Research Hub > dataanalytics > Real-Time Supply Chain Visibility Solutions

March 03, 2022

Article
5 min

Real-Time Supply Chain Visibility Solutions

Your organization needs to be equipped with the right tools to access real-time visibility of deliveries that are happening on the ground level. Read on to learn more.

With the ongoing global supply chain still experiencing shortages in raw materials and consumer goods, customer satisfaction is increasingly hinging on organization providing notifications for every product movement in your supply chain network. How can you achieve the end goal of being able to keep track of every shipment and provide customers with full transparency on their orders, all while offering the best service?

The answer is real-time visibility. Your organization needs to be equipped with the right tools to access real-time visibility of deliveries that are happening on the ground level. Read on to learn more about how CDW can help alleviate your organization’s supply chain challenges with real-time visibility solutions.

What Does Real-Time Visibility in the Supply Chain Mean?

As real-time visibility in the supply chain has become a dire necessity these days, you might be wondering what it is and what it means. Real-time visibility is logistic activities that leverages GPS-tracking software to track and trace the movement of packages and goods that ship from the manufacturer to delivery for the end customer in real-time. It gives organizations the ability to plan, schedule and monitor their logistics processes across every point.

How Does Real-Time Supply Chain Visibility Work?

Data is the starting point when it comes to supply chain visibility. It can be difficult to make business decisions if you do not know where things are in your organization or the status. Next, you must pull all the available data points from you and your network. Depending on the industry your organization is in, those data points could be status updates from terminals and ports, location readings, and temperature readings. Once you have the data, you can start looking at hands-on information such as estimated time of arrival (ETA). You can also look at other important data information such as consumer demand and inventory levels.

What are Some of the Challenges in Supply Chain Visibility?

Organizations that don't have a comprehensive view into their supply chain networks have struggled with common challenges as a result — including inefficiencies in processing, managing, and organizing data, poor availability of useful insights due to technological constraints, lack of supply chain planning and execution, lack of connection between manual operations and automated systems, as well as an inconsistent flow of data between stakeholders. 

Why is Real-Time Data Important in Times of Global Supply Chain Disruption?

Real-time data in these times of disruptions within the global supply chain is of paramount importance. Investing in a real-time solutions-based platform can give your supply officer real-time data insights into your entire supply chain. It will also provide them full visibility and access to real-time trackable information such as the status of raw materials, shipping details, order receipts, and the exact statuses of orders. Organizations that can successfully manage the transformation from their linear supply chains to the complex, multilayer process that comes from having real-time visibility of their supply chain not only have a competitive edge over their counterparts, but also results in having increased productivity, transparency, and overall customer satisfaction.

How Does Real-Time Visibility in the Supply Chain Benefit Stakeholders?

If the year 2020 has taught us anything, it is that the global supply chain revealed its vulnerabilities and that transparency and visibility within your supply chain operations are key to being able to react and respond quickly amid crises. Here is how real-time visibility in your supply chain can benefit your stakeholders:

  • Manufacturers: Real-time supply chain visibility can help manufacturing companies strengthen the way they operate and give them much better insight about their volumes of production, inefficiencies, and procurement.
  • Suppliers: Real-time updates about order backlogs can help suppliers make changes to their inventory management process to be more streamlined and efficient.
  • End Consumer: Real-time visibility and updates keep the end consumer in the loop throughout the entirety of their placed order. It also enhances customer experience and satisfaction by helping them stay updated about their order’s transit and delivery status.

How to Increase Real-Time Visibility in Your Supply Chain Operations

The key to increasing real-time visibility within your supply chain operations is collaborating with an established, trusted partner to do the heavy lifting for you logistically, so that you can focus your attention and time on other business goals and strategic initiatives. If your organization is experiencing pain points with lack of visibility and inaccurate lead times for customers’ orders, CDW can help alleviate those pain points. CDW is partnered with a solutions-based platform that provides your customers transparency, real-time visibility, and accurate ETAs with their orders, and ultimately enhances the entire customer experience.

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We have key partnerships with reputable carriers to help your organization digitally transform its supply chain network to provide your customers with real-time visible updates of their orders, keeping them notified of their CDW shipments from order confirmation to delivery.

Beau Perna
CDW Director of Transportation Services

Summary

Anyone who shops online knows the satisfaction that comes from a “Your Order Has Shipped” message. Unfortunately, this message is not enough to let your customers know the exact location of their order, which is where the significance of real-time visibility arises. Your modern-day customer needs the most up-to-date information on the exact whereabouts of their order and your organization need to become aware of it and realize the importance of fulfilling this need.

According to Gartner, more than 50% of businesses have not yet actively started to build a roadmap for supply chain digitalization (Gartner 2020). With today’s supply chains having a diverse portfolio of supplier networks, a complete 360 view of your entire supply chain is more important than ever. Lacking this visibility can result in your supply chain network being inefficient, disorganized, and expensive.