Supply Chain Visibility Is Blurry: New Report

  • June 08, 2017
  • Kristy Cartier
  • Reading Time: 2 minutes
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The recent GEODIS’ 2017 Supply Chain Worldwide Survey and the earlier Supply Chain Resilience Report highlight the importance of visibility in a supply chain for reducing costs, protecting revenue and satisfying the customer. In the resilience study, researchers found a 6% decrease in adequate visibility, while the GEODIS report revealed that only 6% of their surveyed firms have supply chain visibility. However, the situation isn’t entirely dire as some companies do have some limited insight and there are ways to get a clearer view of your cargo.

The Supply Chain Resilience Report focused on disruptions. It noted these events were increasing and often increased costs from lost productivity (idling) to increased work expenses (overtime) to even brand reputation damage. An interesting discovery for us was that 40% of those surveyed did not look into why the disruptions occurred. You can’t fix what you don’t know as the old adage says. Though some question answers did indicate interruption causes including transport network disruption (40%), inclement weather (41%) and product quality incidents such as recalls (20%).

The GEODIS 2017 Supply Chain Worldwide Survey delves further to find that there are varying degrees of visibility. While only 6% of respondents specified “full visibility” of their supply chain, almost two-thirds do have some limited visibility and almost one-fifth have “extended visibility.” Yet the desire is there to expand their remote views because these companies want to gain efficiency, become more adaptable to changing market conditions and improve their real-time customer responses.

The study showed the strong interest in using data analysis and IoT to improve visibility (two fifths for both or almost 50%). Respondents felt these solutions would “allow both a live and broad picture of Supply Chain to be drawn trough (sic) many features: from real-time flow management to parcels track & trace and financial control.” The result from a more transparent operation would provide critical information for better optimized and improvement decisions.

Some hesitation in implementing changes was revealed as the participating companies did not want to chance reducing the current reliability of their current supply chain with “uncertain practices.” One way is to outsource the solution, which the survey found supply chains open to.

If you are concerned about spoilage or other damage occurring during shipping, full stack IoT solution providers, such as CalAmp’s SC iOn™ Command, offer a simple yet comprehensive way to start adding visibility. The sensors and software provide a security net around your cargo allowing you to monitor location, disruptions and a shipment’s environmental conditions.

These tools help notify you of variations in product temperature, humidity, light, shock and movement at the package and pallet-level. The information can also be used to spot trends for optimizing routes and finding the best modes of transit. And monitoring your cargo’s environmental conditions help you stay in compliance with FSMA and other regulations from the origin to destination, even during the last mile. It can also make recalls easier to execute.

If you would like to discuss removing the gaps in your supply chain and learn about our new iOn Tag™ smart sensors, meet with CalAmp at the Cold Chain Expo in booth #5131 on June 13-15, or contact us here.

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