Supply chain visibility : From analogue to aggregation — a brief history and guide to implementation

David Barnard, Vice-President of Supply Chain Logistics & Consulting, Colliers International


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Abstract: Supply chain visibility (SCV) is the ability to track an order step-by-step to see real-time status updates across the supply chain from origin to final destination. Visibility enables a company to know exactly where their product is in the shipment process and can be a significant driver for a company’s improved profitability and relationships with its trading partners. While SCV is a standard expectation for e-commerce orders, adoption of visibility capabilities for non-e-commerce companies is surprisingly low. Improved visibility provides companies numerous benefits by lowering costs and reducing inventory while increasing efficiency and accountability. Business investment in new technology, increased collaboration and higher maturity levels lead to full visibility for all trading partners, while utilisation of data aggregation technology provides a single version of the truth. This paper analyses the substantial value derived through supply chain visibility, and discusses how more companies could benefit from implementing SCV capabilities.


Keywords: supply chain visibility; data aggregation; data kernel; control tower


David Barnard has over 20 years’ cross-functional Fortune 500 industry and consulting experience and a proven track record of creating innovative and sustainable supply chain solutions through expanding capabilities, optimising processes, leveraging partner collaboration and reducing operating expenses. As Principal of Strategic Supply Chain Solutions, David works with clients to leverage their supply chain as a competitive advantage through supply chain optimization, strategic business improvements and operational assessments. Working in a diverse array of industries, he has successfully implemented supply chain visibility at multiple companies and has presented on this topic at national and international conferences, including CSCMP, RVCF and SCOPE. David holds an MBA and BBA from the University of Georgia. He also has the distinction of being a licensed US Customs Broker.


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