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congressEarlier this year Aberdeen Group published their report: "Supply Chain Visibility" in which they made some interesting observations and assertions. Among the findings reported were some very basic statistics that reflect a growing interest in visibility: "63% of respondents indicated supply chain visibility (SCV) as a high priority for improvement, with an additional 28% indicating it was a medium priority." If that's the case, why are we not further along in the implementation of the right tools?

I think the reasons fall somewhere between privacy and apathy. Companies have a general outlook that keeps them focused internally and concerned with what's best for them. I'm not saying this is entirely inappropriate since every shareholder would likely hold a similar opinion. But what I find troubling is the shortsightedness that prevails and controls the more global forward movement toward better outcomes. The attitude is similar to what we increasingly see in our US Congress where even if something may be of benefit to the global interests, if it benefits the opposition in the least, it's to be rejected. Sadly, the apathy component of supply chain visibility is the less agressive though similarly damaging component to this equation, though it's rooted in the same kind of thought process.

Aberdeen bypasses any attempt to determine the causes of this lack of actual progress, and concentrates on its findings. Here's a quote from the report:

"Gaining visibility requires much more than basic track-and-trace functionality. It involves a control tower approach and closing the loop between planning and execution and synchronization of end-to-end activities -- from raw material to the delivery to the end customer."

The report explains that it followed 11 inbound and 9 outbound activities that occur in a full delivery cycle, and concludes that there is an increase in the number of points along the way, leading to a significantly more complex environment. This increase brings more points of failure into the process, and even if there are not as many actual failures as might be expected, the possibilities of catastrophic interruptions are increasing every year.

The need for putting some kind of visibility in place is upon us. Complexity is increasing and delivery timing becoming more critical every year. Is corporate self-interest more important to your business than keeping your production and delivery fully dependable and operational? Last modified on Monday, 18 November 2013
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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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