Supply chain visibility alone won’t yield effective supply chain orchestration; it is a prerequisite capability, among others.
The 2014 Strategic Road Map for Supply Chain Visibility research recently conducted by Gartner (and included in our new Supply Chain Visibility: Envisioning the Broader Need paper), describes the current state of maturity as it relates to visibility, as follows: “Most supply chain organizations are at Stage 2 or 3 of supply chain maturity, and thus have an inside-out view of supply chain plans, events and data. Their current visibility capabilities are most likely departmental or functional and focus separately on data and processes for planning and execution.”1
The defined maturity model consists of five stages, which means there is plenty of opportunity for organizations to make improvements in their supply chains to enhance visibility. The ultimate goal is to have visibility into not just to what is happening within your own company but extended to all areas of your supply chain, including partners. This is the shift from an inside-out to an outside-in focus. Stage 5 also entails achieving visibility across supply chain planning and execution. Attaining this level of visibility is obviously no small feat.
As supply chains get longer and more global, there has been a significant increase in the number of supply chain nodes that need to be connected and the volume of data moving among these nodes. The complexity associated with connecting these nodes – both those internal and external to the organization – is a barrier to end-to-end supply chain visibility.
Data harmonization across multiple systems of record also adds another layer of complexity. Despite these challenges, it is possible for organizations to achieve the higher levels of visibility outlined in Gartner’s model. And the benefits – which many believe include a more agile, resilient, competitive and profitable supply chain – are worth the effort. If you are looking to establish critical supply chain visibility capabilities and progress towards higher levels in the visibility maturity model, our new paper entitled Supply Chain Visibility: Envisioning the Broader Need, is a worthwhile read. Featuring research from Gartner, the paper sheds more light on the complexities surrounding the attainment of supply chain visibility and provides a strategic roadmap for supply chain visibility initiatives.
1Titze C., Payne T., Sarangdhar V., Devereux, P.; Gartner; 2014 Strategic Road Map for Supply Chain Visibility Initiatives; 8 September 2014