Is Supply Chain Visibility Important to Your Business?

Reading Time: 9 mins
  • Save

Supply chain visibility is the ability to monitor and manage the status of goods and services shipped between different locations. Businesses need a visible supply chain to fulfill customer orders accurately and on time. To ensure this you need to remove all complex supply chain bottlenecks to get a smooth flow of your operations.

Live status of the supply chain helps businesses improve customer service, control costs through inventory management in transit, limit disruptions & mitigate risks.

It can be difficult for companies to achieve supply chain goals without automation. Only 6% of companies claim complete visibility of their supply chain, with 69% lacking total visibility.

Fortunately, many tools today help you gain real-time visibility into your supply chain operations. This article will explain supply chain visibility and why it’s essential. In addition, we’ll discuss how you can improve your supply chain visibility through technological solutions.

Optimizing warehouse operations whitepaper
  • Save

What is Supply Chain Visibility?

When you hear the word “visibility,” perhaps you think of a ship sailing across the ocean or maybe an airplane flying high above.

In the world of supply chain management, however, visibility refers to an organization’s ability to track its products and services throughout their lifecycles – from raw materials through delivery to customers. The goal is to provide complete transparency between players in your supply chain: suppliers, vendors, distributors, and customers.

All this leads to building a digital supply chain where terabytes of data are collected to analyze and optimize operations, empowering the status of visibility across departments.

According to a report by McKinsey, 93 percent of supply chain leaders are looking for ways to build their long-term visibility attributes.

Visibility differs from automation because it involves much more than just collecting data about transactions and materials flow; it requires that all parties use this information wisely. For example, suppose inventory items are selling well in one area of your business but not another.

Knowing why this is happening, you can make informed decisions without having to stock too many products or waste money on those with no demand.

Benefits of Supply chain visibility
  • Save

When implemented correctly (with appropriate oversight), visibility can help companies save money by reducing unnecessary warehousing costs. Furthermore, it improves customer service by ensuring accurate delivery times and increases employee productivity through better communication between departments.

Achieving supply chain sustainability also comes from a clear view. A sustainable supply chain reduces environmental impact due to fewer wasted resources like packaging material or excess inventory space being used for unneeded products. Real-time visibility helps with making better decisions about which suppliers/distributors should be chosen based on factors such as sustainable goals, cost efficiency, or ethical practices.

What is Real-time Visibility in Supply Chain & Logistics?

Real-time visibility allows supply chain managers to monitor the exact location & route of goods at all times, enabling them to respond faster to issues or delays. This includes rerouting vehicles to optimize delivery time or alerting the authorities & rushing aid in the event of an accident.

In supply chain & logistics, the real-time activities that involve the tracing & tracking of goods transportation from the hubs, warehouses, manufacturers & suppliers to the end consumers are all components of real-time visibility.

Businesses deploy sophisticated software & GPS-tracking applications to monitor, schedule & plan their logistics processes & achieve real-time visibility. It helps supply chain managers track information such as the status of their order receipts, regulatory information, shipping details, & raw materials.

Real-time visibility enables businesses to reduce transportation costs, increase customer satisfaction & transparency, enhance productivity & gain a competitive edge.

One of the most effective ways to get supply chain visibility is by utilizing data to visualize the position of cargo in the ecosystem. Check out the case study below where Gramener helped one of the leading retail companies to identify supply chain bottlenecks through data visualizations.

Store: Retail supply chain

How Can You Get Supply Chain Visibility?

Since 2020, the pandemic has disrupted supply chains all over the world. This has forced the hands of business leaders eager to achieve strong supply chain resilience with end-to-end visibility.

The following steps can help companies face the supply chain challenges of the current global market.

a. Supply Chain Analysis

The first step in achieving improved supply chain visibility is to analyze your supply chain at a granular level. This will help you identify the weak links in the chain and the resulting vulnerabilities.

Organizing meetings with stakeholders, both external and internal, can help in supply chain analysis. This includes business partners, key vendors, suppliers, and department managers. These meetings can help supply chain leaders identify the room for improvement across all the supply chain elements.

b. Mapping Out the Salient Components of a Supply Chain Can Help Identify its Shortcomings

Today, businesses collect and work with large amounts of data. Managers can use data analytics to leverage this data and gain more visibility of their supply chain. Sharing insights from this data with your business partners and suppliers can boost your supply chain network and increase transparency.

c. Prioritize Pain Points Based on Objectives and Goals

Supply chain leaders must address pain points that are in sync with the long-term goals of their organization. Once the parameters have been defined, they must be communicated to all concerned stakeholders.

To develop a winning supply chain visibility strategy, managers must ask themselves the following questions

  • How does their supply chain create value?
  • What do the customers expect from their supply chain?
  • How do the vulnerabilities hurt the performance of the supply chain?
  • Which supply chain visibility solutions will be compatible with their business model?

These questions can help build strategies, establish teams for implementation, and frame project deadlines.

d. Increased Collaboration Between Competitors, Partners, and Suppliers

Improved cooperation between business partners, suppliers, and competitors can significantly increase transparency in the supply chain.

Vertical collaboration such as building long-term relationships with business partners such as retailers, 3PL service providers, vendors & suppliers can help streamline information flow across the supply chain. This leads to enhanced visibility.

Horizontal collaboration can enable multiple suppliers to share a common distribution infrastructure and reduce the demand burden.

The following collaboration goals can help achieve visibility across a supply chain:

  • An integrated communication platform that improves communication with business partners & suppliers
  • Identifying market trends using higher volumes of data
  • Sharing best practices and data to drive mutual growth

e. Leverage Digital Technology

The pandemic has acted as a catalyst, accelerating digital transformation across every global industry. Technologies like IIoT, AI, predictive analytics, supply chain automation & cloud computing lend enhanced resilience and visibility to the supply chain sector.

AI acts as a catalyst for business owners to fulfill their supply chain goals. With demand forecasting models, using text analysis for measuring customer sentiments, or predictive maintenance algorithms, AI in supply chain use cases has taken an innovative turn.

Digital twin platforms can deliver end-to-end visibility across supply chain networks. Organizations can better collaborate with their business partners using integrated supply chain & logistics management applications & software.

These systems can improve supply chain visibility through real-time data sharing. To ensure the success of their supply chain initiatives, leaders have to upskill their workforce to use the technology well.

f. Use KPIs to Measure & Improve

Identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) can help measure the effectiveness of supply chain initiatives. It can also help deliver vital process insights. Supply chain managers should share regular progress reports to support thier objectives with business partners.

Improving supply chain visibility is a never-ending process & managers have to revisit & tweak their efforts to make continuous progress.

Here’s How Gramener’s Data Advisory can Help You Improve Supply Chain Visibility

Yes! Data advisory is a thing. It’s more than connecting with data science experts to kickstart your data journey. On a wider scale, data advisory helps you identify why you need a data roadmap in the first place.

Exploring the need of data science in your business journey is an exhaustive process. You need to identify the right data flowing out of your operations. Then, you’d need to map that data with business ROI to mine actionable insights.

With the help of our data advisory experts, you can devise a complete supply chain data strategy.

Oh! And, you can also explore why you need a supply chain data strategy in this article before jumping on to a decision. In a nutshell, you need expert data consulting to boost your supply chain operations if:

  • You lack the right data points to capture
  • You don’t have the right technology to store, access, and analyze data
  • You don’t have a proper team of data scientists, analysts, and storytellers
  • You’re unable to mine actionable insights from your supply chain data

You can also take up the data maturity survey designed for business users who have questions like, “what business problems to solve first,” “how to map the business ROI with data,” and “what skills do you need to do it”.

Fill up the survey and we’ll send you a free report to help you understand your position on the data maturity scale.

gramener's free data maturity assessment survey
  • Save

How Can You Use Supply Chain Visibility to Improve Your Operations?

1. Reduce manufacturing costs

A global beverage manufacturer wanted to improve the yield quality of its drug products. Gramener used Exploratory Data Analysis to study 3 months of historical data & identify patterns. We applied regression & classification models to assess which material & operational parameters are essential.

Thanks to our efforts, our client now enjoys increased visibility on the parameters driving the product yield, enabling them to reduce the manufacturing cost by 2.5%.

2. Reduce Operational Bottlenecks

A retail giant wanted to identify the end-to-end transportation bottlenecks across its supply chain. Gramener analyzed several parameters such as Transit Time, Product Type & Transit Value (Cost Of Goods Sold or COGS) to determine the potential paths for increasing the supply chain network costs.

We also deployed interactive controls to aid visual exploration of supply chain hotspots. These measures helped the client identify bottlenecks in one area in the supply chain. Along this strand, shipments were delayed 200% more than the average turnaround time.

Our efforts helped the client reduce up to 50% in stock over risk.

3. Reduce Cargo Delivery Delay

An airline client with a presence in multiple countries wanted to optimize the bottleneck between flights that have landed & cargo reaching the warehouse. Gramener built a “what-if” model that showed the impact of changing the factors causing the delay.

By understanding the impact of the number of forklifts & trained staff, the two leading factors driving delays, the airline restructured its budgets, saving up to $180K with automation & achieving 70% net SLA.

Supply Chain Visibility is a Vital Component of Digital Transformation   

Gartner reported that only 21 percent of industry professionals did not face supply chain visibility issues.

You can’t have real-time information flow without the right technology and processes.

Supply chain visibility is a vital part of the customer experience, too. If your customers are getting what they need when they need it, you’ll have happier customers who will come back to do business with you again—and tell their friends about how excellent your service was.

Benefits of Supply Chain Visibility

  • You can make better decisions
  • You can improve customer service
  • You can reduce costs
  • You can improve your product quality
  • You can improve your supply chain efficiency

Learning the position of your logistics is key to providing outstanding service and keeping customers happy. On-time deliveries will result in a significant reduction of hefty fines from the clients.

Get a clear view of your supply chain’s inventory, work-in-progress, and finished goods. It includes all of your partners, vendors, and suppliers. It also provides information about where products are located worldwide when they were produced and shipped, who shipped them, and so on.

Read Now: Find out exclusive benefits of AI in the supply chain and how AI/ML solutions are leveraging data to extract actionable insights.

This data can be invaluable for companies looking to improve customer satisfaction by lowering lead times or reducing stockouts. Transparency in the supply chain can also be used as part of customer service strategies. Knowing where a particular product is in transit, you can better manage customer expectations by providing accurate shipping estimates or notifying customers when delays occur.


Supply chain visibility is essential to the supply chain and customer service processes. It helps companies keep track of their inventory, improve their operations by eliminating waste and delays, and provide better customer service.

Contact us for custom built low code data and AI solutions for your business challenges and check out Gramener’s supply chain AI solutions and help us identify the shortcomings you are facing. Our expert data science advisory team will help you define a roadmap for the digital transformation of your supply chain. Our experienced solutions team will build custom data and AI solutions to solve your challenges.

Meanwhile, if you want to learn more about our offerings and client case studies in the supply chain, download the whitepaper below.

Optimizing warehouse operations whitepaper
  • Save

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap