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Why Is Supply Chain Visibility So Important?

Today’s business world is increasingly obsessed with transparency in all parts of the market, from B2Bs to B2Cs.

Shining lights in the darkest corners and bringing visibility to intricate workings like supply chains are vital to the success of companies both large and small. But why is something so boring and basic as supply chain visibility that important? Does anyone really care where packages start or how they flow to their end points?

Supply Chain Visibility is More Than Moving Boxes

It might seems like supply chain visibility is an obsession with moving freight, but there’s a lot more to the supply chain than just packages on the go. Those items originate from somewhere, they travel through many hands in some cases and for some businesses, this information can be quite useful.

Here are just a few ways supply chain visibility can affect your company:

  • Detect ethics issues right away. You may not give a lot of thought to how your suppliers product their merchandise, but then again, maybe you do. Business owners in the fashion sector, especially, may want to know that their clothing lines weren’t produced by factories with inhuman working conditions. Others may insist on products only made in America. Without transparency, you’d never know for certain where those products truly originated.
  • Early alerts for supply-related issues. Sometimes things go horribly wrong and production breaks down, items are entirely too popular and manufacturers sell out or a product that was supposed to be delivered by Christmas just isn’t going to make the deadline.Supply chain visibility makes it possible for you to see these problems coming, search other suppliers for any lingering inventory and move what you can into your own warehouse as quickly as possible. It’s a nasty surprise to find out that you’re not getting that truckload of this year’s hottest Christmas gift on the night before Black Friday.
  • Keep your business one step ahead. Above all else, supply chain visibility gives you an advantage when it comes to your customer-facing business. When you know where your products are in the order fulfillment process, you can pass that information to customers who are eagerly awaiting their packages using tools like customer web portals. It might seem like a small thing, but these little details can put you a step ahead of the competition. Even if you can’t necessarily match them for shipping speed, knowing where a package is and when it’ll arrive will keep a lot of your customers happy enough to stick around.

Supply chain visibility helps everyone. From your warehouse to your pickers, packers and shippers to your customers, knowing what’s ahead can help you all plan your days and weeks as efficiently as possible. Transparency and data have transformed third-party logistics services and will continue to help push big changes in the years to come.

November 29, 2017
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