With the environment becoming immensely tough, defined by demanding customers, popularity of e-commerce and heavy competition, an organization, in order to be sustainable and profitable needs to look for highly innovative solutions to place them in a strong position. In today’s globalized world, where communication and transparency have become indispensable to success, no organization can choose to have a disconnected supply chain network. Supply chain visibility today forms the crux of any business.
So, what really is supply chain visibility?
As we know, the supply chain is a network consisting of several functions that enable the transformation of raw material into finished products and ensure they are pushed ahead to the end customers. In effect, supply chain involves a series of business critical functions, such as procurement, manufacturing, logistics, customer service, and much more. How well a business is able to carry out its supply chain activities determines business efficiency. In today’s multi-channelled environment, supply chain needs to incorporate a high degree of visibility to ensure all stakeholders remain abreast of all that is occurring within the chain. Right from suppliers to end customers, every player needs to have end-to-end information to maximize supply chain performance. Lack of information or wrong inputs can have a domino effect on the network, bringing the entire business down. Thus, supply chain visibility and transparency is the need of the hour.
Supply chain visibility, although significant to business success, is not easy to achieve. Building a system that allows deep visibility into each activity in real time is an onerous task and requires implementation of complex infrastructure. To have complete visibility, business requires insights into humungous amounts of real time data that is generated at every stage of the supply chain process. This is an immensely challenging task. You need to invest in installing highly sensitive devices that enable connectivity and ensure seamless communication through the network and this network would most likely be geographically extremely vast and comprising hundreds of stakeholders spread across the world, each group having different regulations and boundaries. Building such a system becomes even more difficult when you have to connect your internal business with external stakeholders such as your suppliers and partners, who may definitely not share the same IT capabilities as your business.
When information is stored in numerous forms and a number of different locations, it limits the creation of a transparent and visible system. When all stakeholders do not have access to real time information or view dated fragments of updates, the result is a highly unsynchronized business and productivity and profitability ultimately takes a hit. Thus, for a truly integrated and connected system, needless to say, visibility is of utmost importance but attaining supply chain visibility and connectedness is a daunting task.
To ensure that multiple stakeholders across the entire supply chain network have the same view and are updated in real time of all the activities that are happening across the world, businesses are moving towards platforms that allow easy sharing, viewing, and communication. They are moving towards cloud based platforms that facilitate visibility and bring together internal and external business partners on the same level, cultivating a more visible and connected environment.
Cloud based platforms such as Oracle data integration Cloud renders your business more visibility by providing you with actionable insights from the various supply chain activities, and merges your in-house IT capabilities with the external world. It allows multiple stakeholders to come together on the same platform to communicate, share, and collaborate. For example, when business has installed cloud, supply chain managers can in real time have access to dashboards that let them know where the product is currently located and whether it would be delivered on time. If there is a possibility of delayed delivery, they can immediately take action to resolve any hiccups. Thus, cloud helps to establish connectivity across functions and enables smooth flow of information. This way, the manager can instantly trace shipment and ensure that speed and quality.
Security is a major concern and cloud technologies ensure business is capacitated with the best of the best protection that at all times ensure the highest levels of data security and guards business against potential threats and cyber-attacks.
Now, with a collaborative cloud platform in place, the business is able to build a connected structure that encourages greater collaboration among all touch-points. A tightly connected cloud network infuses your business with technologies that open up great avenues for collaboration and visibility that ultimately leads to quick and effective decision making.