Improving Visibility is near the top of the priority list for many supply chain managers, but the topic nevertheless remains somewhat vague and fragmented for many companies.
We tried to provide some clarity to the topic recently in our most recent edition of the Supply Chain Digest Letter, focused this month on the subject of Supply Chain Visibility. You can download an e-version of that full SCDigest Letter here: Supply Chain Visibility Resources Page. See also
Below, we have excerpted a section of that Letter on some recommendations for developing a Visibility strategy within a supply chain organization. We also include our just released framework for Visibility later on the page, a model which takes a more holistic view than the logistics-oriented one that for many years dominated visibility thinking (i.e., Where’s my stuff?”).
Recommendations for companies pursuing higher levels of visibility:
• Focus on “Actionable” Visibility: Procter & Gamble may or may not have invented the phrase, but it uses that concept to help guide where and how it invests in improved visibility. Visibility for visibility’s sake doesn’t do a company much good.
Supply chain managers must focus on and clearly define what specific information will enable them to makes better decisions and effectively act faster to problems and opportunities.
• Build a Proactive Plan and Roadmap: Too many companies we see add supply chain visibility in a sort of scattershot fashion, based on perceived needs in some area or another at a given point in time.
While the nature of visibility lends itself to falling into that fragmented approach, development of a master plan that sets priorities for effort and investment, and what sorts of visibility platforms need to be acquired or built (and it will always be several) will lead to a more effective and cost effective result.
• Learn the Cost Justification Math: Visibility applications can be sometimes hard to justify. Managers know there are qualitative improvements, but find the hard savings at times is not easy. Vendors can help here - they go through this over and over again. But companies need to take their templates and really dive down into the details to not only produce a plan to gets the project approved, but also leads to the promised results delivered.
(Supply Chain Trends and Issues Article - Continued Below)