Supply Chain

Supply Chain Visibility is NOT a Product...It is a Result

Many organizations want to enhance supply chain visibility. While transportation management is one important aspect to unlocking the solution, it isn't the key.

David Blinick

February 15, 2018

Many organizations want to enhance supply chain visibility. While transportation management is one important aspect to unlocking the solution, it isn't the key.We have spent considerable time in analysis, development, and execution of solutions in complex, long, and international supply chains. Our clients and customers continuously push us to provide additional supply chain visibility into the different components of the supply chain.

Supply Chain Visibility is NOT a Product

What we have found over the years is that supply chain visibility is not a product, it is a result. What's more, what people really want is supply chain transparency, which is quite a bit more intensive than just visibility, as demonstrated in this post. But, given that most people call is visibility, we define it as knowing: (a) what you want to see, (b) when you want it, and (c) the way you want to see it. It results from a well orchestrated, integrated supply chain where data is related and contextualized across different execution functions. It is exactly like an orchestra and symphony: many different instruments, playing different parts, either in groups or individually, all coordinated by a conductor according to the score of the composer. However, in the supply chain there is no composer and there is no formal score.

You Need an Orchestra...Not One Instrument

Transportation and a TMS (Transportation Management System), is but one single group within the orchestra of the supply chain. Transportation is a connecting function between acquisition and availability. Improving the connectivity between transportation and supply and demand functions (purchasing and sales fulfillment), allows for better execution, coordination, and understanding. Once coordinated, visibility and all that it means can be achieved.In days of rising demands for reporting and compliance, both internal and external, with implications for blockchain integration and artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives, the ability to have an integrated transportation systems that is easy to use and is natively integrated into the broader supply chain management system becomes a much more compelling proposition.The largest companies can afford the inefficiencies of siloed supply chain applications. Agile, rising, and more strategic companies have to be more creative. They gain significant benefits by having integrated and orchestrated transportation management systems as a component of their supply management process. Well conceived, integrated supply chain visibility platforms enable the availability of the details of the entire supply chain. All users get the information the way they need to see it, organized as they want it, and available on demand whenever they need it.

TMS Should be Integrated

Effectively implemented and integrated transportation management systems provide benefits well beyond the transportation control functions. They allow the organization to build out better customer service within a more responsive, understandable environment. Organizations have a choice. Implement an integrated TMS as part of an overall supply chain platform. Or attempt to integrate the TMS into their enterprise systems. Regardless of your organization's choice, successful improvements allow for way better execution. It is like what happens after the conductor comes on stage: the lights go down, it gets quiet, the music comes up, and the audience gets a great experience. The parts are better together; so much better!