Why a Single View for Shipment, Order, and Inventory Visibility Is More Important than Ever

Shipment expectations have changed in recent years, causing supply chains to seek increased visibility and collaboration across stakeholders throughout the end-to-end process.

With various groups involved in the supply chain, inside and outside the shipper’s organization, there various identifiers used to communicate the flow of goods. Each are optimized within the specific team, but not throughout the entire supply chain.

To improve communication, reduce errors, and enable teams throughout the supply chain to make more informed decisions, there needs to be a single source of truth with all these various identifiers to streamline the workflow.

Why There’s a Need for Improved Order and Inventory Visibility

End customers — whether B2B or B2C — are now expecting visibility into the delivery process. project44 research even found that 89% of customers wouldn’t sacrifice visibility into the delivery process during an economic downturn. Customers not only want fast delivery, but they want to know where their shipment is and when it will arrive.

Covid-19 is also adding pressure as people are spending more time at home, leaving consumer-focused companies to adjust to a steep increase in online shopping.

In a recent webinar, Empowering Order and Inventory Visibility, project44 Product Manager Will Blake explained, “Because of this, companies today need to be more omnichannel-focused, faster, and more visible to both those inside their own companies who are getting the products and goods to where they need to be and to the end consumer.”

With these changes happening more rapidly than expected, supply chains are being forced to adjust their processes faster than ever before.

Disjoined Identifiers and Manual Processes Hinder Order and Inventory Visibility

While many have been working toward a more streamlined supply chain in recent years, there are common obstacles that make it challenging to achieve these goals.

One of the biggest blockers to more a more efficient and agile supply chain are disjointed systems and processes. And more often than not, when there are siloed systems, there are manual processes and different ways to track goods.

Because each group within the supply chain uses different identifiers, it’s hard to quickly communicate to different teams, such as transportation to warehouse merchandiser, when something’s running late.

Many are tracked in Excel and manually communicated to stakeholders, which is time-consuming and prone to error. If one person accidentally plugs in the wrong number or misses a stakeholder, everyone upstream and downstream is working off incorrect information.

Streamlining Order and Inventory Visibility Solution

In order to access this in-depth visibility across shipment, order, and inventory, all of the data needs to be available in one central location. project44 introduced Order and Inventory Visibility because it’s essential for end-to-end visibility throughout the entire lifecycle of a shipment.

The solution allows shippers to track shipments at the order and SKU level; toggle between orders, inventory, and shipments; and gain immediate access to order history. Instead of calling individual vendors to check orders, you can see all in one place. With all the data in one place, project44 can alert users if there’s a risk or delay.

With many different teams involved in the process, the information has to be displayed in a way that’s digestible and actionable for each stakeholder.

Blake explained, “What we’re doing with this tool is combining all that information in a purpose-built tool so that dependent on your silo, your natural thought process, and how you think about supply chain, you can go into either the shipment, the order, the inventory and figure out how all the tangential pieces are moving together and impacting the overall goal of getting the right thing to the right place at the right time.”

And beyond how the data is accessed, it’s essential to ensure all stakeholders trust the data itself. Only quality data can enable supply chains to shift from reactive to proactive. In many cases, stakeholders don’t notice the product is late until it doesn’t show up when expected. With this insight further up the line, you can reset expectations and make adjusted plans.

In the webinar, project44 VP of Value Engineering Christian Piller said, “This high-fidelity data, this connective tissue, helps inform better decisions time and time again. And when you’re able to do that, you decrease costs, you improve performance, and you improve customer experience.”

Watch the webinar recording to learn more about Order and Inventory Visibility from project44 experts Christian Piller, Nick Douglas, and Will Blake.