Raise your hand if you’re a control freak! In supply chain, leaders and innovators are, and it shows (favorably) in their performance. As consumers continue to purchase goods at greater frequency and trade regulations become more complex, supply chain professionals are striving to establish end-to-end control of their business operations. The modern-day supply chain begs for visibility throughout the entire chain, from point of order, to packaging, shipping, and delivery.
Supply chain and logistics decision-makers feel the weight of this shift, evidenced by the fact that control tower visibility ranks as one of the top investment priorities among them – whether manufacturers, retailers, or LSPs. According to the research report “Competing on Customer Experience: The Driving Force Behind Supply Chain Innovation,” control tower visibility is hailed across the board, from above-average performers to late adopters, as both the second-highest investment priority and technology that will deliver the greatest value in the next five years. These findings should come as no surprise, as more and more companies look to optimize operations and control costs, while enhancing their customer experience.
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Investing in supply chain visibility can be a balancing act between avoiding the cost of problems or the problems themselves. One vital component that pieces together the visibility puzzle is the quality of data in the supply chain network. Three defining features of good data are accuracy, completeness, and timeliness. Without these components, companies cannot fully reap the benefits that an end-to-end experience offers.
With improved visibility comes the general benefit of better performance, along with and including:
- Inventory optimization
- Improved workflow
- More efficient compliance
- Avoidance of lost sales
- Stronger customer retention
- Reduced cost
- And more
Overall, these returns on investment enable organizations to both remain competitive in their respective markets and meet the growing demands of customers.
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If visibility is a key element of success, how does an organization obtain it and excel? Control Tower and mobile technologies are key solutions to solve this issue. Control towers allow shippers and carriers to monitor real-time information with a complete view of their goods. Also, the technology allows for important data to be shared across systems to identify any issues and stay on track toward goals and service levels. Modern control towers enable real-time visibility among partners so they can monitor in-process shipments, as well as gain instant insight on available capacity. With heightened visibility, partners can take predictive and proactive action, which is something they couldn’t do with the first generation of supply chain control towers.
Mobile capabilities further enable companies to deliver a tailored and enhanced customer experience extending through the last mile of the supply chain journey. The technology is more accessible than ever, available on smartphones and tablets in addition to rugged devices. For example, with BluJay’s MobileSTAR, users can scan, photograph, and measure and validate dimensions with their device’s built-in camera, while GPS tracking provides accurate locations and delivery times. Mobile technology puts control quite literally in the hands of operations personnel, carriers, and customers to provide more visibility and a better experience from end to end.
Supply chain visibility is a valuable advantage that helps improve agility and responsiveness to combat time and cost pressures, increased demand for goods, and obstacles such as the capacity crunch and changing trade regulations. This in turn yields improved performance and customer experience – key indicators of supply chain leaders and innovators…and control freaks everywhere.
For more details about the importance of control tower visibility to supply chain performance, check out the full survey report, Competing on Customer Experience.