As a logistics business, you need all the information you can get your hands on so you are consistently hitting all your preferred KPIs, but you may not be doing enough to ensure you actually have it. Often, this is a problem of businesses that "don't know what they don't know" — or rather, thinking they have all the insight they need when, in fact, could be doing much better with more data.
Indeed, many businesses say they don't really have solid insight into their supply chains because of a lack of visibility around data and partners' functions, according to a recent study from the Economist Intelligence Unit commissioned by The Association for Supply Chain Management. In fact, more than half can really only monitor their own data as a means of understanding supply and demand in their portion of the supply chain. This is a problem given the difficulties the sector suffered in the past year-plus.
After all, if companies cannot reasonably predict when their supply chain partners are facing difficulties, they cannot plan for those disruptions in-house, setting off a domino effect of potential issues, the report said. Fewer than 3 in 5 companies examined in the study even had contingency plans that would allow them to quickly and easily navigate new disruptions.
"While each industry faces unique supply chain dynamics, in a time of increased turbulence it has become critical to reconsider the balance between efficiency and resilience," said ASCM CEO Abe Eshkenazi.
Getting up to speed
The good news is these problems can be relatively easy to overcome if supply chain partners work in a more coordinated fashion, and data-sharing plans are constructed to the benefit of all involved, according to IoT World Today. Furthermore, modern technology and the shock to the system that sprang from the extreme negatives of the novel coronavirus pandemic can be used to improve everyone's stance on this issue.
Put another way, the disruptions of the past several months or more should be proof enough to even the most skeptical of partners as to why end-to-end visibility is so important, and more companies are now working to be more accommodating as a result, the report said. This is a trend now seen in a growing number of industry surveys, and should continue for some time to come.
More need for insight
There are, of course, more issues to supply chain transparency than just the ability to understand where everyone is at with their own internal operations, according to Drapers. At the same time as this is happening, many companies are also trying to increase transparency for more altruistic purposes, so that unethical treatment of workers or unsafe sourcing can be eliminated. This can help reduce potential regulatory compliance issues and reassure partners and consumers alike that there's nothing to be concerned about.
Now is certainly the time for businesses to align their strategies on data collection and sharing. In doing so, everyone has a better chance to get on the same page and react collectively to potential struggles in a way that minimizes their impact on operations.