Growing supply chain complexity is the top business pressure on manufacturers seeking to improve visibility throughout their supply chains, according to a recent survey conducted by analyst firm Aberdeen Group. And it's that complexity that's piling on costs in the form of longer lead times, more inventory in the pipeline and higher supply chain management costs.
To reduce these costs, companies need to have visibility into all facets of their supply chains. "Visibility into critical activities and milestones is a necessary infrastructure element for managing supply chain processes," explains Bob Heaney, a senior research analyst with Aberdeen Group. "Best-in-class companies are more likely to have granular visibility into critical supply chain processes and events, which help them gain better control of their supply chains."
Based on Aberdeen's survey findings, the least visible activities within the supply chain are on the inbound side: order acknowledgments by suppliers, supplier invoice status, and matching up order acknowledgments with purchase orders.
Best-in-class companies, according to Heaney, ensure that their customers are serviced well. They are 40% more likely than other manufacturers to have either lot or SKU-level visibility into their inbound pipeline inventory. What's more, he adds, "they are 57% more likely to gain visibility into international inbound shipment status within hours, as opposed to days or longer."
The accompanying PACE (pressures, actions, capabilities and enablers) chart illustrates how manufacturers can progress from identifying a problem to focusing on a solution, and as a result become best-in-class themselves.