Visibility is not something evil.

These days, the issue of visibility is almost constantly pops up in professional conferences, in the press and in discussions among logistics professionals. The topic is simply unavoidable and will become increasingly important as trends show a growing need for its introduction. Quite likely, it will soon become the benchmark for selecting suppliers and contractors.

Many still see visibility as an unwanted activity of a kind of Big Brother. But in truth, the aim is not to take control but to ensure monitoring and supply information, which not only provides a competitive edge in a tender, but also contributes to the efficiency of our organization. Not to mention that transparency is also part of the mandatory ISO certification, so visibility of operational logistics processes is not only a requirement but also an obligation.

How should we look at visibility?

Visibility is a tool, an instrument for increasing efficiency. A widespread fear is that transparency might reveal errors. But this eventuality is often misinterpreted. For instance, delays are not necessarily errors but events that occur in approximately 10% of the deliveries. If we can inform our partners of a delay well in time, they can get prepared for it. On the other hand, unexpected delays result in wasted human resources and working hours, excessive use of loading gates and warehouse capacity.

In our fast-paced world even a 5-minute delay can significantly disrupt warehouse scheduling and use of space.

Experience shows that if the delays are duly recorded, an efficiency increase of up to 20-30% can be achieved by reordering the supply chain based on this information.

Obviously, principals are looking for partners who fit into the concept of a visible supply chain and who can provide them with transparency to maximize capacity.

Is it only the principal who benefits from visibility?

Obviously not. Visibility has advantages for all partners in the supply chain, with significant customer satisfaction that stems from good information flow. Delay is not a problem if it is justifiable and can be prepared for. It is better to be aware of a problem than to be unaware of it. It is of key importance to be well-informed about the delivery at all times. Visibility is nothing to be afraid of; all we need is to learn how we can benefit from it.

If I know it will fall, I’ll catch it!

In addition, visibility in the supply chain also offers opportunities. If errors come up that I can fix, then I will be able to find the cause of them far more easily in a system where everything can be traced back to its source. This will obviously offer a preventive role for the system: I know where and what I need to readjust in my organizational structure to prevent these errors from happening again.

Visibility is an inevitable development; therefore we should be prepared that it will become a minimum requirement in the very near future. It is in the interest of every actor of the supply chain to be prepared for this development at their own pace, rather than being forced to do so. By integrating transparency tools and methods into our operations and corporate culture well in time, we will not only increase our chances of getting assignments, but will also protect ourselves from hasty half-solutions.

Apparently, if we handle supply chain visibility as a door to new possibilities rather than a means of forced control, we can make a lot more advantage for ourselves. e-track solutions efficiently address these needs.