Reinventing Towards A Smarter Supply Chain

Posted by Marian
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Logistics and the supply chain have to go through countless evolutions and innovations to provide better results for customers. The main goal of reinvention is to provide a smarter and sharper supply chain that provides quick and easy solutions for people.

People from different fields see supply chain visibility from different angles, usually based on how it fits into their activities. Some believe it’s simply a track and trace activity, others, with a technological mindset, believe supply chain visibility is all about business intelligence and inventory levels.

Although all of the above are elements of leaping towards a smarter and more visible supply chain are correct but it is broader than that.

TransparenCy In The Supply Chain

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Currently, there is still a big, crappy data quality problem in supply chain management. The majority of companies are struggling with capturing accurate and timely data from their supply chain partners.

So what’s the point of getting visibility in your supply chain?

Below I’ve listed some of the benefits of a transparent supply chain:

  • Identify bottlenecks
  • Identify process improvement opportunities
  • Be able to react to unexpected problems in a timely manner
  • Management by exception
  • Reduce overhead to manage your supply chain
  • Improve on-time delivery and reduce lead times
  • Become more reliable and responsive
  • Increase customer satisfaction
  • Reduce transportation costs
  • Improve carrier performance
  • Reduce lead time variances

By monitoring and measuring all parts of your supply chain you will have a clear view of what’s going on. The idea of getting sufficient, trustworthy data can help an organization to build intelligence reports which will go a long way in helping them successfully collaborate with their business partners, therefore improving the performance among other benefits.

Automating Logistics

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The topic has been covered numerous times by the world’s leading information technology research and advisory companies. The word has spread throughout the industry like wildfire and caused the “idea” of supply chain visibility to go mainstream.

Yet, in reality, it’s still spreadsheet madness out there! Daily “Where’s my shipment?” phone calls and wasteful one-to-one email communication. These are all signs of low visibility and collaboration.

Cloud computing will go mainstream. The speed to execution, lower costs, higher service levels, and preservation of capital related to Cloud-based apps are so compelling that companies will continue to take this path. The adoption of these cloud-based technologies will make double data entry obsolete and will drastically reduce overhead by eliminating countless manual tasks.

When these Cloud-based SCM solutions combine the advantages of social and mobile technologies, they can make a significant impact on the collaborative dialog about the order status. Supply chain and logistics professionals don’t want to track orders, they want to communicate about orders so they can take appropriate action before the damage is done.

Developing Customer Loyalty Through Visibility

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One of the most visible advantages inherent in adopting supply chain visibility is that it fosters customer trust and loyalty through an increased level of data sharing.

Customer loyalty is an important aspect of a business’ profit-earning capacity. The more the customer trusts their brand, the more they are likely to continue pouring out their resources into the company and continue availing of their products and services.

When businesses with delivery services make it possible for their supply chain operations to be more transparent to the customer, the latter will more likely continue depending on that business to satisfy their needs. Simply put, supply chain visibility allows a higher level of data sharing and management.

For example, a customer who has placed an order on their product would want to know when they can expect it to arrive at their address. They will likely monitor every step of the delivery process such as the location and the status of the product at any given time. With this knowledge, they’ll be more secure in the fact their product would be delivered to them in pristine condition.

Increased Sustainability

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In this day and age, the impacts of climate change on the world have become more evident. Companies and industries are continually experimenting on the best and most sustainable practices they can adopt in their operations. Unsustainable practices simply won’t suffice and are in part due to public clamor and demand for change.

This does not mean, however, that sustainable practices would lead to a decrease in the efficiency of the business model. Environmentally safe practices, which can sustain or increase efficiency, exist in abundance. Businesses just need to continually find alternatives.

With supply chain visibility, clients and customers will be made aware of the entire process. They are more likely to view a company positively if they find out they’re using reusable packaging, for example. Supply chain visibility keeps companies more mindful of their practices. Companies today should not act purely out of a desire to turn a profit, but also because of the knowledge that unscrupulous practices should not be done.

Consistency in Delivery

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Companies whose main service is in the business delivery department are always aiming for consistency. With consistent processes, they can better manage operations. They would also know where to locate the source of a problem in the event that it occurs.

To better illustrate how supply chain visibility enables companies to standardize their processes, you can think about automated invoices. When you place an order on a product, the supplier would have to be made aware of the product’s specifications — its color, size, shape, and other specialized features that you would want.

Through supply chain visibility, automated workflow systems are put in place – the supplier receives your request electronically, instead of a traditional pen and paper setup.

Automated systems allow for more accuracy in delivering the product. This would eventually set the standard for every level in the business delivery service model for compliance.

Resolve Disruptions Fast!

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Another advantage of investing in supply chain visibility is that it allows you or your business to resolve and mitigate disruptions more easily.

If you are made aware of the processes of most, if not all of your business’s operations, you would easily be able to pinpoint areas of improvement. In this way, targeting problems and resolving them would be made much easier.

For example, one common problem faced by companies with logistical operations is the case of products sitting too long in the warehouse. A more transparent supply chain command would have been able to identify that some of these products have failed to be transported to their customer on the given date, leading to a delay.

Furthermore, supply chain visibility enables you to better predict undesirable situations such as delivery bottlenecks, damaged goods, or misplaced products.

A More Cost-Efficient Supply Chain

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In line with the previous advantage, supply chain visibility also allows you to run a highly efficient business delivery service model. Keeping abreast of every level of your operation saves you extra cost and burden in terms of handling damaged goods, for example. Furthermore, you would also be able to take advantage of cheaper carrier services which can provide the same excellent service to you.

Reinventing Logistics the Smarter Way

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It’s clear that logistics and supply chain departments need to reinvent themselves.

Supply chain visibility increases your company’s data-sharing capacities and this would eventually have a positive trickle-down effect in the way your operations are conducted on a regular basis.

Aspects such as flexibility, adaptability, and proactivity have gained importance and can only be achieved by the implementation of new technologies. Technology-driven approaches can evoke radical changes to the performance of your organization.

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