Logistics providers are so often promoting the benefits of a visible and transparent supply chain. Each term refers to overlapping concepts and sometimes appear to be used interchangeable, so it can be difficult for prospective clients to understand how each has a separate impact on a customer’s experience.
The first thing to acknowledge on the road to efficiency is that untamed supply chains without a rigorous system of disclosure can become like wild beasts. Products go in and deliveries come out, but timelines and accuracy vary. And there isn’t a way to catch mistakes midstream or improve the overall structure with the lack of information available to your team.
The ability to make these kinds of adjustments with the information attained are what visibility and transparency provide for both producers and consumers alike. To clarify their different roles in this larger goal, visibility serves as one component to achieve transparency. Both are necessary in a modern supply chain network, and together they can transform your customer experience.
A supply chain’s visibility is the ability to see activity in real time at particular checkpoints along a route. With its focus in logistics technology, this is the side of supply chain the average ecommerce customer is relatively familiar with because this level of data is common in package tracking experiences. Data points for particular packages at each node of the supply chain help diagnose successes and weak points to apply changes to the supply chain and support the business overall. Without good visibility, phases of the supply chain often become siloed and therefore cannot replicate the successes of more productive divisions.
Transparency in a supply chain is the ability to see an entire supply chain’s efficiencies and opportunities for improvement across all distribution lines. The bird’s eye view transparency provides of an organization’s logistics create opportunities for larger streamlining successes.
Traditionally an internal only classification, supply chain transparency information is now becoming more available to consumers as their knowledge base grows and purchasing decisions now frequently hinge upon it. More than just a delivery timeline, a transparent supply chain often has available information about materials sourcing, packaging practices, employee benefits and satisfaction, and direct viewership into factories, pricing breakdowns and social responsibility to create strong bonds with customers.
Tools for the Future of Supply Chain
As supply chains are growing more global and streamlined, the technology and insight from visibility and transparency efforts become necessary to compete in all sectors but especially the direct-to-consumer marketplace. Now more than ever before, customers are looking for third party logistics providers that exemplify an organization’s supply chain goals for the future today to ensure the best customer experience possible.