- Though most people understand the value of end-to-end visibility within the supply chain, they're not very comfortable exposing their own piece of the puzzle, Material Handling and Logistics reported recently.
- Full-chain visibility requires everyone in the process, from the CEO of a company to the sourcing, manufacturing, warehousing, packaging and shipping partners to be on board with the plan and cooperate accordingly.
- Yet, implementing visibility may also mean being transparent about failures and specific methods, which many partners fear will cost business. In turn, many still see visibility initiatives as a cost-saving tool at others' expense, according to the article.
Visibility, sustainability, ethical sourcing and the internet of things all face the same problem when it comes to implementation: to achieve the buzzwords' promise, nearly all supply chain partners must walk in lock-step and ensure goals are aligned.
Yet, for as much as supply chain managers pride themselves on good relationships with partners, getting others to invest their own capital and labor for a joint initiative is easier said than done.
Part of the problem, as Materials Handling & Logistics points out, is that leaders have trouble aligning diverse departments under a single definition for supply chain. The supply chain means many things to many people, and defining the concept may be one of the most challenging aspects of the job for those within the industry. There's ample room for disagreement and debate since the supply chain as a concept is fluid and constantly evolving.
Yet, to achieve real visibility among all parties involved in the supply chain at any (and every) business, leaders themselves have to establish parameters that all the staff can understand and on which they can then act.
In other words, a cross-flow of visibility and collaboration will not occur without direction and definition from those leading the chain. The complexity of establishing cross-department communication and understanding can't be achieved without the clarity that a finite definition, or at least a mission, provides.
If packaging can't predict how soon shipping will respond, the chain is at constant risk of failing. This is why a CEO must take the lead in establishing transparency: If the right hand can't see the left, they cannot work together — so it takes the brain to tell each one what to do.