A closer look at supply chain visibility

Consumers today can place an order and immediately get updates on their package location with a touch of their fingertips. So why can’t every business do the same? Most shipments will travel thousands of miles, be handled by multiple parties, and take days to do it — making today’s shipment lifecycle more complex than ever before. 

There is no room for opacity in your supply chain if increasing customer demands are to be met. With today’s volatile market, more than 20% of companies listed visibility as their greatest supply chain challenge — the greatest share of voice compared to all other challenges. And more than 70% of chief supply chain officers believe that supply chain operations are a key driver for better customer service in their organizations.

What is supply chain visibility?

Supply chain visibility is the ability to track shipments in real time. But visibility technology should go beyond manual logistics track and trace capabilities. When determining which supply chain visibility solution best fits your business needs, there are a few crucial aspects to consider:

How is the shipment physically tracked? Track and trace capabilities are the most traditional form of supply chain visibility. ELD tracking, AI assistants, and app tracking are all different ways of determining where a shipment is located at any given time.  While all of these options are helpful, ELD tracking is the most accurate — and automated — for enabling real-time visibility data.

How accessible is this information? To optimize visibility data, managers need to ensure that all of their IT information systems are communicating with each other. A single platform that opens up end-to-end visibility across your supply chain can enable workflow automation and improve team efficiency. On top of that, cloud-based systems are accessible anywhere at any time, making them increasingly popular considering today’s increasingly remote workforce.

What can you do with this information?  Supply chain visibility empowers shippers to aggregate more real-time data, generate insights into their shipping operation using that information, and use those insights to improve partner and customer relationships. From determining lane pricing, making informed carrier selections, and improving on-time performance and delivery to better managing facility selection, there’s no question that supply chain visibility enhances supply chain strategy. 

“Visibility is the foundation of advanced workflow automation.”

This quote from Shipwell President and Co-founder, Jason Traff, underlines the importance for managers of visibility technology in unlocking their team’s potential.

Free access to real-time visibility into 40,000+ facilities

Increased visibility and control empowers supply chain managers to:

  • Plan ahead with better buffer time visibility
  • Quote times more accurately to customers and partners
  • Evaluate and benchmark buffer time across facilities
  • Compare dwell times across facilities on all lanes

Why is supply chain visibility important?

Imagine you’re planning to receive a shipment today. You’ve hired people to accept the shipment, arranged for warehouse storage and hired personnel to manage the contents in the shipment. But when the shipment doesn’t arrive, you have little to no insight as to where it is, what’s holding it up, or when it will arrive.

Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Only 35% of shippers use a transportation management system (TMS) in their supply chain management strategy — a system that could quickly provide those answers.

Supply chain visibility software, paired with an advanced, data-driven shipping platform with full TMS capability, can help companies develop and implement a successful shipping strategy so they can:

  • Develop and implement a more confident and successful shipping strategy
  • Increase control across their supply chain with real-time insights
  • Improve customer experience and increase transparency into shipments with ETA predictions
  • Manage exceptions quickly without significant impact on rates or logistics operations
  • Improve carrier and partner relationships with dynamic data that provides visibility into historical performance 
  • Better understand the overall reliability of a selected carrier, weighing factors beyond just price, such as on-time delivery record and damage rates
  • Easily access compliance and regulation documentation and systems designed to manage complex shipments

Supply chain visibility in volatile markets

The only constant in the logistics market is change. As a result, supply chain planning is imperative to having a successful logistics operation. During black swan events like Covid-19, resilient supply chains have been the differentiating factor between businesses that thrive through the pandemic and those that suffer or close permanently.

“Our shipping and visibility platform has put our customers in a good position to weather this storm,” says Traff. “And because it’s cloud-based, it can help companies navigate future market disruptions while also de-risking their infrastructure spend.”  

With an uncertain future and so many factors beyond our control, now is the time for shippers to have supply chain solutions that put power back in their hands. Learn how Shipwell has helped customers manage inventory levels, improve customer satisfaction and keep their business on track with its TMS and visibility technologies.

Start shipping smarter today.

As logistics operations become increasingly complicated, it’s crucial to have all of your supply chain partners aligned to your strategy. Shipwell helps you do this with aggregated supply chain visibility capabilities within a single platform. Combined with a robust partner network, real-time data analytics, and transportation management, visibility becomes a force multiplier in your digital transformation.

A good place to start is to determine which KPIs are important to your business and team. Some examples include:

  • What do you want to know about your logistics operation?
    This could include your on-time delivery rate, carrier performance, or average rates on different lanes.
    How are you looking to transform your supply chain with increased visibility? 
  • Track and trace capabilities are great for physical visibility, while a connected supply chain technology supplier could reduce inefficiencies across the team with end-to-end visibility.
  • What integrations do I need for a successful onboarding?
    Involve your IT infrastructure team in the planning to determine what integrations make the most sense for your supply chain needs.

With these parameters in mind, you’ll be prepared to determine which supply chain partners are right for your business. To learn more about Shipwell’s connected platform, speak with an expert today.