Despite a variety of visibility options available to shippers, many claim the visibility they have is not good enough to meet their needs. When you unpack the reasons why, a clear pattern in their responses emerges. These are the top 3 reasons they cite:
Many early adopters of DIY visibility solutions have come to know that a blinking dot on a map without any additional context isn’t very actionable and therefore of limited value.
Visibility needs to be considered in two dimensions – depth and breadth. Depth is how granular the insight is (e.g. product, SKU, part, cost). Breadth is how much of the supply chain can be seen (all modes, nodes, and geographies across the entire supply chain).
Most visibility journeys start small focusing on a single segment of the supply chain. Unfortunately, such approach lacks visibility to events occurring upstream and downstream in the chain. This is problematic for a shipper that relies on inbound materials to produce finished goods to be shipped around the world to the customers.
Lastly, the visibility needs to incorporate information from inside your enterprise (e.g. ERP, TMS, WMS) and the external world that surrounds your supply chain (e.g. social unrest, border crossings, port congestion, etc.). Without this level of connectedness, you will have blind spots in the supply chain that will inevitably cost you time, service, and money.
Anyone who has tried to operationalize the data they receive from their logistics service providers understands the inconsistency in quality, timeliness, format, and metrics they receive. It presents a constant challenge and is difficult to automate. The risk of garbage in-garbage out is very high. Even if we assume that the data has been tamed, shippers need to confront how to cull the deluge of data to find the nuggets of important insight that impact day-to-day operations and strategy. This is not an easy challenge if you are confronted with hundreds or thousands of shipments on a daily basis.
Many organizations underestimate the amount of time, tools and effort required to effectively deploy and manage their supply chain. Even the most innovative companies (after attempting a DIY strategy) are turning to the provider market for solutions and services to ensure complete visibility and actionable insights.