Supply chain management (SCM) has become the core function of an organization and therefore, it is now considered as the heart of a company’s operations. Visibility is a familiar concept in the field of supply chain; which academically refers to the real time traceability of a product or service from the time of sourcing to reaching the end customer. In contrast to academic visibility, actionable visibility is simply having the information you need, when you need it so that you can make better informed decisions.
With the rise of Cloud Technologies, Internet of Things (IOT), the use of connected devices and various Business Intelligent tools, most organizations in the world are now rich with a wealth of information which can be analyzed systematically to reveal patterns, trends and relationships. This process assists business leaders not only to predict the future but also to decide on the course of action in a given scenario.
The global retail sector alone currently creates about 40 terabytes of data each hour which is not just data but are demand signals of consumers . According to World Economic Forum, by 2020 accumulated digital universe of data would amount to 44 zettabytes which is an increase of 10 times compared to 4.4 zettabytes in 2013. By 2025, it’s expected that 463 exabytes of data will be created each day globally – that’s the equivalent of 212,765,957 DVDs per day.
Collectively known as Big Data, this wealth of information serves very little purpose unless it is utilized. However, it is important to note that only about 10% of modern supply chain data is used effectively.
Actionable visibility can be achieved only if data drives the supply chain decisions and this means taking actions within the supply chain using the said data to address predicted and unpredicted events and execute on that information.
Combined data from Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), Transportation Management Systems (TMS), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions, partner networks, Logistics Technologies and via many other sources such as social media, actionable visibility can address a broad range of problems along different facets of the supply chain such as;
- Real-time visibility of inventory as it moves
- Accurate and timely deliveries
- Route planning and optimization
- Performance tracking
- Create personalized buying experience
- Risk Management
- Ability to solve more complex supply chain issues without human intervention (AI)
- Continuous Improvement
- Create reliable and consistent customer experience
- Ethical and sustainable business choices (Sustainability)