Why Real-Time Visibility Matters for Businesses (and Customers)

Supply chains. Most of us will readily admit that they aren’t as flashy as a new product launch or an attention-grabbing marketing campaign. Yet, they still play a crucial role in the success of most businesses.

They’re important, but they’re also increasingly complex. With the globalization of supply chains and variables like material shortages, weather, and even human error, supply chains are a seemingly ever-changing puzzle.

The pressure is high too. Customers now see on-time delivery and instant order tracking as table stakes, which means the burden is on companies to accurately forecast demand and outside influences to deliver goods on time and on budget.

It’s enough to make anyone’s heart race — and it’s exactly why real-time visibility into the supply chain has become even more of a priority for businesses.

Whether you’re tracking the raw materials you need for production or keeping an eye on important machine parts in transit, businesses need to know the current whereabouts and the estimated time of arrival of every single good that’s in motion.

Real-Time Visibility Is More Important Than Ever

The term “supply chain” used to be reserved for businesses that had some skin in the game. But now? It’s a household phrase for most average consumers.

“My sofa won’t arrive for six months because of problems with the supply chain. I can’t get chicken at the grocery store…there must be some sort of supply chain issue.”

People who never used to be familiar with the concept now incorporate it into daily conversations — and much of that is owed to the fact that the supply chain has become more fickle and noticeable than ever in recent years.

With near-constant shipping delays, ETA changes, labor shortages, and port closures, companies have learned how important it is to react agilely and efficiently. Additionally, the sheer quantity of shipments that are on the move at the same time every single day adds even more complexity to an already-challenging problem.

Overseeing and managing your entire supply chain might feel like an impossible code to crack — but it’s well worth figuring out. And it’s why more and more businesses have turned to solutions that provide real-time visibility.

The Many Benefits of Real-Time Visibility

When so much of the supply chain is still seemingly so uncontrollable, is it really worth having this level of insight into what’s happening?

Absolutely. While customers think of the supply chain as little more than an amorphous factor they can blame their late deliveries on, for businesses, it’s a crucial business process that needs to be monitored and optimized.

But that doesn’t mean that real-time visibility offers no advantages for the end customer. In fact, this transparency offers benefits not just for businesses, but for customers too. Here’s how.

The Benefits for Customers

Real-time visibility supports intelligent decision-making — and that helps you improve almost every aspect of the digital customer experience.

For example, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) can create predictive ETAs and dynamic pre- and post-purchase transit times. Delivery issues can be resolved through automated customer communication, drastically decreasing tracking queries.

Put simply, when businesses know more about what’s happening with their supply chain, they’re equipped with the information they need to keep their customers in the loop — and ultimately, better serve them.

The Benefits for Companies

Real-time visibility allows for automated processes and more efficient capacity allocation. That means reduced costs for businesses.

Beyond that, visibility can also have a direct impact on morale, particularly when it comes to delivery drivers. Detailed performance analyses ensure businesses always have comprehensive information about their fleets in use. Drivers can drive undisturbed, rather than continuously being pinged by control calls and status checks.

And finally, it’s hard to overstate the importance of a little peace of mind. Real-time visibility allows businesses to understand exactly what’s happening at every point of their supply chain. Even if problems occur, they have the information they need to act efficiently — rather than feeling left in the dark.

What Can Businesses Do?

Real-time visibility into your supply chain is important, but how do you get it? Particularly when the supply chain has become even more complex and fickle, it’s too much to keep track of in jumbled spreadsheets and disparate solutions.

For example, processing transport data and information that resides in various systems across the company is way too tedious — and ripe with opportunities for errors. With manual processing, it’s almost impossible to track flows of all of your goods and spot any orders that require immediate attention and action.

Fortunately, there are workflow solutions that provide a holistic overview of the entire supply chain — from raw materials to the last mile. With the help of these tools, companies can:

  • Switch from reactive problem-solving to proactive courses of action, as they have all of the information they need at their fingertips.

  • Gain access to communication tools that keep everybody in-the-know about the flow of goods.

  • Spend less time on manual activities and focus more on the core business.

  • Reduce overhead and increase capacity for value-add tasks by streamlining workflows and improving collaboration between shippers and carriers.

End-to-end visibility across the supply chain is a huge challenge for companies, and it’s almost impossible to overcome manually.

Visibility platforms empower supply chain managers to become increasingly flexible and agile in responding to both corporate and customer-specific requirements. From the production floor to the last mile, they help you proactively manage all eventualities and ensure that you make the best, most informed decisions at every step of the supply chain.

And that doesn’t just help you reduce costs, optimize business processes, and improve speed — it ultimately helps you accomplish one of the most important tasks of all: winning and retaining your customers.

Get the visibility you need into every step of your global supply chain with project44. Schedule a demo and talk to our team now.