How to Improve Supply Chain Visibility
Here are five essential steps to help your company heighten the visibility of your supply chain.
Supply chain management can be a pressing challenge for many manufacturing companies, irrespective of their size. This is mainly due to the intense complexity and opacity brought about by a continually changing business environment. Knowing the present status of every component within the process is crucial for controlling disruption, handling costs, delivering goods and services to customers, and generating profit for the organization. As a result, achieving visibility across the supply chain has shifted to one of the most critical strategic priorities for businesses today. This post briefly covers supply chain visibility and some common steps for attaining better visibility across your enterprise.
What is Supply Chain Visibility?
Supply chain visibility is the availability of a clear view of every tier of the supply chain, tracking raw materials right through production and assembly into finished goods as they travel from provider to manufacturer and then to consumer. It gives an insight into the company’s internal processes, as well as operations that occur within its greater partner network. The advantage of making this information available is that all business stakeholders are kept informed and updated, especially in times of difficulty and disruption.
It is enabled by technology such as enterprise resource planning software, which gives real-time data related to logistics and other aspects of your supply chain. With this data, companies can better maneuver around inventory shortages, steer clear of bottlenecks and malfunctions that may impede development, meet compliance directives, and track products through to delivery. Improved end-to-end visibility enables increased collaboration between providers and purchasers, leading to more control over supply chain operations, higher customer satisfaction, and greater profits.
Types of Supply Chain Visibility
The requirements for achieving supply chain visibility differ greatly based on the industry. While there is a need to track individual components in some cases, traceability and visibility requirements involve much more than locating the physical movement and status of products. There are various types of visibility vital to adopting a total supply chain digital transformation:
Demand and supply visibility
Supply chain activities visibility
5 Steps to Improve Supply Chain Visibility
Here are five basic steps to help your company heighten the visibility of your supply chain:
✅ Identify Existing Complications
Now, the first step is to do some actual digging. Identify the main pain points that can be eliminated from increased visibility. Arrange meetings with departments within the company and key suppliers to understand the bottlenecks. Subsequently, get to the root cause through process flow mapping. To many manufacturing and distribution organizations, inventory management is deemed a pain point worthy of attention. However, this may not be true for every manufacturing company. So, carry out your research, review the data, and determine which area to deal with first.
✅ Define Strategic Objectives and Expectations
After identifying the pain points, the following step is forming a clear action plan. Supply chain leaders must take in problems and prioritize them as per the firm’s strategic objectives. During the formulation of this plan, evaluate customer expectations, business priorities, and supply chain visibility advantages that can be enjoyed. Find out if speed-to-market is to be given precedence over risk management. Depending on these preferences, design a strategic plan, decide on accountability, create teams to execute them, and set timelines for objectives. Last but not least, communicate the program with internal and external stakeholders.
✅ Keep Open Communication Within the Network
To achieve accurate visibility, you’ll need to collaborate with your network. Begin collaborating or partnering with providers, third-party logistics service suppliers, retailers, and so on. Building robust and lasting work relationships can help streamline the information flow across the supply chain, resulting in improved visibility. Also, collaborate with competitors or businesses at the same level of the supply chain.
This also involves setting some collaboration objectives that can help achieve more visibility across the supply chain. For instance, better communication with vendors and business partners via integrated communication platforms. In addition, the accumulation and management of a higher volume of data with business partners to find out market trends. The goals also include sharing best practices to boost mutual growth and resources in the supply chain, such as logistic routes, warehouse space, etc., to increase visibility, sustainability, and efficiency.
✅ Invest in the Right Technology
After the action plan for supply chain visibility is in place, it is time to make a financial investment. There is a need to have a sophisticated system that delivers powerful data analytics, enabling your business to track each stage of their supply chain in real time and report on the discovered information.
A modern, cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can help businesses make their business processes smooth-running and automate major functions. In addition, an ERP solution can add structure as well as visibility to the supply chain. In addition, cloud ERP software helps manufacturers deliver better customer experiences, gain insight into operations, respond to flexibility, and build a resilient supply chain. While selecting your ERP software, make sure you pick one that offers robust supply chain management capabilities.
✅ Measure Progress and Make Improvement
You'll only know the value of an improvement if you're measuring it. Measure the effect of your efforts by determining key performance indicators (KPIs) and through systems designed to evaluate data to obtain useful insights. Maintain open communication with your collaborative partners to share routine progress reports. In addition, supply chain managers should understand that increasing supply chain visibility is a process that demands continual improvement. So, periodically review performance against KPIs and repeat the procedure as required.
The level of visibility a manufacturing company has in its supply chain can spell success or failure for the business. Having insights into the status and movement of raw materials, finished items, delivered orders, and returned products is vital for a business's efficiency and long-term financial success. To leverage the advantages of end-to-end visibility, companies must invest in next-generation technology and work with all stakeholders to make operations more successful, enabling greater productivity and decreased costs.
Kwixand Solutions Can Transform Your Supply Chain
If you're looking to transform your business operations and supply chain and gain end-to-end supply chain visibility, the team at Kwixand Solutions can help. Based in Vancouver, Canada, we are a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Partner, and ERP consultancy that helps manufacturers across Canada and USA digitally transform and achieve their long-term business goals. Book a free consultation today or drop us a line at email@example.com