If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that supply chain visibility is a necessity, not a luxury. Panic buying and shifting consumer needs and habits have revealed tons of flaws and inefficiencies throughout the supply chain, leaving retailers and suppliers struggling to respond quickly and continue catering to their customers.
The pandemic has brought even greater demand for nontraditional channels such as eCommerce, and lack of supply chain visibility is inhibiting the adaptation strategy of many businesses. With greater supply chain visibility, companies can better manage their capital, time, and resources, along with maintaining consumer trust by confidently predicting when certain items will arrive.
Making supply chain visibility a priority now can help to build resiliency that will allow companies to weather future upsets. Let’s take a look at some of the top lessons companies have learned recently and how we can apply them to make improvements:
Identify Existing Gaps
Supply chain visibility looks and functions differently for different companies. You have unique needs and responsibilities to your partners and customers, specific benefits you want to achieve, and different challenges standing in your path.
To start, it’s important to look at your current supply chain landscape:
- Where are bottlenecks occurring?
- What data do you already have access to and what data is unavailable that could be helpful?
- What are your key expectations and objectives for improving supply chain visibility?
- Which stakeholders need access to supply chain data?
Many manufacturing facilities cite inventory management as a chief pain point, but this may not be the case for your organization. Fortunately, solutions to supply chain visibility are customizable. Dive deeper into the real issues your company is experiencing and prioritize which areas to improve first.
Invest in a Data Strategy
Data is the backbone of every supply chain. Your organization already has an abundance of data assets, including vendors, products, raw materials, personnel, lead times, product costs, and a myriad of other details. However, all of this data does little to produce supply chain visibility if you aren’t able to structure and organize it in a way that you can use it.
Developing a data strategy is a critical piece of the process. This requires companies to define the data they need to improve supply chain visibility, along with developing fail-safe measures so that they can trust the data they collect. Tools and technology are only as powerful as the data they’re given, and most often this data is prone to human error. Companies may need to consider how data is collected, altered, and shared as part of their overall strategy to maintain data integrity.
Aim for Real-Time Transparency
Another piece of the data puzzle is the ability to view the latest data in real-time. Supply chain bottlenecks frequently occur due to incorrect data. Today, supply chain professionals are struggling to maintain up-to-date records, while getting the right data to the right people at the right time. Whether data is stored in excel sheets, legacy systems, or even on paper, relying on stakeholders for accurate data wastes time and reduces autonomy of remedial tasks. The ability to view data in real-time ensures that each person can work from the latest information available to make informed decisions and gain instant insight.
Specright’s Role in Boosting Supply Chain Visibility
Specright is working to improve supply chain visibility through Specification Data Management™ software. With Specright’s SDM platform, companies can identify data at the spec level and gain deeper insight into vendor relationships, costs, production times, and other details to improve traceability and visibility across operations. View data in real-time, control permissions, and reduce administrative work, with Specright.
Download our ebook and discover how Specright helps organizations create a digital thread across their supply chain to maximize visibility and efficiency.