End-to-End Supply Chain Visibility: A wish waiting to be realized.

    Apr 17, 2020 8:30:00 AM / by Madhusudan Shankar

    In this complex business world, it is every organization’s wish to have greater visibility to their supply chain, including their extended value chain. The number of them that endeavor to realize this wish is increasing every year. The rate at which this is multiplying is significant and is is likely that this trend will continue.

    However, what we notice is a lower success rate of such actions for various reasons. This post tries to shed light on some macro elements an organization should know, in order to achieve a successful realization of an End-2-End visibility of their supply chain.

    End-to-End Supply Chain Visibility_ A wish waiting to be realized.
    1. Perception of visibility.

    This is not just about software. It’s a suite of software, processes and human capital which brings together the complete visibility of an organization’s supply chain. Its obvious that software is key, but it is the people and the processes that they design which draws a fine line between the success or failure of a project.

    There are several software products available off-the-shelf, however due to the uniqueness, differing objectives and varying complexity of each organization’s supply chain demands, a customized solution may be a necessity.

    1. ‘Visibility’ is subjective.

    Levels of visibility can vary immensely. It can be as simple as ‘Track & Trace’ of shipments moving from point A to point B, to using IoT in the MRO (Maintenance & Repair Operations) process of Aircraft, to visibility of the logistics costs for each leg and/or touchpoints that could be allocated to a unit of cargo shipped.

    The higher the level of visibility, the bigger the opportunities are to optimize the supply chain.


        3. Functions beyond ‘Track & Trace’ to achieve visibility. 

    As ‘Visibility’ is subjective, data and the ability to process it plays an important role in achieving optimal visibility. There are two key players when it comes to data.

    • Tools such as BI Tool(s) used to perform data analytics
    • Human resources and their level of understanding the business

    When the definition of visibility broadens beyond track and trace, data and the speed at which data could be made available absolutely matters to the outcome

    1. Addressing functional or department silos.

    The supply chain is mostly organized at regional levels (46%)* or decentralized to Business Units (27%)*. Though such setups are essential for day to day business operations, End-2-End visibility should be an objective set at the organizational level to which different departments or functions align to. This helps to address the silos and remove barriers (if any), allowing you to connect all the dots that are essential for visibility.

    1. Managing stakeholders of the extended supply chain.

    Contributions from various stakeholders in the supply chain are essential to achieve visibility of the extended supply chain. External stakeholders such as, but not limited to, OEMs, 3PLs, Distributors, Carriers, Truckers, Suppliers etc., and their capabilities to provide necessary data and information in a timely manner, is critical to achieve End-2-End visibility

    As the complexity of supply chain increases, so too does the number of stakeholders. An effective management system is essential to coordinate them. As supply chains become more and more extended, we may need to take into consideration that a sizeable number of stakeholders may not have the capability to provide necessary data and information, and in a timely manner. A workaround solution needs to be applied to address these constraints as such limitations should NOT be a threat to achieve ‘Visibility’.  

           So, what are other organizations doing?

    Organizations are increasingly moving from cost orientation to value orientation objectives. GEODIS | Supply Chain Worldwide survey shows 66%* of firms dedicate between 5% and 15% of their revenue to supply chain spends. They are doing so also to address the Top-5 future challenges of supply chain:

    1. Develop long-lasting and consistent Supply Chain
    2. Improve quality and compliance
    3. Improve Supply Chain flexibility
    4. Realize costs savings
    5. Manage Innovation & Technological disruption

    In order to address these challenges, having End-2-End visibility of your supply chain is a pre-requisite. With consideration of above macro elements, we believe the success rate of the organization's End-2-End visibility would improve.

    Today, GEODIS | SCO is helping our customers overcome supply chain visibility challenges through our Global CoEs (Centers of Excellence). These CoEs are located strategically around the world and are well equipped with highly trained people, thorough processes and the technology to bring End-2-End visibility for all of our customers.

    If you want to learn more about our Americas CoE click here.

    If you want to learn more about our EMEA CoE click here.


    * based on GEODIS | Supply Chain Worldwide survey


    This blog post was edited by Tom Lewandowski & Ce Noguera.

    Topics: Center of Excellence, Visibility, Supply Chain Solutions, Customer Satisfaction, Supply Chain Optimization

    Madhusudan Shankar

    Written by Madhusudan Shankar

    Madhu is GEODIS | Supply Chain Optimization specialist in Global Engineering and Supply Chain Design, with 15+ years of supply chain industry experience covering operations, inventory planning, consulting and solution design. Madhu has been with GEODIS for 10+ years and is now heading the Solution Design function for APAC, with the primary role to lead Supply Chain Consulting projects and also design 4PL / LLP / CT solutions to our customers.