Supply Chain Management: Threats to Visibility and How to Avoid Them

Improving supply chain visibility has always been, and probably will always be, on the top of the to-do list for supply chain leaders, and for good reason. Improved visibility can provide benefits such as optimized inventory, improved forecasting, increased collaboration, and others to help supply chain professionals make strategic decisions. Like so many other important things though, improving supply chain visibility is tough. This is largely due to fact that many companies either do not have access to the data they need or they have trouble analyzing that data to turn it into actionable information on which they can identify, solve, and avoid issues. What are some of the biggest threats to visibility and how can you eliminate them in your business?

As accurate and up-to-date data is a must for a successful supply chain, two of the biggest barriers and the cause of most blind-spots, come from spreadsheets and isolated software systems.

Spreadsheets:Your spreadsheets are only as accurate as the person updating them and they are never going to be in real-time.  This slow process causes many data managers to take action based on partial information, inflexible reports, and old data.  Not to mention the possibility for human data-entry error that can cause serious mistakes.

Isolated systems: Much like a spreadsheet, a program that is disconnected from the rest if your systems and supply chain members creates the same problems and limits access to real-time information, or in some cases, any information at all as not every member of your supply chain will have access to the system nor will they have the information they need to successfully run their part of the chain, an issue that is sure to effect the entire process.

Supply chains are complicated, even the most simple supply chain creates a significant amount of data that must be managed appropriately for success, and access to real-time data for all supply chain participants is crucial to plan, analyze, and react to whatever may be going on.  The answer to these visibility issues is in an integrated supply chain management solution. The right solution with advanced functionality will help you fill the gaps in your supply chain and gain the visibility that allows you to properly manage sales forecasting, DRP, production plans, ecommerce sales, and other activities so you can quickly act and react to changes in your plans.

For more information on how you can improve your supply chain, download our white paper, 23 common MRP & DRP Mistakes which outlines some best practices around demand forecasting and material planning for distribution and manufacturing supply chains; providing tips for optimal supply chain planning so you know exactly what to buy, what to make, when, and who from.


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