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Benefits of End-to-End Supply Chain Visibility

by | IntelliTrans | Jul 23, 2020 | Visibility

If your supply chain management platform isn’t giving you end-to-end visibility, you’re missing out on some critical benefits and competitive advantages.

For most companies, the idea of having end-to-end supply chain visibility has been the Holy Grail of supply chain management. It’s also been somewhat of a pipedream for most of these organizations. They know this level of visibility exists and they understand its value, but they just can’t seem to connect the dots in a way that leads them to complete, end-to-end supply chain visibility.

This presents major problems for companies that need end-to-end visibility in order to manage inventory, monitor shipments, and meet customer expectations. Today, that pretty much encompasses all B2B and B2C organizations. The problem is that many shippers don’t know where inventory is located, what level of service their carriers are providing, or where the stopgaps are in their supply chains.

You Can’t Run on Incomplete, Outdated Information

Despite the investments being made in people, processes, and technology, few companies can say that they have end-to-end visibility across the supply chain. Lacking accurate key performance indicators (KPIs) based on this data, most of these companies are still running on incomplete and outdated information.

It’s been nearly three decades since IntelliTrans introduced its visibility platform, and we’ve been perfecting it ever since. To date, we’ve helped thousands of companies achieve something that’s still out of reach for many: obtaining a complete, end-to-end view of the supply chain that starts at the transportation planning stages and ends when the product is delivered to the end customer.

With a supply chain visibility platform in place, shippers can save an average of 6%-10% in annual transportation costs. These savings come not only from selecting the lowest-cost carrier and the right transportation mode, but also from achieving flawless shipment execution across the entire supply chain:

• It starts at the planning stage. The shipper gets the order from its customer, and then works to select the right transportation mode. It then executes the load with that carrier or carrier base. The pickup date is determined and the payment is calculated.

• Extreme dock scheduling. The shipper and carrier decide on a pickup time at the dock. The carrier knows exactly where to be at what specific time and what it’s supposed to pick up, to ensure the most fluid operations possible. This helps eliminate the detention charges associated with trucks sitting around the yard, waiting to be loaded or unloaded.

• Managing in-transit shipments. Using exception management as a basis, the visibility platform helps reduce transit time variations by automatically resolving these and other exceptions. Rather than having someone overseeing the entire process, he or she can jump in and tackle the exceptions that need attention (and spend the rest of the time on more important tasks).

• Shipping more loads with the same number of assets. When you optimize the above steps, you can effectively reduce transit times and ship more loads with the same number of vehicles or carriers. This can significantly reduce asset costs in a business world where transportation and equipment costs continue to grow year-over-year.

Freeing up cash. With all eyes on the bottom line in our current economic climate, having end-to-end supply chain visibility equates to shorter sales cycles and the ability to bill sooner for shipments (which, in turn, arrive at their destinations faster). This helps reduce the amount of cash that’s tied up in the business.

Reducing reliance on labor. When a plant, warehouse, dock, and/or yard are automated and running on high levels of visibility, the shipper’s labor needs can be reduced. It also means fewer “touches” on orders and reduced costs of physically moving assets. Because labor is one of the most expensive line items for any product-oriented operation, this can result in substantial savings and improved bottom lines.

In an era where transportation costs continue to rise, and with events like the global pandemic driving some carriers to introduce “COVID” rate hikes, companies need 24/7 insights into their transportation costs, fees, assessorials, and other charges. This is just one more advantage to having good end-to-end supply chain visibility, where access to data means being able to quickly identify and address inaccurate bills and invoices.

When you can prove that a carrier’s truck did not sit idle at your site for two hours, waiting to be loaded, disputing incorrect charges on an invoice—even 30 days later, when the bill comes—is pretty easy.

Your End-to-End Supply Chain Visibility Partner

IntelliTrans’ Global Control Tower provides high levels of supply chain transparency; aggregates, completes, and enhances data from a variety of sources; offers visibility into and execution of different aspects of the supply chain; and generates data-driven alerts and analytics that ask deeper questions and deliver meaningful insights.

By leveraging tracking information, the Global Control Tower provides analytics that measures key performance indicators (KPIs) like fleet cycle time, origin/destination dwell time, lane and hauler performance, back orders, freight spend, load optimization, and more. With their rate, equipment, lease, tracking, and invoice data in a central repository that’s accessible 24/7, companies can position themselves for success in any market conditions.