Supply chain visibility (SCV) is the concept of obtaining as much information as possible about all packages, products or parts that are being shipped from the manufacturer to the buyer or customer. The primary objective is improving data availability for all concerned as an attempt to improve and strengthen the overall supply chain function.
Since supply chain design varies from industry to industry and company to company, many variations can be noted when improving supply chain visibility. But in the simplest of terms, here are some of the most effective tips.
Reduce Stocking Points
If the supply chain has multiple stocking points along the distribution channel, visibility will be lowered. When there are too many stocking points, more data has to be captured and then aggregated together so that we can see a single number against a particular SKU. However, if at least some of these stocking points are reduced, then information overload can be avoided. Plus, data can easily be accessed and understood, improving supply chain visibility in turn.
Shorten the Pipelines
Global sourcing and multiple suppliers have increased the number of stakeholders. Pipelines are now longer, and information takes more time to transmit from one end of the supply chain to another. So some of the people on board may not be able to understand or have a clear picture of the whats, whys, and whens of a typical supply chain process.
A good idea for improving supply chain visibility is shortening the pipelines, which can be achieved by removing intermediaries like a trading company or an international procurement office. Rather than all these multiple entities, there should be just one hub to which all these intermediaries are connected.
Another way or reducing the pipeline is simply decreasing the total number of suppliers. But be extremely careful when implementing this because the move can affect costs, delivery times, quality and other important considerations.
Figure out the Bottlenecks
Does every part of the supply chain require the same attention or focus? No. Figure out the bottlenecks. These are what need to be monitored; if you can, improve this part of the supply chain. But even when you do, another phase of the process will become the bottleneck, which can be identified only after a thorough analysis.
So find the bottlenecks and focus on them. Doing this prevents quality issues and downtime during the process.
Smoothen the Ordering Process
Have you heard of the bullwhip concept? Excessive promotional offers, order batching and other similar behavioral trends can cause ripples along the supply chain process. This makes it difficult for supply chain managers at the other end to manage the process and may lead to waste.
Using blanket orders or annual contracts simplify demand management, and hence, are preferred approaches for improving supply chain visibility.
Which of these tips worked best for you? Do let us know!
» Business » Improving Supply Chain Visibility