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What is & What are the Types of Real-Time Visibility for Retail Supply Chain Management?

April 29, 2022

August 4, 2022

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x min read

Supply chain visibility is a vital goal for retail companies to pursue. However, visibility can mean many different things depending on the circumstances and the specific company in question. To help you define what supply chain visibility means for your retail company, we'll look at what supply chain visibility means and the different types of visibility that offer value to retail companies.

What Does Supply Chain Visibility Mean for Retail Companies?

The definition of retail supply chain visibility ultimately depends on who you ask. For many retail companies, supply chain visibility might simply mean tracking the location and status of shipments to determine precisely when they will arrive. For companies shipping perishable or fragile goods, visibility might also mean the ability to monitor a shipment's conditions while it is in transit. In other cases, supply chain visibility might entail visibility into the shipping processes that make up a supply chain so that those processes can be analyzed and optimized.

Whatever visibility means for your company, though, the benefits of supply chain visibility are undeniable. From making inventory management easier to helping prevent supply chain disruptions, the advantages of supply chain visibility for retail companies are both multi-faceted and significant.

Types of Retail Supply Chain Visibility

There are five primary categories of retail supply chain visibility.

  1. Track and Trace

Track and trace is a type of transportation visibility that enables companies to track the location and status of their shipments. Arguably the most straightforward and important type of retail supply chain visibility, track-and-trace capabilities answer the questions of where your cargo is and when it will arrive—both essential questions to answer when it comes to retail supply chain management.

  1. Shipment Condition Visibility

Shipment condition visibility allows companies to monitor the condition of their products while they are in transit and is an essential type of visibility for companies shipping perishable or fragile products. Shipment condition visibility enables companies to track shipment conditions such as temperature, humidity, shock absorption, and light exposure in real-time.

3. Data and Analytics Visibility

Data and analytics visibility provides visibility into metrics such as carrier performance, carrier KPIs, shipping spend, and other metrics typically accessible through a transportation management system (TMS).

4. Insider Shipping Visibility

Insider shipping visibility entails visibility into shipping processes, providing organizations with a detailed understanding of their supply chain functions.

5. Capacity Visibility

Capacity visibility provides insights into the capacity of a company's carrier partners and the capacity of its supply chain as a whole, enabling companies to ensure that there is always space available for their cargo.

Why Visibility is Important for Retail Supply Chain Management

Supply chain visibility provides many powerful benefits to retail companies. Starting with track-and-trace capabilities, the ability of retail companies to track the location and status of their freight is vital for several key reasons. For one, effective inventory management requires accurately predicting when new products will arrive at your warehouses. Tracking the location and status of your shipments in real-time also enables you to quickly identify and respond to exceptions before they cause costly disruptions. Sometimes, customers receive exception notices as a precautionary measure. For example, if a warehouse is expecting heavy snow in their shipping zone, they may tell customers to expect a 2-3 day delay. Depending on your business, it might be better for customers to be pleasantly surprised than caught off guard when their package doesn’t arrive on time.

Meanwhile, shipment condition visibility is an essential type of visibility for any company that ships perishable or fragile products. A retail company selling frozen foods, for instance, needs to ensure that its shipments are kept in specific temperature conditions. In contrast, a glassware company might need to ensure that its shipments are not exposed to excess shock. Tracking shipment conditions in real-time enables companies shipping fragile or perishable products to know when their shipments have been damaged and adjust their inventory management strategy accordingly. Shipment condition visibility also helps prevent damaged products from slipping through the cracks and making it into the hands of customers.

Other types of visibility, such as data and analytics, insider shipping, and capacity visibility are valuable for helping retail companies optimize their supply chains. Visibility into carrier performance, for instance, helps retail companies negotiate better contracts with carriers, while visibility into shipping processes helps companies identify areas of inefficiency within their supply chain.

Achieve Total Shipment Condition Visibility With Tive's GPS Trackers

At Tive, we understand the immense value of real-time visibility for retail companies. With Tive's industry-leading hyper-accurate trackers, retail companies can track the location and status of their freight in real-time. Along with providing real-time location and status updates, these trackers are also capable of monitoring shipment conditions across various criteria, including temperature, light exposure, humidity, and shock absorption.

By enabling retail companies to achieve both track-and-trace visibility and shipment condition visibility in one stroke, Tive places two of the essential types of real-time visibility at your fingertips!

Tive Makes Real-Time Retail Supply Chain Visibility a Reality

There are several different types of real-time visibility for retail supply chain management, and each type offers a variety of powerful benefits. If you would like to see for yourself the immense value gained by achieving track-and-trace visibility and shipment condition visibility, contact Tive today to learn more about how our industry-leading GPS trackers provide unparalleled retail supply chain visibility.

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