In the changing conditions that supply chains must react to, plus the evolving technology available, visibility is an area of advancement that is here to stay. It’s risen to the list of top concerns of supply chain professionals, and more shippers are investing in visibility solutions to manage the details of their freight.
But how important is it to have the functionality that visibility provides, like predicting and responding to disruptions? Increasingly, these functions are leaving the “nice-to-have” category and entering the realm of table stakes, and we can see that with the challenges that shippers encounter without them. As supply chain visibility becomes increasingly essential, we have three simple tips shippers should use as a starting point for addressing their visibility challenges.
Why is Supply Chain Visibility Important, and What are the Benefits?
Situations often arise where something totally preventable happens, and things go wrong. After trying to rectify the situation, you analyze what information and tools you have to ensure it doesn’t happen again. In this case, supply chain technology is the tool that shippers have that supplies data and supports processes to avoid problems before they occur. Visibility tools can come in the form of traditional supply chain visibility solutions or additional functionality that can cover details such as:
- Container tracking
- Cargo conditions
- Booking and container allocation
- Carbon emissions.
These tools don’t just offer added data; they allow shippers to get insight to drive decisions.
Part of the reason visibility is becoming increasingly important is that this type of solution is for more than just long-term business goals. It’s also for businesses that have immediate obstacles they need a solution for, like time-consuming processes, high transportation spend, or customer retention problems.
Preparing for disruption and risk are two planning-intensive objectives. It can be easy to forget the likelihood or frequency of these problems occurring — until a shipment gets delayed. Knowing about it sooner would have given you time for a calculated response. Having immediate insight to make informed decisions is a significant advantage that is only possible through a supply chain visibility solution.
This is what supply chain visibility comes down to — having the tools to set goals in the following four categories, backed by data to drive decisions:
- Respond to new demands accurately.
- Increase the speed of the response.
- Increase agility to adapt and take on new challenges.
- Limit disruptions, risks, and repercussions.
Challenges of Supply Chain Data
Supply chain visibility is not simply data. Supply chain visibility is not simply data. The biggest obstacles often come from having too little or too much data and needing to know what to do with it. Too little information may be a problem of not having the necessary data sources in place, like container tracking, or the data cannot be easily shared where it’s needed, creating data silos. There is a delicate balance between too little visibility and providing information indiscriminately. Too much data requires a visibility solution to comb through and extract meaning from the data. Lastly, the organization must have the procedures to use the data, like the processes of receiving updates and alerts and the steps to take. Visibility solutions handle these challenges and remove the friction associated with organizations chasing after the data themselves.
Tips to Improve Supply Chain Visibility
To avoid the challenges of visibility data, consider the following tips for fully utilizing the data available.
Rely on the Latest Technology
Visibility providers invest in the latest developments and stay on top of evolving trends to provide the most optimal solutions possible in terms of functionality and ease of use.
Connect Data Sources via API
Interoperability is essential, allowing information to be shared and breaking down silos. APIs are a user-friendly method of ensuring the necessary data is available without complex implementations required.
Work with Companies that have Other Visibility Partnerships
As evidenced by the range of data sources available, visibility is broader than a single category, like container allocation or carbon emissions. Look for trusted partnerships with other data sources to help build up complete visibility.
Expand Your Supply Chain Visibility with Container Tracking
Supply chain visibility isn’t only important for the competitive advantages it brings. It’s also crucial for addressing the daily challenges that shippers face without it. With container tracking visibility, shippers can respond more quickly by having their cargo’s real-time location and status and address opportunities like reducing detention and demurrage charges. VIZION provides the visibility for shippers to achieve their short and long-term goals to get data-driven results, all from an easy API. To learn more about visibility through VIZION, reach out to us today to book a demo.