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Doug_DeLuca
Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
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In this blog series, we look at the power of logistics visibility and how it is becoming a strategic priority for businesses. First, we explore the reasons why logistics visibility is such an important focus for businesses to maintain a resilient supply chain. Then, we examine how logistics visibility creates a competitive advantage now that reliable arrival times are a customer expectation, not just a customer ask.

Logistics visibility is the ability to track an order or movement of goods, products, and materials for a clearer view of status and progress along a process or route. With real-time order and shipment tracking, your business can be more agile to avoid disruption and more resilient to manage disruption when it happens. This agility and resilience make your business better able to maintain production efficiency as well as predict and maintain customer promise dates. Competitive companies achieve this type of agility and resilience through highly transparent, comprehensive shipping and logistics processes, from tendering and pickup to last-mile delivery. Access to precise shipment location information combined with external risk data, all in the context of your order fulfilment processes, combine to make logistics visibility a strategic imperative for supply chain resilience and customer satisfaction.


Logistics visibility is the ability to track an order or movement of goods, products, and materials for a clearer view of status and progress along a process or route.


 

Logistics visibility is a key capability to successfully address the following challenges:

   1. Responding to volatile business conditions in an agile way

Recent years have shown that nothing in business can be taken for granted. In fact, the only certainty is that we should expect change and prepare for the unexpected. Our best planning efforts aim to mitigate unexpected shipment and delivery delays, but businesses continue to experience increasingly frequent supply chain issues with significant impacts on productivity, customer satisfaction, and bottom-line profits. The key is to develop a supply chain that’s resilient enough to function effectively in turbulent markets and in the face of fast-moving events such as natural disasters, political conflicts, or labor issues. The answer to volatility begins with visibility.  Proper logistics visibility with real-time insights can help you monitor shipment status in the context of your business and order status.  Logistics visibility enables you to understand where the issues are to move in a more agile way to avoid problems and mitigate risk.

   2. Managing and collaborating with logistics partners

It can be difficult to keep up with what’s going on in your own organization – let alone managing or monitoring processes where you are dependent on your business partners and suppliers. Nevertheless, if you outsource inventory management, warehousing, fulfilment, or transportation to a third-party company, staying in sync with your partners and suppliers is critical. While logistics visibility is essential to achieving agility and supply chain resilience, it’s the collaboration with your partners that makes logistics visibility possible when you outsource critical business processes. Supply chain transparency can be challenging when logistics are in house, but transparency is essential when supply chains are global across an ecosystem of partners. The visibility that makes supply chains more agile and resilient is a team activity. Logistics visibility is essential when your success depends on your partner’s performance.

   3. Driving out costs and increasing value in your supply chains

If you want to maintain your target margins, you must keep logistics costs in check. Keeping logistics costs on target means that logistics performance must go as planned. When your product goes out for delivery, it’s the riskiest time for margin erosion. Extra handling, possibly due to unexpected disruption, can only add time and cost. Real-time logistics visibility gives you insights that help you reduce warehousing and inventory costs through more efficient processes and performance that get goods to where they need to be on time and in full. With accurate information about shipment locations, risks, and impacts, you can plan, act, and react more effectively to improve overall delivery performance. You can also reduce miles travelled and dwell time and optimize loads and fuel consumption to help operationalize your sustainability objectives.

   4. Meeting heightened customer expectations

There was a time when customers may have been happy with an update to let them know that their order was out for delivery. However, today’s customers expect increasingly detailed information about the shipping status and precise location of their order as well as reliable projected timing of arrival. Much of today’s heightened customer expectations are set by consumer online buying. B2B and industrial suppliers are feeling the pressure to keep up with shipment tracking that is on par with consumer e-commerce. To help you stay relevant in competitive markets, logistics visibility is more than the key to delivering optimal customer experiences, it’s vital to help you meet even the base expectations of today’s customers.

 

The SAP Business Network Global Track and Trace solution empowers your business with the real-time visibility insights into inbound and outbound shipments needed to drive performance and customer satisfaction.


 

Learn more

Our next blog will look at the role that technology plays in helping you achieve logistics visibility. Until then, find out more about how real-time logistics visibility technology helps you collaborate with carriers and logistics service providers, streamline operational processes, and gain advanced insights to stay on top of your transportation and logistics performance.
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