SCM challenges

Supply chain visibility – why hesitation despite clear benefits?

Supply chain visibility is the topic that survey respondents regularly cite as a high or very high priority. Few have achieved it, however, so – what’s the hold-up?

We understand effective supply chain visibility as an overview of all processes across the supply chain from supplier to end customer. Such extensive transparency offers significant benefits across several areas and dimensions. It’s a fact that businesses that already have relatively sophisticated supply chain visibility in place boast higher performance.

Interestingly though, in practice there is a major discrepancy between how important businesses say the topic is and how often they actually implement visibility projects. In a survey conducted by the consulting firm Supply Chain Insights, for example, 96% of respondents ranked supply chain visibility as important, but only 53% feel their own performance in this area is good.

Another example: A 2013 study by the Aberdeen Group looked at the effects of supply chain visibility on cost and service levels. The analysts divided the companies into supply chain visibility leaders (the 20% of the study group that already had high supply chain visibility) and supply chain visibility followers (the remaining 80%). This Aberdeen report is titled “Supply chain visibility: a critical strategy to optimize cost and service” and can be downloaded free of charge.

In my upcoming contributions in this new forum, I want to take a closer look at this topic. What are the challenges companies face to implement visibility – and in what areas does it offer real benefit to their business? Watch this space, or send me your feedback on LinkedIn

SCM visibility
SCM visibility