When we talk about having visibility into the supply chain, most of us think about being able to track the data about what orders are in what process of being delivered to their destination. When products are on the shelf, even though they may not yet be in the hands of the consumer, they have been delivered to the retailer, so the responsibility of delivering the product has been completed. But there are situations where the liability remains with someone other than the retailer, and it's possible to monitor the transport at a more granular level in some cases.
When is a commodity not a commodity? When each individual item is made to order. Not just made for the P.O. but to the specifics of the customer's requests. With traditional supply chain practices it's easy enough to get the order right for the specified number of items in the package. But when that package count is 1, there is literally no margin for error.
There’s plenty of data racing through our collective supply chain and there are lots of technology vendors bidding for your participation in their specific systems. According to Deloitte’s recent report there are a variety of factors for which timing is right for 2014 being the year the supply chain in general and procurement in particular gets beyond simply understanding that big data and analytics is important and begins to use the tools that have recently become available.
Is true happiness to be found within the supply chain? Of course that depends on your definition of happiness, and I would say that it is possible to find happiness in any pursuit, given the right circumstances and attitudes. But that philosophical question may be beyond what we are looking for in our everyday dealings with shipping, carriers, cartons, and warehouses. Still - if we define happiness as having a deeper understanding of our environment, then the answer is a resounding, "yes."
We know that supply chain visibility is a requirement for any company competing in today's global marketplace. You must be able to see something if you want to manage it. It is the key to Supply Chain Management. We have talked about the Supply Chain Control Tower and who sits in the tower, now we are going to talk about what should be going on in the Supply Chain Control Tower and what it can do for you.