Visibility in the Global Apparel Supply Chain

Visibility in the global supply chain has become an increasingly important factor for businesses dealing with short product life cycles, greater risks, and other challenges in today's competitive marketplace. Many retail companies, however, don't fully understand the benefits of visibility. Some don't even have a full understanding of what increased visibility is.

If you've wondered how you can truly know that your supply chain works as well as possible, you'll want to learn more about visibility.

What Is Supply Chain Visibility?

At the most basic level, supply chain visibility gives companies insight into how their materials and products move from one place to another. When you get more specific, though, you can see that there are several types of visibility. A third-party logistics company, for instance, might offer visibility into inventory, events that could slow production, and many other points along your supply chain.

For a long time, it was difficult for 3PLs to give their clients strong visibility, especially when those clients relied on supply chains that reached around the globe. Today's technology, however, has made it significantly easier for 3PLs to provide transparency and access. If you want to know when an overseas shipment is placed on a ship and when that ship leaves port, you should have the opportunity to view that information. If you want to know when a truck will reach one of your stores, you should have access to that information as well.

How Does a Company Achieve Supply Chain Visibility?

As the technology changes, the definition of visibility shifts, too. At present, technologies such as GPS tracking can make it relatively simple for you and other business managers to gain the insights needed to make informed decisions that could reduce costs and increase customer satisfaction.

Perhaps most important, you need internal alignment within your company that considers factors such as the following:

  • Inbound logistics expenses
  • Outbound logistics expenses
  • Procurement costs
  • Operations expenses
  • Inventory expenses
  • Sale price per SKU

Not surprisingly, controlling these factors depends on having access to reliable data. It's extremely difficult for most businesses to create the kind of data-driven system needed to provide good visibility. A 3PL that works with clients all over the world, however, can invest in tools that make access easier.

Where Can You Find Global Supply Chain Visibility?

Hiring a 3PL might sound like the opposite of reaching internal alignment. A 3PL that has invested in the latest technologies, however, can embed itself in your company. Instead of acting like a separate company, it becomes seamlessly integrated with your business. It's like having a department that specializes in supply chain optimization. The big difference is that you don't have to invest in the technology and other resources needed to optimize the supply chain and make every point more visible.

A 3PL can also help with internal alignment when it comes to cost. A 3PL that offers a complete set of services can offer clients the ability to leverage relationships in areas they cite as internal alignment categories. For instance, when TALG moves a large quantity of containers inbound from Asia, your container volume could be added to an existing container volume, improving your overall cost of transportation.

The Apparel Logistics Group specializes in working with apparel retailers that want to improve their supply chains so they can remain competitive in the global economy. Requesting a consultation with TALG is the first step toward increasing the visibility of your business's global supply chain.

Posted: 9/7/2016 5:43:29 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

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