How important is supply chain visibility data? Many organizations put supply chain visibility high on their list of tech-enabled areas of improvement. According to a 2022 market survey report by Tive, 80% of shippers want to improve their connectivity and visibility throughout their supply chains. Building supply chain visibility relies on an organization expanding its capabilities to receive more data — internally and from other sources — and organizing this data in a way that can be easily understood to translate into action. Therefore, a big piece of improving visibility is having access to enough data.
If we consider a different type of data process, machine learning, as an analogy, there are two possible sources of issues: the data or the algorithm. The algorithm equates to the method of managing the supply chain. Assuming the data they’re working with is good, organizations must have the right approach to responding to the supply chain data to be successful. However, if the data is unreliable, there is no chance of taking the correct course of action every time a problem arises, especially if they do not know the problem due to insufficient data.
Insufficient data is one of the most common reasons for problems with machine learning, and the same is true for supply chains. Data visibility is a crucial component of a robust supply chain.
What Does It Mean to Have Supply Chain Visibility Data?
Data can come from anywhere, so what visibility data are we referring to? The first type of visibility issue deals with data within the organization already. The problem is improving access to this data. Every supply chain has moving pieces that can operate smoothly (provided no disruptions occur). However, one aspect of the supply chain doesn’t automatically have insight into the status of another aspect. As a result, a data silo problem exists, caused by multiple systems and no single source of truth. The answer is a centralized visibility solution.
The second type of visibility problem is an organization lacking access to other kinds of data. Utilizing outside sources of data can solve this issue. Like the first case, the data is brought together on a centralized system that can support processes and workflows without siloes.
There are many types of visibility data available for shippers to integrate, including:
- Container tracking
- Cargo conditions
- Booking and container allocation
- Carbon emissions
These types of outside data build up a shipper’s visibility where it is lacking. They must integrate with the shipper’s existing system to remove all friction related to accessing the data. If any data source cannot integrate where needed in the users’ workflows, this would be as inefficient as a shipper having two transportation management systems to cover all their functionality needs and asking users to switch between the two systems to complete a workflow. Yet this is similar to what happens too often — users must consult a separate system for a particular data set.
In short, having visibility data means having sufficient data from additional sources where it’s needed and having easy access to that data.
The Biggest Challenges Caused By Insufficient Visibility Data
Without sufficient data to keep shippers informed, this gap leads to difficulties for the supply chain. Among the most significant effects of a lack of visibility data are an inability to:
- Respond quickly to changing supply and demand.
- Anticipate risk.
- Maintain a proactive approach, not reactive.
- Offer customers certain services.
The consequences of these challenges can take many forms. There is a waste of time and money caused by errors and inefficiency in making correct decisions. Some proactive strategies simply aren’t possible with data to back them up. Then there are the effects seen by the customer, which may include unreliability, fewer on-time and in-full deliveries, and limited services that would stem from visibility.
When shippers adopt solutions to increase the reach of their visibility, they increase the information they can rely on for making critical decisions. This gives the ability to:
- Reduce errors
- Decrease risk
- Reduce response times
- Increase productivity for users
- Identify cost-saving measures
- Minimize the effects of disruptions
- Address root causes of issues
- Provide quality customer service
Get the Benefits of Container Visibility Data Through VIZION
Container tracking data is one type of visibility to which more shippers need easy access. Some carriers provide information on the status of shipments but accessing this information can be a time-consuming process where the data is not always up to date. Getting accurate container updates through VIZION allows shippers, BCOs, and NVOCCs to save time and reduce costs, including fees from detention and demurrage. Take advantage of the visibility data available by reaching out to us today to book a demo.