Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 55 seconds

intelIt is a given that to manage our supply chain, we have to have as much visibility as possible. Our SCM Control Tower is hooked up with logistics providers, parts suppliers, customers, manufacturing, procurement...did I forget anybody? Yup. The electronic commerce people who move this data all around for us: the Services Hub.

Yes, we are getting good info from these other sources, but our Services Hub could add value too.

Leveraging the Services Hub for Supply Chain Visibility is just one example of what services vendors are capable of. The approach to better visibility is combining existing IT technology with some more unique tools.They have explained the language of supply chain visibility, measuring the value of visibility, and building a solution with a step-by-step strategy.

Now we could look at all the current definitions of “Supply Chain Visibility” and write a book (gee, what a great idea for my spare time)! Let's use the following definition for now: Visibility gives you the information you need, when you need it and in the right context to make business decisions. It finds root causes, which now makes it “actionable intelligence”. 

That boils down to seeing what is going to happen so you can react before something does happen. Let's imagine a shipment is held up somewhere between the supplier and the manufacturer. So looking at a SHIPMENT STATUS ALERT of “in flight” data, you can predict events and make adjustments: like rushing a shipment by air or sourcing from an alternate supplier. See what I mean: only the Services Hub can easily grab this data and make such a contribution.

The Services Hub can give you three types of information: Low Value is Scorecard stuff; Medium Value is stuff you will see elsewhere; High Value is stuff you will see from your Services Hub first (like the example above). But let's remember that visibility and the whole “Raison d'être“ of the SCM Control Tower is not about “reporting”: that's “history”, and “rear view mirror” stuff that won't help solve an immediate problem. Save it for supplier conferences.

Let's first lay out our visibility requirements: community access to business information and transactions; event monitoring and alert tools that everyone involved gets to see; collaboration (everybody working off the same page); and performance management (meaning translation of raw data into service levels, processes and delivery).

Now let's see how our Services Hub can help. Yesterday's EDI Value Added Network has morphed into a modern data engine for the whole supply chain. It is way beyond earlier initiatives like “carbon copying” critical data to the immediate world. It now contains “actionable intelligence”. It is really the “system of record” for the whole supply chain. Let's not ignore it.

OK, but there are probably more steps to do: (1) Identify all the out-of-bounds events that could impact your business; (2) Work at bringing in additional trading partners (like lower-tier ones). The Services Hub is good at integrating “Web Form” suppliers/partners; (3) Identify any data gaps and work at correcting; (4) Identify rules and thresholds that apply across the supply chain; (5) Make sure your data is consistent across the supply chain (must compare apples to apples, example is the kilograms versus pounds thing). The aim is to utilize data without changing source data. (6) Services Hub is able to provide a secure WebPage to all participants in the supply chain, containing only that data that each member is authorized to see.

Utilize that Service Hub for everything it is worth!

Last modified on Wednesday, 11 June 2014
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