Making important business decisions without data is like blindly swinging at a piñata. You may make a decision that lands swiftly and allows the candy to drop, but more than likely, your choice will only catch air, exhausting your resources and leaving you with nothing to show for your efforts. If you make decisions without being able to see the entire picture of your supply chain in real-time, you’re not likely to have a positive outcome and you could even make your entire supply chain implode.
Without real-time supply chain visibility, you don’t have the important data you need to help you make wise decisions on your inventory, order management, shipping, and warehouse space. If you want to lead your business to success and maintain a competitive edge, you’ll need to know what’s going on in your supply chain, from end to end, at all times.
What Is Real-Time Visibility, and Why Is It Vital?
Real-time supply chain visibility is the ability to see crucial data on every level of your supply chain in real-time. If you have a system that allows you real-time visibility, you’ll always have access to data on your inventory levels, production stages, and other important information you need to know about your operations.
With this information, you can make educated inventory and pricing decisions, as well as other changes founded on updated, accurate, and vital data. When you know your stock levels, shipping costs, and other information, your business is more agile, enabling you to respond quickly to market changes or hiccups in production efficiency. Your fast responses to these changes allows your business to avoid inventory snafus or production inefficiencies so you can continue growing and profiting.
FINDING A SOLUTION FOR REAL-TIME INVENTORY MANAGEMENT
Inventory management software is the best way to consistently have an idea of your inventory numbers and when you need to make moves. Automation, data accuracy, and real-time updates are just some of the important benefits your business can experience when using this software with your supply chain.
When you begin to scale your business with multiple warehouses or more products, it can feel overwhelming. This is where affordable asset tracking software for both small and large businesses comes into play. With real-time management software, you can stay on top of all aspects of your business to ensure you’re tracking your assets for profitability.
How Real-Time Visibility Reduces Volatility
Supply chain volatility occurs when your supply chain becomes unbalanced and your business is no longer running smoothly. When you experience volatility, it could be turbulence within your chain that causes a stock out, excessive waste, or shipping inefficiencies. According to an article published in Logistics, your supply chain could experience volatility due to:
- Increased or decreased customer demand.
- A growing number of substitute products on the market.
- Increasing lead times.
- Government or industry regulations.
- Raw material price variations.
- New industry competition.
Demand-driven markets make it easy for volatility to occur within the supply chain. That’s why demand-driven supply chain management is key to increasing profitability and staying one step ahead of competitors in the market. Inventory visibility allows you to improve your production efficiency and ensure you’re providing quality service to customers.
When you have real-time inventory data, you can limit waste, reduce inefficiencies, and optimize your inventory management practices. Making quick decisions based on up-to-date data helps you stay proactive and nix potential turbulences in your supply chain before they cost you money or customers.
Practical Steps for Improved Supply Chain Visibility
When you have a thorough and real-time vision of your supply chain, you can make crucial decisions about your business with confidence.
STANDARDIZING SUPPLY CHAIN DATA
It’s not enough to simply receive the supply chain data you need. You also need to know what to do with it as it comes so you can make informed and smart decisions about your inventory management and production on the spot. Have a clear data strategy and understand your performance indicators as they specifically relate to your business.
When you have a consistent strategy for the data you want to use and the way you plan to analyze it, you can make moves within your supply chain that will increase profit. Identify the key inventory management metrics that are crucial to making these data-driven decisions.
For example, if inventory is your business's weakness, translate your inventory management data into information you can use. By observing the behavior of your supply chain in real-time, you can standardize your reorder numbers and pinpoint your ideal inventory levels.
ADAPTING TO SUPPLY CHAIN NEEDS
It’s not enough to simply see the data, you must also react to the data as needed to keep your business running smoothly and experiencing growth. Be willing to implement changes and to adapt to the real-time information you’re processing.
Get creative with your solutions to the problems you see within your supply chain and be open to the ways you negate inefficiencies in inventory management or production. For example, if you’re having warehouse management issues, consider making a change to the processes used in your warehouse to emphasize organization and efficiency.
DIGITAL CONSIDERATIONS TO IMPROVE FLEXIBILITY
When you attempt to adapt your business model to current market needs, you’ll need to make organization-wide changes that affect all departments. It’s hard to make these huge changes without concrete and accurate performance data to back up your decisions.
Real-time supply chain management software that provides you with widespread information on all your business’s processes allows you to better collaborate with other departments and partners to develop actionable plans for improvement. By implementing software that integrates seamlessly into your supply chain processes, you’ll strengthen your inventory and warehouse management while making confident business decisions to increase profit and customer base.