Top 5 Reasons Your Supply Chain Has Visibility Gaps

By David Parker, Chief Evangelist

This is the second blog post in a four-part series on defining, assessing and improving supply chain visibility as companies drive their digital transformation.

To learn more about supply chain visibility, read the Supply Chain Visibility Index: The Definitive Guide.

Many of the business and operating processes that tie locations together in a typical supply chain ecosystem fail to capture critical multidimensional data. This includes edge data about location, temperature, humidity, shock, as well as other contextual information that’s critical for advanced planning and execution.

If you’re looking to improve the performance of your supply chain and reach a higher stage of supply chain maturity, get started on the right foot by identifying visibility gaps in your supply chain. These gaps, which are found inside manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, and in transit, can hamper your digital transformation efforts.

End-to-End Visibility in Supply Chains

Here are five real-world examples of common visibility gaps we’ve seen in our customers’ supply chains.

  1. Incomplete View If your organization lacks an end-to-end, wholistic view of your complete supply chain ecosystem, then most likely you have several visibility gaps in your supply chain.
  1. Data Collection Challenges Let’s face it – if you’re relying on large, legacy ERP systems, you are at a disadvantage from the outset. You will be severely limited in terms of your ability to collect both structured data from EDI and barcode scans, as well as collecting data from new sources such as smart sensors, IoT devices, and visibility software.  And without a continuous stream of real-time data, you are not equipped to prevent expensive recalls, loss of materials, missed SLAs and compliance infractions and protect brand reputation.
  1. Limited Data Capture at the Edge If you’re using dated RFID technology for capturing information at the edge of your network, understand that it is not 100% reliable. This limitation can hinder your ability to improve the performance of your supply chain and reach a higher stage of supply chain maturity.
  1. Complex Integration Issues The difficulty of integrating heterogeneous IT systems, processes, and data architectures means that you most likely have silos of data throughout your organization. Viewing data through these multiple silos can cripple the flow of mission-critical information, since these systems don’t integrate or talk with one another. Trapped data results in poor decision making, lost opportunities, lost revenue, and constrained supplier relationships.
  1. Narrow Focus Typically, project improvement efforts are singular in scope within manufacturing, distribution, procurement sourcing, and customer management teams. To avoid the resulting gaps in visibility, you should take a holistic, company-wide approach to improving supply chain management.

Today’s supply chain ecosystem is complex and full of visibility gaps. To succeed, partner with a company like Cloudleaf that can shine the light into your supply chain’s hidden corners and track all your processes and assets. With a committed, focused approach to identifying and addressing visibility gaps in your supply chain, you can speed up your organization’s digital transformation and deliver long-term results.

All blog posts in this series:

  1. The 5 Stages of Supply Chain Visibility Maturity: Where is Your Company?
  2. Top 5 Reasons Your Supply Chain Has Visibility Gaps (This post)
  3. How to Gauge Visibility Gaps in Your Extended Supply Chain
  4. How to Close the Gaps in Your Supply Chain Visibility