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5 reasons why supply chain visibility is important

Cross-stakeholder communication and collaboration

Modern supply chains are fast-paced, complex networks involving multiple stakeholders so communication is critical. Unfortunately, with information often siloed and swift pace at which the supply chain operates struggles in communications often arise.

And when issues arise, such as when a shipment is late, a merry-go-round of phone calls and emails unfolds as operators struggle to ascertain what is happening and provide updates to customers

In most cases, the stakeholder wanting information is the consignee (the receiver of the goods) who has purchased the goods from a consignor (the sender of goods) who has contracted the services of a haulier (transporter of goods).

What’s needed is a shared, real-time view across the network of where consignments are on their journey and when they will reach key locations such as the port of exit, port of entry or final destination. This gives all interested parties access to the information they need and ensures they can proactively respond to any incidents and delays

Customer interaction & resolution of issues.

Even if all stakeholders don’t have access to the visibility across the network, it can still offer significant value. Take the merry-go-round example above. If the consignee (with limited visibility) can contact the consignor (who, in this scenario, has access to full visibility), the merry-go-round stops there. The operator that receives the call could access all the information they need, in one place, and would be able to advise accordingly.

Not only does this ensure quicker time to resolution, helping to reduce operational costs - and the stress levels of those stakeholders - but it also improves the interactions between the stakeholders involved.

Reduced administration.

Visibility is not just about tracking. For visibility to have a truly transformational impact across the supply chain, operators need the full picture. This could include customs and health documents plus government documents and licenses as well as commercial documentation.

Access to all the data in one place would support supply chain operators immensely in their efforts to become more efficient, agile, and robust.

Much like the merry-go-round that unfolds when trying to ascertain the ETA of a consignment/shipment, so too is the case when hunting down paperwork.

In fact, (1) SPS Commerce estimates that it costs on average £100 per purchase order to manage inventory errors, track down missing paperwork, pay incorrect (or worse – fraudulent) invoices, receive inventory manually, compensate delivery delays, and more. Access to this information, in one place, would support operators to reduce the cost per purchase order, which is largely driven by administrative tasks.

Machine-to-machine visibility.

Most people think of supply chain visibility as people sat in front of computer screens, monitoring loads moving between locations. But it’s so much more than that. Visibility is data. If it’s interfaced, the data (visibility) can flow into businesses systems helping to automate processes.

Building on this, if the data could seamlessly flow into business systems, operators would be relieved of the burden of tracking down information altogether. Processes such as goods-in, updating systems and records, even raising and payment of invoices can all be automated using visibility (data) as the foundation.

Support of evolving operating models.

As operational models evolve, with leaders seeking more from their supply chains, these challenges will continue to grow. (2) A recent McKinsey report cited 93% of respondents intended to make their supply chains more flexible, agile, and resilient. Businesses are striving to move product as close to their customer or manufacturing facility as possible in efforts to support Just-in-Time models and next day delivery. This means more warehouses, more stakeholders, more movements, more complexity, and costs.

Visibility is a critical foundation to support these evolving models and the resulting needs. Leaders who get visibility right will have long-lasting advantages. The Logistics Bureau cited those businesses with optimal supply chains have supply chain costs that are 15% lower, less than 50% of the inventory holdings, and cash-to-cash cycles at least three times faster than those not focused on supply chain optimisation.

How do we help?

Our solution, Atamai Freight introduces a new level of collaboration across the supply chain as it’s able to deliver real time visibility of consignments in transit between all partners, whilst simultaneously helping to support load assurance. It’s a digital innovation that helps to put you and your supply chain partners in control.   

Atamai harnesses the data you already have, enriches it with automatically gathered data, and makes it visible to you and your supply chain stakeholders to help you work more efficiently and mitigate disruptions.

To learn more book a free demo here


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