The importance of real-time visibility in your supply chain


Supply chain visibility is a hot topic among supply chain leaders. Wanting to know where your assets are at all times is only natural, and reducing the amount of (educated) guessing that your supply chain professionals are doing is one of the most important ways to bulk up both your resiliency and supply chain agility. Knowledge is power, and the more insight your organization has into how your entire supply chain is functioning on a day-to-day basis, the more of a competitive edge it has. However, recent years have taught the entire profession that traditional visibility solutions and insights are not enough to track supply chain performance. With the rising tide of disruption the industry faces every day, something more must be done to keep watch over your assets and reduce risk. 

Why traditional visibility solutions aren’t enough: an introduction to real-time supply chain visibility

The need for visibility within supply chain is common knowledge. Knowing where your shipments are, when they arrive and the condition of the products are all essential elements of delivering goods on time, and in-shape for use. Understanding how your organization and supply chain function is also critical to long-term development of a more efficient system, and helps your company gain a better grasp on how your goods are moving across the entirety of your network. However, the methodology for keeping track of this information is largely based on antiquated systems and ideas which do not work effectively for the disruption of the modern world. Many organizations aren’t tracking their supply chain data digitally, even more are relying on slower, more traditional methods – making their supply chains sluggish in the face of an ever changing world. According to Gartner, as of 2020, more than half of organizations haven’t started to build a roadmap for digital transformation in their supply chains. This deficiency in digital transformation includes a lack of real-time visibility transformation.  

Real-time visibility solutions turn the old world of supply chain decision making on its head, helping to simplify an increasingly complex world of choices while providing organizations with immediate and actionable data, making them more flexible. Actionable insights allow your supply chain management professionals to answer problems on the fly, while transforming the way your supply chain interacts with the world. By giving your organization the gift of real-time visibility, you give it the ability to act quickly, be more efficient, understand issues better, and gain a better understanding of your complex network.

The benefits of real-time visibility solutions

Real-time supply chain visibility comes with many benefits for organizations that decide to incorporate it into their networks. The advantages of having a real-time look into your network spread throughout your organization, ensuring a sharper competitive edge and superior flexibility. These benefits can be subdivided into two separate categories: immediate benefits for the present, and long-term benefits for your organization. Combined, these will make lasting impacts for you going forward.

Present term impacts

Some of the more immediate benefits companies get from adopting a real-time visibility solution include: 

  • More efficient scheduling: Knowing where your cargo is at all times helps your schedulers stay on top of moving your goods around your network. It allows your organization to minimize the time goods sit at a yard, or wait to move on to their next destination.
  • Speedy risk mitigation: Having real-time eyes on the state of your cargo allows you to quickly act to mitigate risks and the impact of uncertainty. It allows you to communicate proactively with your shipping partners or transporters, as well as keep better track of the status of cold chain logistics for regulatory compliance.
  • Cleaner inventory management: Real-time visibility allows you to always know when your next shipment of goods or materials are coming in, helping to reduce downtimes, create up-to-date audit trails and reduce excess inventory.
  • A more transparent network: A strong real-time visibility platform feeds into a single source of truth, enabling your entire organization to keep track and cross-collaborate to ensure your network is functioning in peak condition. Up-to-date and auditable data ensures nothing gets lost, and enables your team to seamlessly track everything that’s happening.
  • Less uncertainty: Real-time visibility removes much of the uncertainty which occurs when transporting assets. Knowing exactly where your assets are, as well as their condition, helps your organization make decisions based on facts, not guesswork. 

Long term impacts

  • More advanced network planning: Real-time visibility solutions give your organization far more insight into the inner workings of your network than traditional models. This information on how your network is actually operating can help supply chain professionals optimize your network more effectively than before, speeding up transportation and mitigating your risk over the long haul.
  • Cost savings: The efficiency provided by having real-time visibility allows you to optimize your supply chain to reduce costs and increase revenue while delivering your goods or products far more effectively than an organization that has not invested in real-time visibility.
  • Attract more talent: One of the best ways to attract and retain talent in the supply chain world is to give your employees (or prospective employees) the opportunity to advance their careers. Working with real-time visibility solutions provides them an opportunity to do work on the cutting edge of supply chain management technology and theory. This will help in attracting interested parties to your organization.
  • Clear communication: Being able to track your cargo in shipment down to its exact position and its safety means you’ll be able to better communicate with your stakeholders and partners about delays in shipment. Through consistent communication and clear data, your organization will gain a reputation for not only being easy to work with, but also professional at handling supply chain disruption — enhancing customer satisfaction.

How to achieve real-time supply chain visibility

The first step any organization should take when looking to implement real-time visibility is to take a close look at their current data. Surveying how your company interacts with its data, makes plans off of it, and how it is stored is critical to learn where you have room for improvement. How you interact with your data and operate your analytics is the foundation of your supply chain, and also the foundation of implementing a strong real-time viability solution. A real-time supply chain visibility solution can help shore up any shortcomings in how your data is collected and utilized, while also providing new data for your company to take action on.

One of the most important ways to ensure that your organization achieves full real-time visibility is to get buy-in from your employees and other stakeholders early in the adoption process. Technological change can be difficult for many to accept, so it’s critical to communicate that bringing real-time visibility into your organization will only make their jobs easier. By talking about the benefits of your chosen solution, you can help them understand they will be able to make better, more informed decisions. Every supply chain professional knows their job is complicated, and making it clear that this information will help to slice through some of the Gordian Knots in their way will be greatly appreciated. 

Overhaul’s real-time visibility solution

Overhaul’s supply chain platform provides organizations with the ability to go beyond visibility and gain understanding into their network in real time. By granting companies a single unified view into their supply chains, your employees can see the state of your network in real time, enabling them to mitigate risk on the fly, and prioritize their actions to ensure your supply chain is running smoothly. With a data-agnostic approach, Overhaul brings your information into clear view, providing new insights and fresh ways to increase your overall efficiency and effectiveness. 

Our solution helps you track your assets no matter where they are worldwide, or what kind of transportation method you are using. We enable organizations to granularly manage their assets, from location to temperature control. With Overhaul, you can provide data to your stakeholders and partners, ensuring clear communications and giving you the ability to refine your supply chain network to new levels. 

About Overhaul

With over 2,900 collective years of supply chain experience, we’ve been in the shoes of supply chain leaders and practitioners. Our mission is to deliver solutions that help organizations make their supply chain more efficient and mitigate risks. We provide a partnership that delivers a comprehensive approach to supply chains, from greater visibility and analytics, to risk management, compliance, and insurance, all delivered in one package. This approach allows us to truly transform the way organizations look at their supply chains.

If you’d like to learn more about how Overhaul can help your organization gain greater visibility to get insights in real time, contact us today.

Interested in working together? Let's see if we align.

Tell Us More

Have a story to tell? Let us know how we can be part of it.

Let's Connect

Need to get in touch for support? We'll respond as quickly as we can.

Let's have a chat

Learn how we've helped 350+ Global Brands with Supply Chain Visibility and Risk.

Let's have a chat