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Visibility: It's about taking control and optimising performance

Today players across the logistics chain cannot afford to get by with lame excuses for delays. Perform and deliver or perish is the new norm for international as well as domestic trade. Shippers are demanding control of their shipments through complete visibility of the transportation chain.

Supply networks of today are demanding shorter lead times and reliable deliveries. A lack of logistics visibility results in poor delivery performance, missed revenue opportunities, and unwanted inventories. A product during its transportation life cycle will change many hands and move across the globe on various modes of transports. Each player in the transport chain generally has its own system to regulate the flow of shipments but these systems are often incapable of providing critical demand-supply information. The new breed of freight management software serves as an integrator between shippers and transporters by creating a single virtual supply chain pipeline that is visible to all parties.

Shippers, business partners, and customers are empowered to perform better and make crucial decisions when they know exactly where products are at any point in the supply chain—from the raw materials supplier to the final destination. This “visibility” has been made easier through the use of supply chain software and helps in accurate forecasting, planning, and production.

The role of visibility in forecasting cannot be underlined for example when a retailer in Europe places an order across the globe say in India. Its transportation timeline could be delayed due to various factors that are out of his control. In such a scenario, the company will rely on the ‘visibility pipeline’ to know exactly where the delay is and how the delay is going to affect sales in Europe. He is thus able to work with his vendors and logistics service providers to look for alternate solutions instead of playing the blame game. Sophisticated track and trace tools ensure that companies do not have to guess as to when their goods will be delivered.

Supply chain visibility can also help managers plan well with up to date information about existing inventory of finished goods in the warehouse and future availability. Supply chain managers thus know exactly what’s in the pipeline and which shipments cleared customs and then use that data to ensure that there is constant supply of goods to match customers demand. By investing in quality supply chain visibility software, companies gain consistent control over operations and processes. Specialized logistics software that can automatically track shipment and order status, send alerts to stakeholders during transit and on delivery helps clients achieve visibility, both domestically and internationally.

Today, shippers demand control over their shipments and expect freight forwarders to offer best in breed transportation management software. The new generation of supply chain solutions offers timely, accurate, and complete information, data, and insight about shipments and assets. Not only are they quick to deploy and integrate but also easy to use offer unmatched integration across the supply chain network. Shippers can integrate their systems with that of their suppliers to achieve complete virtual visibility. Software platforms monitor the status of an order over its transportation life cycle.

Supply chain visibility is crucial for the entire range of activities from planning, sourcing, manufacturing, delivering and even encompasses returning goods.

World over shippers are signing up with freight forwarders and logistics partners who can guarantee cost control. And freight forwarders assure this by enabling visibility that is made possible by Track and Trace software. At the touch of a button, companies can get update information about order status, inventory, fleet management and even people deployment. This results in better utilization of resources like stocks, assets and manpower thus reducing wastage, controlling costs and increasing profit margins.

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