The Value of Supply Chain Visibility in Northeast Ohio Warehousing & Logistics
The concept of supply chain visibility wasn’t an issue many Northeast Ohio warehousing and logistics firms considered much until just the last couple decades. Supply chain visibility is the tracking of products or components from manufacturer to final destination and making this information readily available to all stakeholders, customer included, with the goal of strengthening and improving the supply chain.
Today, supply chain transparency is a top priority for logistics powerhouses, with top-level managers across a range of industries paying close attention.
Businesses are under increasingly intense pressure from consumers, governments, non-profits and other stakeholders to delivery goods in tact and on time – and to do so in a way that is considered responsible and sustainable from ecological and humanitarian standpoints.
Consumers, Public Increasingly Demand Supply Chain Visibility
In a 2015 Nielson report titled, “The Sustainability Imperative,” 66 percent of customers said they would be willing to pay more for goods produced and services offered in a way that is socially responsible.
Clothing retailers, for example, are under more scrutiny than ever to ensure their products aren’t made by workers who are exploited or underage. Food manufacturers are more closely monitored by regulators but also the public for evidence of fraud, waste, abuse or exploitation.
That said, it’s become harder and harder to maintain supply chain visibility when so many elements of supply chain operation have been lost due to many company’s outsourcing and thus losing control over what used to be part of their own operations. The good news is that improvements in technology allow our Northeast Ohio warehousing and logistics firm to continue provide our customers with transparency and rapid response every step of the way.
Benefits of Supply Chain Transparency – and Risks of Avoiding It
Supply chain transparency means that both those involved in decision-making know what is occurring throughout the supply chain and communicate this information to stakeholders both inside and out of the company.
As mentioned, consumers are increasingly demanding this. They want to know which ingredients and materials are in their products, where they came from and the conditions under which they were produced. Companies that fall short risk great damage to their reputations and customer base. A transparent chain of supply allows companies to connect with consumers, gain public trust and build positive brand association. Some recent examples have included companies connected to deforestation in the Amazon, Indonesia and Malaysia. In some cases, they resulted in new regulations, such as the Dodd-Frank Act in the U.S.
In some cases, shipments that are missing information on their origin can be held up with costly delays or even forced to turn around.
So the chief benefit could be a company’s very survival, or at least the financial benefit of customers willing to pay more.
But our Northeast Ohio warehousing and logistics professionals at One Time Delivery & Warehouse know supply chain visibility is important for other reasons too – chiefly the manufacturer’s benefit. When no one is looking closely at the details of their supplier practices and the movement of goods, it can allow inefficiencies and even unethical practices to occur without the manufacturer realizing it.
We saw this happen with Tyson Foods, which had been unaware of practices related to one of its supplier farms until video from animal rights activists surfaced. This badly damaged the company’s reputation, and as a result, it began investigating suppliers with much more vigor and made supply chains more transparent. It also resulted in diversifying its supply chain, which reduced bottle necks and lowered costs.
Why Don’t All Northeast Ohio Warehousing and Logistics Firms Have Transparent Supply Chains?
Even though supply chain visibility is now a business imperative, not all companies are transitioning to it because most weren’t designed to be an open book.
For a long time, the general business thinking was that release of too much supply chain information might damage the competitive advantage or expose them to undue criticism. Another reason is many companies simply don’t have the means on their own to track supply chain practices and product movement. But this is why many companies are increasingly turning to a trusted 3PL, like our Northeast Ohio warehousing and logistics company.
What Supply Chain Transparency Really Means, Aug. 19, 2019, Harvard Business Review
More Blog Entries:
Smart Cleveland Supply Chain Strategies Support Business Growth, Aug. 16, 2019, Northeast Ohio Warehousing and Logistics Blog