Supply Chain Visibility: See What Your Business Is Missing


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“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king,” – Erasmus

To succeed in today’s fast-paced marketplace, businesses need to shine a light on every aspect of their organization. Unfortunately, many businesses are operating completely in the dark in regards to their own supply chains. Comprehensive real-time visibility is the only way to keep pace with the rising demands of the e-commerce economy, and it’s vital in order to stop profits from leaking out of the supply chain.

Here are three key ways in which having the proper visibility can help increase profits:

Know Your Warehouse Metrics
Tracking packages to the final customer is all well and good, but what about where those packages are coming from? For shippers, the back end costs are oftentimes more difficult to budget for, but still play a major role in their bottom line. Knowing the total cost per square foot for different facilities can help in planning updates to existing warehouses or even in creating new distribution centers. Tracking labor costs, both full-time and part-time, can help allocate resources more efficiently based on incoming demand. No matter what is being shipped, it is always shipped in something. Packaging and supplies can vary wildly in price and quality, thus affecting shipping costs even before the carriers touch the shipment. Up-to-date, insightful, and actionable data relating to these operational costs can play a crucial role in fiscal considerations, thus creating huge savings for any company.

Refine Your Marketing Strategy
The marketing department is an area in which detailed visibility to your supply chain can play a unique role, but it is frequently overlooked. Today, advertising is everywhere, and market saturation makes it increasingly difficult to get noticed, but what if there was a way to pinpoint exactly where customers are, and thus focus your marketing efforts where they matter most? That’s the advantage that supply chain visibility can provide. Current business intelligence platforms can reveal the specific regions where products are most frequently being shipped, down to the county or city level. By leveraging that insight, businesses can then tailor their message to the people who want to hear it most. Having the ability to accurately track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns using supply chain visibility is one advantage that companies with outdated technologies simply do not have.

Use Visibility for Leverage in Carrier Negotiations
When negotiating, leverage is only built by having awareness and a firm understanding of the scope of your situation. In a carrier negotiation, that means having access to every detail of your supply chain characteristics. This is unachievable if a company does not have accurate and comprehensive visibility to not only its current rates, but also its specific shipping profile. How can a business know which areas of its supply chain could benefit most from increased discounts or lower accessorial fees if they do not know which services they use or what zones they ship to the most? The easiest solution is to identify the right business intelligence platform that fits the company’s needs. There are several new platforms in the marketplace that have embraced the digital revolution and can easily provide these answers and more, all delivered directly to any smartphone. Developing or partnering with an existing business intelligence platform can level the playing field in carrier negotiations, and help save your business time and money.

Thanks to developing advances in technology, the current marketplace is moving at an incredible pace. The only way to keep up and survive is with comprehensive, real-time visibility to supply chain data that allows for intelligent decision-making on day-to-day operations. Whether by saving costs on overhead, spending efficiently on advertising, or securing favorable carrier rates, visibility is the first step for not only protecting the bottom line, but for growing towards the future. Don’t be left in the dark.

Brad A. McBride is CEO and founder of FreightOptics, the cutting-edge technology that provides one-login access to view and optimize all modes of transportation. He can be reached at

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