As a consumer electronics company, some of the most important goals you can work towards are improved forecasting, and higher customer satisfaction. Both of these advantages come from increasing supply chain visibility, and ensuring transparency regarding where inventory is located at any given moment. Supply chain visibility provides actionable information that can be essential to supporting customers and business managers alike – improving productivity and maximizing results.
According to a report by the Aberdeen Group, 63% of companies surveyed regard supply chain visibility as a high priority for improvement. What's more, companies with visibility capabilities are 1.54 times more likely to capture actuals. It's no secret that increasing your supply chain visibility can mean a higher profit for your business.
Why is supply chain visibility so crucial?
Before listing the ways in which executives can uncover the clarity provided by supply chain visibility in their own businesses, it's worth understanding why the matter is so important. In a majority of surveys conducted about supply chain challenges, visibility almost always ranks towards the top in terms of necessity. According to Jeff Dobbs, global sector chair at KPMG, obtaining visibility throughout the supply chain can reduce capital expenditures and risk, while improving production speed. As such, he defines it as maybe "the single most important step a global manufacturer can take."
Ideally, supply chain visibility should help synchronize the flow of a product from supplier to end customer – providing a smooth and efficient delivery system. The impact of supply chain visibility appears in:
- The ability to recognize problems within the supply chain
- The improvement of lead times and performance
- The reduction of supply chain risk and business costs
Following are some suggestions on achieving more visibility in your own company.
1. Analyze your current systems
Before investing in any technological tools or business enhancements, it's a good idea to examine whatever is currently going on within your business, to identify not only the areas that need to be improved, but also the aspects that are functioning efficiently. Search for gaps within your existing materials requirement planning (MRP), and take a look at the options available within your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to determine whether there are solutions available for improving efficiency.
While examining your current systems, make sure to think about your key performance indicators (KPIs), and the goals that you hope to achieve in the short and long-term. If you can properly define your expectations, you can ensure that processes throughout your business are more collaborative, by setting benchmarks to measure progression. Once you know what you are trying to achieve, you should be better able to identify untapped areas of potential, which might help you narrow your search for supply chain visibility solutions.
2. Facilitate better collaboration
For supply chain visibility to thrive, information needs to move effectively between different people and groups. Identify the roles of each member within your supply chain, and trust that each professional has an appropriate understanding of what they're doing. By allowing for improved collaboration between each member of the team, including individuals outside of the enterprise, it's possible to provide an end-to-end process view to all supply chain partners. After all, as businesses grow, and the links that form around them become more complex, it is increasingly crucial to foster a level of trust between each tier within the industry.
With the use of the appropriate technology, and access to clear and visible data, information must move throughout the supply chain in order to connect partners within the network. After all, building relationships that underline expectations, established benchmarks, and deep understandings ensure that everyone where accountability lies.