A Guide On Supply Chain Visibility (With Types And Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 8 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A company that diligently monitors the supply chain performance often finds it easier to meet the demands of its customers while also improving its operations consistently. Managing the various components of a supply chain becomes a simpler task when an organisation develops strategies related to improving the visibility of its supply chain effectively. Exploring supply chain visibility (SCV) and learning about its importance helps you enhance the supply network system of the organisation for which you work.

In this article, we discuss what SCV is, explain its benefits and share steps on how you can enhance the visibility of the supply chain at an organisation successfully.

What Is Supply Chain Visibility?

Supply chain visibility (SCV) is a process in which organisations monitor the supply chain movements throughout their entire supply chain. Several organisations follow their supply chain in a way that begins with the supplier and ends at the production facility. Companies can also monitor the movements starting from a production facility and ending on a customer. By doing this, you can adjust the operations to overcome obstacles related to the supply chain to ensure timely deliveries. Both physical and digital systems help monitor this process.

SCV is a way for companies to know the real-time status and location of their assets across the supply chain. It can help them obtain information regarding the location of their ships, trucks, containers and trailers and learn about the location of the involved cargo. With the evolution of data science techniques and visibility technology, the science behind SCV has improved tremendously. In addition, organisations can use advanced machine learning techniques and artificial intelligence (AI) technology for this process.

Related: What Is A Supply Chain? (With Supply Chain Types And Steps)

Who Uses SCV?

Using software and advanced technologies to improve the visibility of the supply chain has become extremely common across many industries. Several individuals in a company make use of it as a part of their daily operations. Some positions responsible for monitoring the supply network are:

  • Account executives

  • Plant managers

  • Material buyers

  • Production supervisors

  • Inventory managers

  • Procurement associates

  • Shipping and receiving associates

  • Customer service representatives

Related: How To Highlight Essential Skills For A Supply Chain Resume

Types Of SCV

Depending on the company and industry involved, different areas might require different visibility throughout the supply chain. Below are some of the different types of SCV:

Cargo location

One of the most crucial things that SCV helps you monitor is the cargo's location and shipment status. Determining the current location status of an order enables you to schedule the delivery, repurchase the required items, stay updated regarding the payments and inform the stakeholders about the status of the different goods and materials. This not only boosts the company's operational efficiency but also allows the customers to trust the company more, as they can monitor their order from when it departs from the warehouse until it reaches their doorstep.

Related: 8 Supply Chain Software Tools (With Features And Tips)

Auditing records

Some accurate records to have better visibility of the supply chain include proper documentation of the freight activities and details regarding the previous transactions. Through these steps, you can review, inspect and validate all the orders you completed to date. When an organisation operates across numerous countries, SCV becomes especially crucial so they can comply with the rules more easily.

Rates

The transportation of the cargo and the associated expenses fall under the rates related to SCV. This gives you a clear understanding of how much the company is spending on shipping and deliveries. Although this process is more straightforward when a business is just starting out, it becomes more complicated as they grow as they may have more shipments, carriers and fulfilment locations to monitor. A proper SCV setup can help calculate production cycle expenses and conduct a cost-benefit analysis.

Related: A Complete Guide To Different Types Of Freight Charges

Importance Of Supply Chain Visibility

Many companies actively monitor their supply chain networks to ensure proper delivery to their customers. Some additional reasons to improve the visibility of the supply chain include:

Supervise complex supply chains

Supply chains often include multiple vendors, suppliers, customers and production facilities. When you can monitor every component of the supply chain, you can also moderate and adjust the components to fulfil the customer's demands and business requirements successfully. For instance, when you have numerous material suppliers, you can track how each supplier is performing to determine the supply trends related to quantity, quality and timely deliveries.

Related: Jobs In Supply Chain Management (With Salaries And Skills)

Enhance delivery timelines

One of the integral components of customer satisfaction is to ensure that customers receive their orders on time. SCV has an important role in this and helps you identify any operational inefficiency that may affect the timeline. To resolve this issue, the company can assign more resources to align the supply chain with the designated timelines.

For instance, there may be a situation where the current supplies of a company fall behind when compared to the production demand. In such situations, you can contact the material suppliers to request the delivery of more items. This can help you to meet the production demands and also keep the customers happy via timely deliveries.

Related: What Are Logistics Skills? (Importance And Examples)

Boost regulatory compliance

Companies sometimes have a global supply of networks. As a result, it is important that they can monitor every stage of the supply chain to ensure that it follows all the regulations diligently. This can increase the possibility of the products and supplies arriving per the designated due dates. Some essential regulations that organisations can ensure adhering, can include tariffs, procurement rules and country trade agreements.

For instance, you might be a company that sources its lumber materials from a different country. If you wish to ensure that you pay the tariffs in full, staying updated with the governmental tariffs linked to importing raw lumber is essential. This helps you avoid any delays and hold-ups of the material the company is importing.

Raises competitive advantage

Regularly monitoring supply chains can help companies quickly identify and mitigate any network obstacles. This helps the companies to deliver the products to the market quickly, which can ensure the products reach the customers on time. As customers get satisfied with the company's timely deliveries, it can foster long-lasting professional relationships and can help increase the base of loyal customers. The expenditure associated with transportation, warehousing and production reduces significantly when companies identify and plan strategies to avert possible supply chain obstacles in advance.

Tips To Improve The Visibility Of Supply Chains

There are several ways in which a company can enhance its visibility of the supply chain to improve its delivery timelines and control supply chain costs. Some tips to improve SCV include:

Utilise SCV technology

By incorporating SCV technology, companies can efficiently manage different components of a supply chain. While specific programmes focus on monitoring the entire supply chain, others pay attention to the individual steps, such as inventory management and warehouse management. You can also monitor the supply chain trends, such as delivery timelines and schedules to ensure improving efficiency.

Related: 8 Inventory Management Software Solutions (With Benefits)

Determine supply chain improvements

When you identify the areas for improvement in the supply chain, it can help you boost the performance of the supply chain. For instance, if the company automates some portions of the supply chain, it helps to reduce errors and improve the speed of the process. When the system creates shipping documentation automatically, there is a decrease in the errors associated with documentation, increasing the success of the deliveries. This can minimise associated costs and increase customer satisfaction.

Revisit and alter supply chain strategies

As it is always imperative to stay updated on the latest trends, it is helpful to be dynamic about its supply chain strategies. This can make it easier to adapt to the changing requirements of the supply chain. When you evaluate and alter the supply chain strategies, you often enhance the supply chain efficiency and its visibility.

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