Today, as consumers, we are spoiled. From ordering food to our door, a taxi, or any goods, we know exactly where and when these will arrive. There is no question about when it will be at our doorstep, or if we will be at home when the delivery comes, which is convenient. Looking at business today, many goods are being shipped, but we do not know where those large consignments are in transit and when they will arrive.
Bearing this in mind, we often see that it is not so common to have accurate, live tracking and visibility of large goods orders before hitting the shop floor. From our experiences as consumers, we have come to expect a similar experience in our business-to-business (B2B) environment. And there is a lot more at stake for the business than the consumer.
Real-time visibility is just the first stop on the road to what we call predictive visibility This is all about using advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms to take real-time data and make hyper-accurate predictions on what will happen next; where goods will be, and when they will arrive. Accurate and reliable predictions allow companies to start automating processes and take advantage of more advanced data analysis. For example, if you know when a truck will arrive late at your warehouse; you can better plan team resources to increase efficiency. With these capabilities, supply chains evolve from being reactive to real-time, and then eventually to become predictive.
Future Market Trends
When we look at where the market is today, supply chain visibility initiatives are more of a reality now than they were ten years ago. In 2018, Gartner surveyed companies and found that many wanted to invest in visibility. Unsurprisingly, it confirmed that companies want to know what’s going to happen and that they want transparency on what’s happening already with their goods, across both inbound and outbound flows. In a similar vein, the predictive analytics unlocked by these capabilities offer inventory managers a better grip on stock levels, and of course, contribute to improved customer satisfaction, which is at the heart of any company’s objectives.
PWC surveyed product-based companies and found that they are increasingly investing in digital visibility and supply chain. They found that the majority of these digital champions generate an extra 8% digital turnover compared to the less digitally mature companies. They were also able to reduce their costs by 7%, proving that such investments offer a double advantage.
Investing in Innovation
There’s a lot to say about investing in supply chain visibility. Everyone knows that moving a supply chain cost center to an area of strategic importance and value for your company is a mindset that has shifted over the past ten years. Another survey from Gartner found that 50% of global product-centric enterprises will have invested in real-time transportation visibility platforms. So within two years, it would be anticipated that 50% of these product-centric companies will have a transportation visibility platform, which raises the question; which side will you belong to? The one that has invested or the one that needs to invest and has seen their competition gather momentum?
One of the companies that invested in RTTV not so long ago is Belgian company, Carrefour, a well-known retailer across Europe. 90% of its stores in Belgium are run by franchisees, which raised the question for them, “how can we always know where and when our deliveries are being delivered?” The worst thing that can happen to any retailer is empty shelves, so knowing when a truck will arrive is paramount for ensuring consistent and reliable deliveries and making sure that your franchise owners are content.