Real-Time Supply Chain Visibility: Best Solutions
Modern logistics is a complex system consisting of many parts, including suppliers, warehouses, vehicles, and retailers. Components as well as ready to use products can now be shipped across thousands of kilometers, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to track where everything is. Frightening is the fact that such decentralization of processes causes severe inefficiencies and additional expenses.
The recent survey indicates that 84% of organizations stated they have already tested real-time data integrations into their logistics, but only a tiny share has succeeded. As more companies around the world began to collaborate with third-party suppliers, achieving full transparency has become a necessity for global businesses.
The Modern Supply Chain Challenges
As the particular links in modern supply chains keep on extending its partnerships, the reevaluation of major processes is required to avoid costly disruptions, low productivity, and supply chain fraud.
Moreover, supply chains have many weak spots they have to focus on, such as new shipping regulations, pressure from global commerce, unstable economies due to political shifts, and more. All this shakes the established supply chains substantially.
Besides, end-consumers and big retailers push on supply chains with the demand to accelerate deliveries at a lower price and tracking the package from the start of its journey. This phenomenon has got the name of the Amazon effect.
And the figures fuel these high expectations. In 2018 global e-commerce revenue hit USD 2.8 trillion and is forecasted to reach USD 4.8 trillion by 2021. Therefore, companies have to “rewire” their supply chains to outrank rivals and take advantage of the emerged trends.
The Importance of Supply Chain Visibility
Supply chain visibility (SCV) technologies provide a major benefit allowing you to trace components or products during the whole transportation journey, from the point of production up to the door of the customer. The final goal is to enhance and fortify the entire supply chain by granting access to data anytime to all participants of the process.
Online supply chain visibility solutions are responsive and stable at a time. When facing severe disruptions, you can adapt your SCM to changes immediately, enabling faster decision-making, reshaping demand, and redirecting the supply. Thus, companies with integrated digital tools are 20% more efficient than those without integration in place.
Jeff Dobbs, Chair at Diversified Industrials and a partner with KPMG, says that enhanced supply chain visibility can drastically optimize logistic processes. With real-time SCV, companies can expedite their ROIs, lower capital expenses, and handle many risks.
The need for improved visibility tops the list of the most necessary components for modern supply chains.
The Benefits of Supply Chain Visibility
1. Transparency for Flawless Control and Safety
Since the supply chain represents an extended network of multiple stakeholders, most processes become inefficient, costly and face fraud risks. The next-gen technologies such as Big Data, AI, ML, or Blockchain offer top-notch visibility over the entire supply chain.
Thus, the automation of major operations empowers businesses to focus on their core objectives, save expenditures and prevent fraudulent activities.
2. Readiness to Respond to Changes Immediately
Industry 4.0 forces organizations to embrace intelligent tools. Thus, an AI-based supply chain software assists in managing supply chains, offering advanced automation and interoperability.
Introducing IoT-based real-time tracking possibilities into the supply chain brings more flexibility for companies and makes them ready to respond to the ever-changing business requirements anytime. The handling of substantial data sets has become auto-optimized using machine learning (ML) in intelligent systems.
3. Fewer Costs, Fast Service and Better Performance
Developing supply chain software with enhanced visibility functions enables enterprises to reduce human involvement in many manual operations with data. Automation reduces workforce resources and accelerates shipping services.
For example, tracking RFID tags attached to freight helps to scan these tags at each station. Such accurate monitoring of shipment in real-time at all points of the chain gives a competitive advantage without additional risk or expenses. Supercharged with intelligent tools, the non-contact identification systems further guarantee better service and refined logistics.
4. Data Visualization as Top Tool to Handle Sizable Data
Data visualization solutions became highly popular as the market for them is projected to reach a staggering USD 7.76 billion by 2023, with an increase of 9% per year.
These tools help to view, understand and categorize patterns and tendencies in data. Having the ability to analyze such sizable data sets, supply chain supervisors make fast and accurate decisions. With the right techniques for real-time data visualization, supply chain managers should not have to waste time consolidating separate datasets from distributed systems into a spreadsheet.
Best Tools for Real-Time Supply Chain Visibility Development
The tech can have a reverberating effect on supply chains worldwide. So, while establishing your supply chain IT stack, consider our suggestions to optimize your processes and save time and effort.
Modern ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems open for businesses endless opportunities for more effective management. Thus, it allows you to have full control over your business operations, immediate access to critical data from any device, instant updates on inventory monitoring, warehouse navigation, and customer orders.
Plus, the ERP software provides features tailored to unique business needs, so that your data dashboards are relevant to the most significant concerns.
Automation is last but not the least benefit you can get from the ERP platform. With automated data input and other workflow activities, your employees become more productive and devote their efforts to valuable business tasks.
Big Data Analytics (BDA)
Using Big Data Analytics in logistics and supply chain management can completely alter the approach to managing inventory, bringing it to the next level. What BDA enables:
Excellent operational performance
The in-depth operational data monitoring and analysis, along with instant access to this data, helps eliminate multiple bottlenecks.
Better customer satisfaction
By analyzing real-time data, supervisors can tailor the warehouse operations to customer requirements, which in turn elevates their satisfaction. Data analysis can help to quickly respond to seasonal changes in customers’ demands or to new trends and perform emergency planning the best way anytime.
More sales and more gains
Using live data, financial executives can track and analyze these data on a regular basis. Thus, they can handle the profit margins with accurate insights to ensure maximum earnings.
More savings through switching to cloud
If migrating to the cloud, the need for hardware and maintenance expenses can vanish automatically. The SaaS approach allows integrating cloud solutions into existing systems with a minimum of cost flawlessly.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
AI and ML are among the most powerful techs to build a digital supply chain with end-to-end transparency. Most companies surveyed (80%) consider AI and ML as the biggest promise to overcome complex business challenges across the value chain.
Namely, the businesses see the following possibilities once AI and ML are integrated:
- Ability to optimize inventory (51%)
- Predictive distribution (45%)
- Optimizing distribution networks (42%)
Using the tech that analyzes your business and recognizes data relationships that were invisible to the naked eye and then automatically integrates these insights into your SCM is driving continuous real-time improvements across the entire supply chain.
The benefits of using Blockchain continue to emerge, along with the hurdles the companies need to resolve. However, businesses have begun implementations as it becomes easier to connect the different parts and multiple stakeholders. For instance, 64% of leaders consider Blockchain a current tech objective that will reinvent deeply-rooted industry standards.
Blockchain is an endless source for analytics that aids in risk mitigation and emergency planning. The technology increases traceability, and with predictive insights it provides, supply chain executives can redirect routes to reduce disruption caused by unforeseen events.
Application Programming Interface (API)
Businesses are about to replace cumbersome EDIs (electronic data interchange) with efficient APIs (application program interfaces). With APIs, the supply chains can be faster, more efficient, and backed up by data insights. The technology enables transferring data from one system to another, giving access to this data from a central location and helping procurement managers make data-driven decisions.
Today, almost 15% of all mobile and 24%> of all web applications use APIs. This trend is forecasted to reach 80% by the end of 2018, seizing many companies to adopt a vital tool for business operations and problem-solving.
Summary: Developing SCV with Innovecs
Developing a responsive supply chain is essential to overcome the complex enterprise challenges in manufacturing, retail, and e-commerce industries. Introducing management strategies across a vast network means companies are often playing catch-up with planning and production hurdles.
A live supply chain provides greater transparency into a company’s inbound/outbound processes, enables it to trace the daily activities in logistics, including route planning, transportation, warehouse and inventory management.
At Innovecs, we have accomplished several international projects on developing dedicated SCM software for both startups and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). Our SCM solutions helped businesses to build a secure and transparent supply chain that facilitates cumbersome processes in a quick and cost-effective way.