Improving the Supply Chain Visibility

Visibility and Accountability

The supply chain process can often be perceived as complex, with many moving parts. However, if it’s broken down into easily understood flow charts and steps, you gain clarity and information to support key business decisions.

There is always a challenge in understanding the exact beginning of a process. The beginning of the supply chain can be defined dependent on the type of business. For instance, for your business, this may be the factory with inputs already sourced or conversely, prior to the factory, dealing with raw materials. Defining exactly where the process starts is the first stage in accurately capturing and improving your process. 

Factories make the products, which are exported. They will ship these to either an end-user or to a warehouse, which in turn will then deliver to the end user. These steps can be illustrated from an accountability and a performance perspective to ensure your supply chain is working in line with your company strategies. This is important as you can then track either where there is room for critical errors or potential for greater efficiency improvements. 

In many cases the supply chain is thought of as a complicated process but actually it can be remarkably simple when you establish structures which allow transparency. We believe that having the high-level process, from the beginning to the end, including support processes, enables all individuals to understand the steps and requirements to ensure a successful supply chain.

Once the supply chain is documented as it is today, it can then be reviewed. This review includes accounting for best practices and incorporating feedback from those working within the supply chain. Those working in the transportation, freight, warehouse departments will have a good understanding of areas that are working well and areas that can be improved.  It is important to listen to their feedback to be able to identify areas of improvement in addition to your knowledge of standard best practices. 

Visibility is ascertained by deriving KPIs that link process steps together and can be accountable for any member of team or department. It is essential that visibility is understood to ensure supply and service levels are met consistently. 

Linking the supply chain process to KPIs of the business strategy gives full visibility of the overall business performance and enabling continual improvement. Your supply chain process can then be managed, with optimal resource allocation and efficiency planning.

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