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In logistics, supply chain visibility refers to the ability to track and monitor the movement of goods and materials throughout the entire supply chain process, from the point of origin to the final destination. This includes tracking inventory levels, transportation and delivery status, and identifying any bottlenecks or delays that may occur.

By having visibility into the supply chain, businesses can improve their efficiency, reduce costs, and better respond to changes in demand. In 2023, technology advancements such as IoT, RFID, and blockchain will continue to drive improvements in supply chain visibility, making it easier for businesses to track and monitor their supply chain in real-time.

Let’s look at the top 10 trends in supply chain visibility

  1. Increased use of technology, such as IoT sensors and blockchain, to improve visibility and tracking of goods in transit.
  2. Growing focus on sustainability and reducing environmental impact in supply chain operations.
  3. Greater use of data analytics and machine learning to improve forecasting, demand planning, and inventory management.
  4. Expansion of digital twin technology to simulate and optimize supply chain operations.
  5. Adoption of real-time visibility solutions to enable better decision-making and responsiveness to disruptions.
  6. Growing importance of supplier collaboration and visibility to improve supply chain resilience.
  7. Increased use of automation and robotics in warehouses and logistics operations.
  8. Growing popularity of subscription-based and on-demand delivery models, which require enhanced visibility and flexibility.
  9. Emphasis on end-to-end visibility, from supplier to customer, to improve customer service and satisfaction.
  10. Emergence of “smart logistics” and “smart ports” that use advanced technology to improve visibility, efficiency, and security of supply chain operations.

Key factors that impact supply chains

  1. Data accuracy and completeness: having accurate and up-to-date information on inventory levels, shipment status, and other key metrics is essential for supply chain visibility.
  2. Technology: the use of IoT sensors, RFID tags, GPS tracking, and other technologies can greatly enhance visibility and tracking of goods in transit.
  3. Communication and collaboration: effective communication and collaboration among all stakeholders in the supply chain, including suppliers, logistics providers, and customers, is crucial for maintaining visibility and addressing disruptions.
  4. Organizational culture and processes: a culture of transparency and strong processes for data collection, sharing, and analysis are essential for maintaining supply chain visibility.
  5. Supply chain complexity: the more complex a supply chain is, with multiple tiers of suppliers and logistics providers, the more challenging it can be to maintain visibility and manage disruptions.
  6. Supply chain risk: disruptions such as natural disasters, geopolitical events, and supplier bankruptcies can greatly impact supply chain visibility and require contingency planning.
  7. Data security: data breaches and cyber attacks can compromise supply chain visibility and integrity, and it is important to have robust security measures in place.
  8. Visibility : for example, in Subscription-based and on-demand delivery models, visibility becomes more critical because of the need for enhanced visibility and flexibility.
  9. Government regulations and trade agreements: compliance with regulations and trade agreements can impact the flow of goods and information, and affect supply chain visibility.

Importance of supply chain visibility technology

Supply chain visibility technology is critical for organizations to effectively manage and optimize their supply chain operations. Some of the key advantages of using this technology include:

Improved tracking and tracing of goods

Technologies like IoT sensors, RFID tags, and GPS tracking enable real-time visibility of inventory levels, shipment status, and other key metrics.

Better decision-making

With access to real-time data, organizations can make more informed decisions about inventory levels, production schedules, and logistics operations.

Increased efficiency

By automating data collection and analysis, supply chain visibility technology can help organizations reduce errors and improve operational efficiency.

Enhanced supplier collaboration

Technology can facilitate communication and collaboration among all stakeholders in the supply chain, including suppliers, logistics providers, and customers.

Greater supply chain resilience

With real-time visibility into the supply chain, organizations can quickly identify and respond to disruptions, reducing the impact on operations and customers.

Increased customer satisfaction

End-to-end visibility can help organizations provide better customer service and ensure timely delivery of goods.

Compliance and regulatory adherence

Supply chain visibility technology can help organizations meet compliance and regulatory requirements, such as tracking and tracing of goods for safety and security.

Cost reduction

Supply chain visibility technology can help organizations reduce costs by reducing inventory holding, improving demand forecasting and identifying inefficiencies.

Green supply chains

The goal of a green supply chain is to reduce environmental impact and promote sustainability throughout the entire supply chain. This can be achieved through a variety of strategies, including:

  1. Sustainable sourcing: sourcing raw materials and products from suppliers that have environmentally friendly practices.
  2. Resource efficiency: reducing energy, water and material consumption during the production process
  3. Carbon footprint reduction: reducing the carbon footprint of logistics and transportation by using more eco-friendly modes of transportation and optimizing routes and schedules.
  4. Recycling and waste reduction: implementing recycling and waste reduction programs to minimize environmental impact and promote circular economy
  5. Sustainable packaging: using eco-friendly packaging materials and reducing packaging waste
  6. Life-cycle thinking: considering the entire life cycle of products, from sourcing, production, use and disposal.
  7. Transparency and traceability: having visibility on the entire supply chain, to track and trace the environmental impact of products and suppliers.

SFL Insights

The use of supply chain visibility can lead to several benefits, including improved efficiency and cost savings, better inventory management, and increased customer satisfaction. Additionally, supply chain visibility can help companies identify and address potential issues or disruptions in the supply chain, allowing them to take proactive measures to mitigate risks. Overall, the use of supply chain visibility can help companies to better manage and optimize their supply chains, ultimately leading to improved performance and competitiveness.

SFL Insights offers real-time shipment visibility for your clients, allowing them to request quotes on both general and specific shipment-based inquiries with just a few clicks, track their shipment milestones, track shipments on a map, upload shipment documents, white label their web and mobile application and so much more.

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