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Top 3 Reasons Manufacturers Can’t Achieve Supply Chain Visibility and How to Solve It

Updated: Oct 16, 2023



As the global supply chain industry continues to evolve, manufacturing organizations are struggling to achieve supply chain visibility. The absence of supply chain visibility poses significant challenges to stakeholders, including analysts, managers, and C-Level executives.


Analysts feel the direct impact in their day-to-day activities as they try to retrieve data from multiple systems and assess old information. Managers face the challenge of explaining the consequences of excess spending and poor response to disruptions in the supply chain. Meanwhile, C-Level Executives bear the brunt of the negative outcomes in the bottom line.


Unfortunately, mid-sized manufacturing companies often struggle to obtain supply chain visibility as they scale and require appropriate tools and technologies to support their growth. In this regard, it is essential to identify the top three reasons for this challenge.


Addressing these challenges is critical to achieving supply chain visibility and maintaining a competitive edge in the market.


Manufacturers Face 3 Obstacles in Supply Chain Visibility


1. Data Fragmentation and Integration Challenges:


Manufacturing supply chains often involve various systems, departments, and partners, leading to data fragmentation. Data might reside in different software systems, spreadsheets, or databases. Integrating and consolidating this data into a single, coherent view can be complex and time-consuming, especially if the systems used by different stakeholders are not interoperable. The lack of standardized data formats and communication protocols can further hinder integration efforts.


2. Lack of Real-Time Data Sharing:


Supply chain visibility requires timely access to accurate and up-to-date information across the entire chain. However, delays in data sharing, manual data entry, and reliance on outdated methods like email or phone calls can result in information gaps. Inefficiencies in data collection and sharing processes can prevent real-time insights, leading to difficulties in responding quickly to disruptions or changes in demand.


3. Limited Technology Adoption and Investment:


Some manufacturing companies might not have fully embraced technology solutions that enable supply chain visibility. Legacy systems, outdated software, or a lack of investment in modern supply chain management tools can impede progress. Adopting new technologies often requires financial resources, training, and a change in organizational mindset. Resistance to change and fear of disrupting existing processes can slow down the adoption of solutions that could improve visibility.


Successfully achieving supply chain visibility requires a holistic approach that involves collaboration among internal departments, external partners, and technology providers. As supply chain visibility becomes a crucial factor in maintaining a competitive edge, manufacturers need to ensure they have a clear view of their operations and invest in the tools necessary to achieve it. With the proper tools and mindset, manufacturers can overcome these challenges and emerge as industry leaders.


3 Ways to Start Improving Your Supply Chain Visibility


1. Adopt Integrated Supply Chain Software:


Invest in modern supply chain management software that integrates different stages of your supply chain, from procurement to distribution. This unified system should enable real-time data sharing, tracking, and collaboration among all stakeholders, helping to eliminate data silos and fragmentation.


2. Implement Real-Time Tracking Technologies:


Utilize technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) devices, RFID tags, and GPS tracking to monitor the movement and status of goods throughout the supply chain. Real-time tracking provides visibility into inventory levels, transportation status, and potential delays, allowing for quick decision-making and response to disruptions.


3. Enhance Data-Driven Actions:


Establish standardized data-sharing protocols and communication channels with suppliers, partners, and distributors. Encourage the use of digital platforms for order placement, shipment updates, and inventory management. Clear and automated data exchange enhances transparency and reduces manual errors. Leverage the insights gained from data to make informed decisions, optimize processes, and drive continuous improvement.


By taking these three steps, manufacturing companies can significantly enhance their supply chain visibility, leading to better decision-making, improved efficiency, and more resilient operations. While it can be a daunting process, manufacturing companies can turn to third-party solution providers such as The Owl to help them get started.


The Owl’s team is equipped with both data science and supply chain experts, ensuring that our customers can bridge the gap between supply chain knowledge and IT. We understand supply chain pain points and have developed a solution that integrates all your data points into a dashboard that lives in the cloud. This dashboard presents core KPIs that are relevant to different areas of your supply chain – ensuring that you are always looking at the most up-to-date data.


What does that mean for users?


The analyst can spend less time manually scrubbing data and more time on strategic initiatives.


Managers are equipped with a more risk-averse supply chain with anomalies detected well in advance.


C-Level Executives are happy with the numbers reflected in their bottom lines.


To learn more about our approach and how our solution can positively impact your business outcomes, book a short 15-minute call with The Owl team today.



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