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Why Supply Chain Visibility is More Important Now Than Ever

Monday, October 28, 2019

5 minute read

Why Supply Chain Visibility is More Important Now Than Ever

Supply chain complexity has grown from simple domestic supply chains to more complex and global supply chains vulnerable to third party risks. Suppliers from all over the world are delivering to locations worldwide opening the door to risk created by an unmanaged supply chain and lack of visibility. Learn best practices about how to strengthen your supply chain and increase visibility.

 

The Problem: Lack of Supply Chain Visibility

Properly managed supply chains and full visibility into supply chain processes are crucial to maintaining a healthy business, especially given modern business complexities. Financial, business, and reputational risk keeps all organizations on edge and managing these risks manually can sometimes be a challenge amidst other business priorities.

At its core, supply chain visibility is about knowing where inventory is at a particular time, tracking their movement and delivery, and understanding thoroughly who you are doing business with. It’s a concept we call “visible commerce.” The problem is most companies don’t focus on the human side of trade. But when they do, they open the door to a completely transparent world of exchange, whether it be money, goods, or services. And the pure globalization of business exchanges and the growing market make this difficult.

A lack of supply chain visibility and creativity leaves your organization at risk for a few things.

  1. Disruption: Think natural disasters. Earthquakes, floods, wildfires, hurricanes, all cause a sudden disruption in the natural flow of supply chains. Not to mention, trade wars, labor disputes, and politics can also create disruption. Without supply chain visibility, organizations affected by these disruptions may not be equipped with a disaster recovery plan.

  2. Interruptions: Lack of visibility into your supply chain can cause companies to lose track of their supply network. If you don’t have the technology that permits you to forecast demand, you could be left with not enough or too much inventory at different points in your supply chain. 

  3. Bad data: Data is one of the most important aspects of your supply chain. But if you don’t have full visibility into that data or if that data is spread across disparate systems, you’ll lack the insights needed to do things such as create unity in your supply chain, increase collaboration, and predict challenges. 

  4. Wrong suppliers: More now than ever, organizations are under scrutiny with who they do business with. Greater supplier visibility is becoming a vital part of business as ethical standards and brand alignment heighten in importance.

The Solution: Supply Chain Technology

Technology is the only way to have visibility into products and assets across the extended supply networks, and the ability to immediately act on those. The answer to making the supply chain more visible is simple: smart technologies and smart solutions. In Gartner’s report, “Market Guide for Supply Chain Visibility Software,” they state that "Supply chain leaders can improve performance and lessen risk by using multi-enterprise, collaborative software for real-time insights across the value network."

Automated tools built specifically for supply chain visibility enable a smarter supply chain overall. Here's what you can achieve:

  1. Decrease disruptions: Imagine how much easier it would be to prepare for supply chain disruptions if you had an idea of when they might appear ahead of time. That’s what supply chain visibility offers. Operating a supply chain with a strong foundation on data analysis and open lines of communication help supply chain bottlenecks and can avoid disruptions entirely.

  2. Go above and beyond for your customers: Supply chain flexibility is key when it comes to meeting customer needs. Complete visibility into your supply chain processes in real-time can help you better locate where and how you can better accommodate customers’ differing needs. Typically, and unfortunately, companies don’t have visibility past their Tier 1 suppliers and if they do, their view is limited. You should have a process in place that allows you to manage all your supplier data, even that beyond Tier 1 suppliers.

  3. Drive results with data: Manual updates to supplier information lead to outdated data, failure to identify potential risks, and wasting valuable time on unnecessary updates. But with data, all that changes. Because Basware delivers 100% visibility into your entire supply chain, you get the value of rich and complete supply chain data. Processing this data through Basware empowers you with the insights you need to make smart, data-based decisions that will lead you to supply chain excellence.

  4. Get the right suppliers: The suppliers you use should share the same ethical standards as you and, in that way, become an extension of your company’s image and reputation. Ensure you’re doing business with the right suppliers who align with you ethically, meet your price requirements, boast the right experience, have the capacity to meet your orders, and are financially stable.

How Basware helps you improve supply chain visibility

Through Basware Purchase-to-Pay (P2P), buyers can handle master data for complex, multi-ERP scenarios and create a singular supplier data management process. Using Basware Vendor Manager, buyers can move the supplier information management responsibility to suppliers and use an external data service provider to improve supplier master data. Buyers can invite suppliers to join the Basware Network and further enrich supplier information against Dun & Bradstreet, and Mastercard Track Trade DirectoryTM information through the Basware Procure-to-Pay platform. Powered with this information, your organization can enable an “always-on” risk management approach, automate risk management, and enable a systematic approach to supplier monitoring.

Manual reporting creates gaps in your data making it difficult to get the full picture of your supply chain operations. Without easy, concise action into this information it’s hard to know exactly what sort of spend has already happened, and what sort of spend will happen in the future. Forecasting and planning for the future is nearly impossible and it’s difficult to gain control and get more spend under management. Basware Analytics offers customers an intelligent and singular platform to consolidate data and better predict trends and manage supply chains. Predictive analytics gives users visibility into which invoices are at risk of being paid late. This helps organizations foster better supplier relationships prevent late payments, capture early payment discounts, and optimize cashflow.

Ready to learn more?

A recent EIU report reveals that the top trends set to affect procurement and finance over the next few years are digitization, automation, and the changing climate of global trade. Download the report and learn what this could mean for your supply chain. Questions? Contact us!