The supply chain is both an integral asset and an ongoing obstacle. Without one it would be impossible for businesses, companies, and corporations to produce and distribute their goods. But in any industry and on every scale, the average supply chain is overwhelmed with inefficiencies, malfunctions, and setbacks.
Trying to transform the supply chain from the headache it commonly is into the tool that everyone wants it to be is a challenge that has received a phenomenal amount of attention and effort. In spite of that, no one has discovered the silver bullet that can resolve all problems in any supply chains. More commonly, the process has been characterized by progress on one front being canceled out by failures on another.
Now that technologies like supply chain ERP have reached maturity, a solution to a smarter supply chain has finally presented itself. But rather than coming in the form of a single tool or capability, the most successful supply chains share the same characteristic — transparency.
When enterprises are able to get a top-down perspective over the supply chain while also gaining the means to take a deep look into any and every detail of the supply chain, the kinds of issues that have historically created impediments are minimized. Transparency ensures that a complex system does not inevitably become a confusing one. To underscore just how significant a solution transparency in the supply chain really is, just consider some of the benefits that apply in all instances:
- Identify Inefficiency and Waste – These are the twin enemies of any supply chain. Once transparency is built into the system it become easy to identify rather than guess where the worst instances of inefficiency and waste are taking place and resolve them as quickly and completely as possible.
- Eliminate Delays and Setbacks – Most supply chains depend on having exact amounts of resources at a precise moment in time. As a result, when something is late, incorrect, or incomplete, it creates delays and setbacks that ripple through the supply chain. Transparency makes it easy to spot these kinds of issues before they have an actual impact.
- Introduce Scalability – Paradoxically, the success of a supply chain often leads it towards disaster. That is because trying to scale up capabilities quickly, carefully, and flexibly represents an enormous guessing game when so much of the supply chain operates out of sight. Transparency gives decision makers the means to identify exactly what needs to scale up, along with when, where, why, and how. It becomes possible to calibrate the supply chain to the exact needs of the enterprise.
- Enable Automation – Automation promises to revolutionize the average supply chain by lowering costs and standardizing outputs. The challenge is determining what can be automated, what cannot, and how those changes impact the supply chain as a whole. Transparency shines a light on the issue by identifying the kinds of routine inputs and outputs that that are easiest to automate or most necessary to automate.
- Save Time and Money – Transparency is not just about seeing everything. It is also about seeing the right things. The tools that make transparency possible also allow users to focus on metrics and moments that define the success or failure of the supply chain’s performance. Rather than digging through mountains of data, managers can instantly reference vital information, compile flexible reports, and track troubling trends in real time. That creates enormous potential to save time and cut costs.
If you are unsure whether your supply chain lacks the necessary transparency, ask yourself a simple question — can you account for all the performance failures your supply chain suffered from over the past year? If the answer is no, that means your supply chain is more shrouded in mystery than it should be. Transparency gives you the perspective you require to make meaningful improvements based on facts rather than guesses.