Many companies dealing with supply chain visibility issues

Having a strong supply chain is the goal of just about any business, but the problem many run into these days is they do not have as much visibility into those ecosystems as they might want or need. This is not just a problem that plagues small companies, either; many major corporations are spending large sums of money to get the level of visibility they require.

A recent survey of chief supply chain officers at large companies found, for instance, that while they highly prioritize ensuring their supply chain can run with minimal disruptions (87%), only a little more than 1 in 3 said they were actually able to meet that goal on an ongoing basis, according to IBM. The question, then, is what's being done to better meet those goals; it should come as no surprise that more than 3 in 5 companies believe AI and data analytics are key to improving customer service, but just 29% say they will put inventory optimization at the top of their priority list for 2020.

Companies must do more to gather data from their supply chains.Companies must do more to gather data from their supply chains.
This all comes as 90% of companies say it takes them at least 30 minutes to fulfill order status requests, the IBM survey found.

What's the disconnect?
Given that visibility is such a big concern for companies, the fact that there aren't as many prescriptive approaches to dealing with it may be surprising to some, but because every company has its own unique challenges, there cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach, according to Freight Waves. Nonetheless, experts say it's vital for companies to do more to identify their own issues in this regard and move quickly to tackle them.

"While visibility can mean different things depending on the organization, the bottom line is that hidden areas within the supply chain create unnecessary instability within service delivery," Yamini Vellore, the chief information officer at Blume Global, told the site. "This, in turn, has a huge impact on customer experience and costs."

For these reasons, companies need to do more to ensure at least their part of the supply chain is as visible as possible, the report said. While a rising tide may lift all boats, businesses that don't have the agility they'd like would be wise to become more proactive to properly address their unique issues.

Where risk arises
In a recent poll of global supply chain organizations based in the U.K., 84% of such companies said they struggle to keep up with the ever-changing industry landscape, and nearly three-quarters noted they've faced some risk with their own supply chains in the last year alone, according to Ivalua. A large part of that is the lack of visibility they suffer from, as it leaves them unable to identify and properly prepare for dealing with those issues before they arise.

The more companies can do to effectively gather data from all points of the supply chain and use that information to identify trends that could be holding them back, the more likely they will be to enjoy success on an ongoing basis.
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