.
Cost and compliance
Cost and compliance relate to how businesses gain visibility over their documentation. When it comes to pricing, total supply chain visibility can help businesses offer transparent rates to both customers and carriers.
On the other hand, compliance capability enables them to generate critical shipping documents that improve transparency for all parties involved, such as consignment notes, pro forma invoices, and ePODs.
Gaining visibility into operational performance empowers businesses to scale their operations and compete in the market. Typically, a supply chain visibility platform would provide analytics of on-time deliveries rate, fleet utilisation, and more.
Supply chain visibility trends in 2022
Many businesses are moving towards automating their supply chain management in 2022. This is because the current market and stiff competition demand they implement exception innovation in their business to stay ahead of the curve.
Here are some new and important innovations in supply chain technology to consider implementing:
Smart warehousing is when businesses implement the Internet of Things (IoT) inside their warehouse operations. This innovative tech boosts visibility across warehouse assets and personnel, ultimately increasing successful and faster order fulfilment.
Smart warehousing allows warehouse managers to determine when employees have completed their tasks without the need for manual reporting. It also lets them track the movement of goods and assets to keep disruption to a minimum.
End-to-end analytics ensure continuous information flows throughout the supply chain, removing data fragmentation challenges.
Businesses can vastly improve supply chain visibility by integrating all critical data into a single digital network. By relying on data-driven analytics, predictive analytics, and proactive supply chain actions derived from end-to-end analytics, they can ultimately provide a convenient omnichannel shopping experience to customers.
Digitised supply chain network
Connecting vital data into a single Digitised Supply Network (DSN) is critical for businesses to be able to manage and govern their supply chain. Businesses will benefit from enhanced visibility across the entire supply chain cycle that a DSN brings, particularly during the current trend of omnichannel market offerings.
Furthermore, implementing a digitised supply network enables businesses to meet the high expectations of how supply chains should function. A DSN will centrally link information and decisions from other network nodes, flows, suppliers, partners, and customers.
How can supply chain transparency help your business?
By now, you’ve understood that bringing visibility to supply chain operations is critical for businesses to be able to maintain a competitive advantage in today’s market. The resulting transparency holds everyone involved accountable, which is something businesses can use to their benefit.
If you’ve been struggling with manual management of your supply chain process, then we’d like to help you integrate a digital supply chain model that improves transparency for your business. We are confident that our capabilities will enable you to gain a more efficient supply chain operation, increasing your market share in the long run.
Please feel free to contact us for a demo to show you Yojee in action. Our team will work with you to identify your core business needs and how Yojee’s offering can boost your process — increasing profits, improving customer satisfaction, and reducing the number of problems in the long run.
Helping businesses overcome their complex supply chain challenges has always been Yojee’s core value. We connect land freight players through our proprietary platform, providing supply chain visibility and enabling seamless communication between shippers and their customers.
Since our founding in 2016, we have worked alongside the world’s largest 3PLs, global freight forwarders, transportation companies, and brand owners to develop logistics solutions that meet their first-mile and last-mile delivery needs.
How Yojee stands out from other logistics providers is our multi-carrier management feature, which allows collaboration between land freight players to meet demands. Coupled with our last mile delivery app for drivers, logistics providers can now efficiently move freight from point A to point B with optimal resource usage. We do all this with one goal in mind: fewer carbon emissions and sustainability.