Why Visibility Platforms Aren’t Just About Visibility

When it comes to supply chain visibility, there’s been a lot of movement and progress over the last few years.

Sure, it was the number one solution area managers stocked up on to manage risk in an uncertain world. And it’s been a top investment area for PE and VC firms.

And while everyone has their own opinion of these platforms, their own definition of visibility, and their own beliefs on how and where it creates (or doesn’t create) value, very few people truly realize or come close to understanding the bigger picture around the incredible value visibility data and technology can provide. 

I’ve been a fortunate observer of this industry over the last several decades both on the shipper side where I saw the need for this data and on the 3PL and asset-based trucking side where inefficiency due to lack of collaboration was king and there was no easy way to share data.

The opportunity I saw was exactly how I was able to justify to Gartner leadership that they promote this solution area from a Market Guide to the first new Magic Quadrant in Logistics in 20 years. And that same opportunity is why I eventually moved from an advisor and analyst position playing on the sidelines to joining project44 and working in the market directly.

Where just a few years ago, people did not understand the quantifiable value of these solutions beyond customer experience, we have gotten to the point where we can identify the different areas in a company’s supply chain where true value is unlocked. And we can show supply chain leaders, as well as the CFO who signs these technology contracts, where the dollar impact is on the balance sheet and in the P&L statements.

The value of visibility really lies in creating more efficient and more automated workflows. High quality data from the entire connected network was always missing and so people had to make educated guesses. Now we have data feeds from supply chain ecosystem partners in real time with high data quality powered by AI and ML. This in turn replaces “guesses” with informed decisions based on the right data.

But the value goes far beyond transportation. The data isn’t just valuable on the execution side of supply chain. It’s shared with the TMSs that can use it for more accurate real-time planning. This helps companies go from simple linear supply chain execution to real-time supply chain decision making.

Recently we have identified the value that visibility data provides to upstream planning systems for S&OE or retail forecasting or demand planning. As historic data is no longer enough to predict the future, real-time data and predictive data is what is needed for high accuracy of supply chain planning which in turn drives accurate execution.

But it’s not just the platform itself that matters. We have the opportunity to power and enrich this data with an entire ecosystem of consulting and application partners.

Visibility is no longer just about WISMO requests (although they still provide a lot of value on their own), but how companies use real-time data to sync their entire supply chain operations in an ever faster evolving and complex world.

Ready to bring true visibility to your supply chain?

Get started with project44 today