It’s time to think about visibility

Businesses today are faced with many challenges. From rising costs to corporate responsibility, leaders are continuously looking toward technology to find solutions to the next set of challenges. Some challenges are more immediate and obvious, some are less so. However, leaders must choose how they prioritise. The bets that they make will have a significant impact on their respective organisations.

Given the supply chain is at the core of most businesses, it comes as no surprise that it continues to get a lot of focus and attention. Leaders are continuously looking to technology to find ways of reducing costs, to build resilience and flexibility into their operations, to demonstrate corporate responsibility and meet green targets, to combat the ever-changing international trade landscape.

But even narrowing the focus to supply chain leaves a huge range of challenges and possible solutions. From automation to security to robotics to artificial intelligence. Even under the banner of supply chain, leaders must choose their moves carefully.

At the heart of many advances in supply chain sits visibility. Being able to see the entire supply chain network, in real time is a hugely powerful concept and one that offer significant competitive advantage. From quicker resolution (or even prevention) of issues, to improved communication with stakeholders, there are many aspects that visibility touches.

But the ultimate answer as to why supply chain visibility should be a top priority for business leaders lies in the definition of what ‘visibility’ is. Visibility is data. Supply chain visibility technology either generates or extracts (or both) data from the supply chain, presenting upstream to operators or systems. Data is the fuel of the next generation for supply chain technology and without it, there will be no revolution.

Many leaders may have their sights on the ‘sexy’ trends, such as automation and intelligence, but without visibility, will lack the fuel to power those technologies. And given more than two thirds of supply chain leaders admit to having limited to no visibility across their supply chain networks means that many businesses will find themselves losing ground very quickly on the few that do.