Supply Chain Visibility: What Is It and How Specright Helps

Posted on 
May 23, 2024
Matthew Wright
Founder & CEO, Specright
See how Specright shines a light on your supply chain

In today’s complex and modern supply chains, supply chain visibility plays a critical role, enabling companies to track and manage their products, components, and raw materials as they move from suppliers to consumers. 

In an era where unpredictable disruptions, such as the pandemic, are rising and product variability is rising, having a clear view of supply chain processes can significantly enhance operational efficiency, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction. In this blog, we will explore what visibility really means to supply chain operations. 

What is Supply Chain Visibility?

With supply chain visibility, organizations can see their entire supply chains at every tier of operations. It is the ability to track every component and process involved in the supply chain, from sourcing raw materials and logistical data to delivery steps and routing options.  

Supply chain visibility thrives on transparency and the ability to access every touchpoint within a supply chain network. Different products and materials will likely have different journeys from source to end-user, and companies should understand and be able to access all of the points that make up their network in real-time.

This transparency is crucial for businesses to effectively monitor their operations, anticipate potential disruptions, and respond proactively. 

In doing so, businesses are better able to collect and share insights with customers and stakeholders, reduce operational risks, improve performance, and identify potential bottlenecks.

In a rapidly evolving market landscape, having robust supply chain visibility is essential for maintaining competitive advantage and ensuring operational resilience and excellence.

Why Does Supply Chain Visibility Matter?

Supply chain visibility is crucial for managing inventory and mitigating risks associated with it. By offering a clear line of sight into the inventory and products in transit, end-to-end visibility helps control costs, minimize delays, and avoid supply chain disruptions. 

Supply chain visibility addresses communication gaps within the supply chain so that every process can function optimally, allowing businesses to take proactive steps to manage external factors that could disturb their demand-supply harmony.

With the complex movement of goods and a rapidly evolving market landscape, organizations that have visibility into their supply chains will be able to maintain competitive advantage and ensure products get into the hands of valued customers at the highest quality.   

Benefits of Supply Chain Visibility Solutions

Here are some examples of supply chain visibility and the key benefits it can bring to the operations of supply chain leaders like you. 

Improved Planning and Forecasting

Supply chain visibility acts as the backbone of operational efficiency by providing real-time data at every stage of the supply chain. Supply chain maps and data accessibility enable businesses to make accurate predictions and informed decisions. In conjunction with monitoring trends, demand patterns, and supply conditions, companies can better forecast future needs and plan accordingly. 

Enhanced inventory management

On top of improved planning, supply chain visibility also assists organizations in inventory management, a critical tool for any retailer, provider, or supplier. With the ability to track and manage stock levels companies can maintain optimal inventory levels to meet customer demand without overstocking, and in return streamline the procurement process. Insights into product availability also reduce carrying costs and the risk of running out of stock, ultimately enhancing efficiency and profitability.  

Increased customer satisfaction

At the end of the day, the goal of most companies is to get their products into the hands or at the doorsteps of their consumers, both happy and satisfied. Visibility into an organization’s supply chain improves service at all levels, ultimately boosting customer satisfaction. Real-time tracking and proactive communication about order status keep customers informed and reassured, reducing uncertainty and enhancing the purchasing experience. 

Reduced operational costs

In order to uncover inefficiencies and bottlenecks within an organization’s supply chain, visibility is necessary. With visibility, businesses can take advantage of cost-saving opportunities, while reducing waste, and minimizing other costly errors. 

Improved regulatory compliance

In order to meet the stringent requirements and compliance measures, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), companies must understand their supply chains. Visibility enables businesses to monitor and verify that all operations adhere to legal standards and ethical practices, from environmental regulations to labor laws. Adherence to this regulatory compliance also reduces the risk of companies facing legal risks or fines, as well as reputational damage. 

Challenges of Supply Chain Visibility

Achieving complete supply chain visibility can present several challenges for businesses, especially in the absence of adequate data management solutions in place. Companies with data fragmentation and siloed workflows can hinder the movement of information. 

Integration of supply chain visibility can also pose a threat, as merging data from diverse systems and technologies can be both complex and costly. During this process it may become apartments that some companies lack the necessary data and specifications to begin with, making it difficult to address these gaps effectively. 

On top of data challenges, resistance to change is always a possibility. Creating buy-in and adopting new best practices for supply chain visibility can take a lot of time and resources. To avoid this, companies must instill robust change management strategies to align all stakeholders with new operational practices.  

At the end of the day, to overcome these challenges and reap the benefits of supply chain visibility it requires strategic planning and time.

Supply Chain Visibility vs. Supply Chain Traceability

While they work very closely together, supply chain visibility and supply chain traceability play distinct roles within supply chain management. Compared to supply chain visibility, supply chain traceability more specifically refers to the ability to track the history, application, or location of an item or activity within the supply chain, using recorded identifications. 

Traceability is essential for locating the origin of goods, ensuring compliance, and managing recalls more effectively. In conjunction with the broader snapshot of operations provided by supply chain visibility, traceability offers the details, both necessary pieces for seamless operations. 

Together these two capabilities ensure that a business can not only see what is happening across its supply chain in real-time but also have access to a detailed history of each product’s origins and handling. 

How Specright Enables Supply Chain Visibility

In today’s ever-evolving market landscape, the value of supply chain visibility cannot be overstated. To take advantage of all the benefits of supply chain visibility organizations must first get a hold of their specification data. 

With purpose-built Specification Data Management Systems (SDM), like Specright, companies can eliminate outdated, manual processes that are often slowing down operations and causing further challenges. 

In order to achieve full supply chain visibility organizations must move away from cumbersome spreadsheets to a more integrated and accessible system that enables everyone in an organization to access the data they need. With Specright all team members are provided with real-time insights, a single source of truth, and automation tools, empowering quicker and more informed decision-making. 

Be the change your organization needs. Learn more about the power of using Specright to enable supply chain visibility by requesting a demo with our team.


Matthew Wright

Matthew Wright is the founder & CEO of Specright, the first cloud-based platform for Specification Management. Specright has been recognized by Fast Company’s prestigious Most Innovative Companies list, named a Gartner Cool Vendor, and as one of the Top Places to Work by the OC Register and Built in LA. Wright is also a published author and his book, “The Evolution of Products and Packaging,”was named to the Amazon Hot New Release List for Industrial Relations Business and has a five star rating. 

Prior to founding Specright, Wright spent more than 25 years in the packaging industry, holding leadership positions at International Paper, Temple Inland, and rightPAQ — a packaging company he co-founded. He has also been involved in leading multiple M&A deals in the packaging industry, currently sits on the MSU School of Packaging and Industry Advisory Board and previously served on the Packaging Advisory Board at Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo.

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