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Supply Chain 5 min read

The state of freight: why end-to-end visibility has become non-negotiable

Warehouse staff performing inventory controls.

Supply chains are becoming fully transparent — transforming how logistics companies manage their operations.

Visibility in supply chain management refers to the capability to track operations and locate assets from the procurement of raw materials to the delivery of the product to the end consumer. Knowing where your goods are from start to finish has become such an important aspect of supply chain management that it coined its own phrase: end-to-end visibility.

This drive for full visibility in shipping is poised to define the future success of logistics professionals. We explore why.

Eyes on the prize

The world of shipping and asset management is very complex and losing track of where things are can become a big problem. And an expensive one too. Supply chain disruptions can trigger delays globally and not knowing where your goods are in the shipping process can be detrimental. As a result, what used to be a behind-the-scenes goal for shipping strategies has now taken center stage.

Just think of 2021's Suez Canal incident. It shows how easily things can turn from a small glitch to a significant disruption, pushing the need to watch over supply chains more closely. The ability to see every part of the shipping process has become a must for supply chain managers who are looking to keep things running smoothly and save the most precious resources: time and money.

A large container ship docks at a shipping port

Improving accuracy

Location technology is essential in achieving visibility in logistics and supply chains. For instance, geospatial data and AI can offer predictive analysis and real-time delivery tracking to help managers make better decisions for their supply chains. Logistics operations can transform into dynamic and sustainable systems, delivering a more cohesive and effective system. And it doesn’t stop there.

Location technology also facilitates the optimization of routes for transportation efficiency, reducing operational costs and environmental impact and allowing companies to operate more smoothly and transparently. It makes warehouses more effective too. Accurate inventory tracking and real-time data accessibility in warehouse management support better supply chain visibility, enabling responsive replenishment strategies, more effective forecasting and a seamless flow of goods from origin to consumption.

Because the significance of location technology in achieving complete supply chain visibility is not just about tracking the position of goods. It's also about offering insights into each phase of the supply chain for improved efficiency.

A truck driving on an overpass in the APAC region.

More visibility, more sustainability

The overarching transparency throughout the shipping process makes it more efficient, but it benefits the industry's sustainability efforts too. Tracking shipments in real-time with spatial data can help prevent lost or damaged goods and support the momentum of building streamlined, waste-less supply chains.

Knowing exactly where things are and where they are going allows logistics managers to make better decisions. In turn, analyzing real-time traffic data and rerouting deliveries helps avoid congestion and reduces the overall environmental impact. This helps minimize waste, lower the carbon footprint and optimize energy use, making operations more sustainable and ensuring goods are moving in the fastest and most environmentally friendly way possible.

Monitoring the use of resources throughout the entire supply chain ensures that all operations adhere to environmental standards and sustainable practices.

A man and a woman moving stock in a large warehouse.

Elastic fantastic

The effect of recent supply chain disruptions made anticipating and mitigating disruptions crucial, highlighting the need for agility and resilience in global supply chains. To achieve this, supply chain managers are turning to elastic logistics as a strategy for adapting to rapidly changing market demands. This flexibility, supported by real-time data and analytics from location technology is paving the way for more robust and agile logistics strategies.

Another good example of an increasingly relevant strategy for mitigating risks and enhancing supply chain resilience is nearshoring. It simplifies the supply chain by relocating production and supply operations closer to the consumer. This results in better oversight and control, leading to more efficient monitoring of goods and services. Nearshoring also facilitates closer collaboration with partners, enabling faster issue resolution.

The outcome? The logistics industry can now go from reactive to proactive, adapting to broader supply chain trends and going from responding to immediate challenges to predicting and preventing future ones.

Maja Stefanovic

Maja Stefanovic

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