The Value of Supply Chain Invisibility
Ray Scott, EOD Partner and Pat Murphy, EOD Partner
With increasing customer demand for fast response, smaller order quantities, and status information, the need for visibility throughout your supply chain is also increasing. Your customers and internal departments need the best delivery information you can provide. And if you don't have timely information, you may need to hold expensive levels of inventory to provide the service levels required to maintain and grow your business.
To improve supply chain visibility, you need to proactively improve communication across suppliers, logistics providers, and customers. This can be as simple as a weekly phone conference, or as complex as a direct link to your supplier's IT system. The key is to obtain accurate status information (raw material availability, production schedules, shipment dates, carrier progress) when needed, so that you can manage your internal activities appropriately. You can also provide up-to-date information to your key customers to improve their service and profitability.
A key tool to improve end-to-end supply chain visibility is the Internet of Things (IoT). Very briefly, this includes all web-enabled devices and systems such as GPS, supplier portals, RFID tags, temperature sensors, and traffic reporting. Gartner forecasts that over 25 billion sensor devices will be connected to the IoT by 2020. Coupled with purpose-built IT applications, this data can dramatically enhance your ability to manage information.
The demand for improved visibility and real-time status will increase as we move forward. Many tools are available today that simply did not exist five years ago. Take advantage of the technology to better serve your customers.
Lack of visibility is only one barrier to effective management of your supply chain. Take a minute to look at these other issues , and rate your organization on each.