Insights

How Zencargo makes the visible supply chain a reality

Jul 29, 2022

In a time when supply chain visibility has become more urgent than ever, due to escalating costs, disrupted shipping conditions and volatile market demand, businesses are having to confront the limits of their own systems. With our own research revealing that 96% of businesses don’t trust their data, making the visible supply chain a reality seems like a long shot.

The irony is that businesses are clearly trying to fix this – the same research revealed that 51% of them have increased their budget for technology investment, but it seems that many still struggle for results, with 38% still lacking real time data.

Zencargo has been developing technology for the visible supply chain since day one – starting from the ground up with the goal of creating truly agile businesses that can adapt to the needs of the market, their customers and changes in global infrastructure.

In our recent virtual Navigate conference, Zencargo Director of Supply Chain Development, James Fry, explained how we approach building for the visible supply chain with our platform, going through the tools and processes that enable better visibility, collaboration and optimisation for your business.

research report

What is supply chain visibility?

Supply chain visibility is the capacity to track every step of your supply chain – from raw materials to order, manufacturing and transport all the way to the customer. This requires connecting data points from all over your supply chain ecosystem, including internal order and inventory data, manufacturing updates, transport progress and warehouse information.

To enable a visible supply chain, businesses need to be able to aggregate this information, format and segment the information for the various stakeholders and make it available for review.

The real time visibility challenge

Given the steps involved in just making information available, real-time visibility can be a large challenge. The wide range of necessary data sources, with stakeholders working on different schedules, can require extensive manual work, meaning that by the time all the data is collected, it’s already out of date.

This means notice of an exception or issue comes far too late for the shipper to take any action to mitigate the effect, leading to delays, extra costs and poor supply chain performance. Modern supply chain management platforms can automate a large part of this work through integrations and APIs, pulling in data automatically from external systems, giving teams more context to plan and more time to react.

What is supply chain agility?

As important as supply chain visibility is, the end goal is to enable supply chain agility. Agility is an essential capability in a disrupted market – plans are bound to change, and the ability to react to those changes is a key determiner of success.

Creating agility requires more than just visibility. To be agile, supply chains need the right data to provide the right insights to relevant teams, as well as the time and tools to respond to these changes effectively.

Zencargo’s platform is built with agility in mind. This starts with access to data to help teams understand the impact of any changes to their plans and providing the means to help people make the right decisions. Teams can then target long term improvement by using analytics to determine the best way to change future processes to avoid or mitigate further problems.

Here’s how our platform builds the foundations for the visible supply chain and helps you move towards an agile model for planning and execution.

How Zencargo increases supply chain visibility

Visibility is at the heart of supply chain success for businesses today. Zencargo’s features are designed to deliver the speed, control and context required to not only see what’s going on in your supply chain, but understand the wider factors affecting your performance and improve them.

Data foundations

The first goal of visibility is to ensure that performance aligns as closely as possible with planning and inventory strategy. This starts with setting the benchmark for planning according to the original ordering strategy.

  1. Our platform captures key points such as SKUs, volumes, required delivery date and planned cost.
  2. At each stage of the journey, we enrich the original data set with statuses.

This enables any changes in conditions to be tracked against the original plan. To expand available data sets, Zencargo also onboards suppliers and manufacturers to provide updates directly, with no need for chasing emails or phone calls.

platform

Issue management & exceptions

Centralising information at the PO level is the first step in keeping supply chain progress in line with plans. The Zencargo platform highlights, prioritises and presents to relevant teams, such as informing commercial teams of a potential order delay causing an inventory shortfall.

A collaborative function also provides a space for teams to chat and collaborate directly on orders to make collaborative decisions based around real-time events.

Visibility in transit

Once an order is on the move, shippers can track its progress. This shows the status from order confirmed to en route, through transit and delivery.

Any changes or delays are flagged to help teams plan intake and inventory in the event of changes in arrival date. This information is centralised at the shipment level, showing:

  • Route progress
  • Tracking, delays, and reason codes
  • Custom milestones

visibility in transit

Managing your real time supply chain

To achieve true supply chain agility, teams need not only visibility but the ability to quantify the impact of various choices and the tools to implement changes.

Our platform shows planned intake, alongside expected intake. This helps teams achieve their most basic goal: having enough inventory to satisfy demand.

Commercial and logistics teams can quickly find gaps or surpluses in inbound supply and then act accordingly. This might require slowing down some shipments that risk overstocking warehouse space or wasting stock, or expediting an urgent SKU to avoid a stockout.

Visible value with Zencargo

A visible supply chain helps the whole business perform. That’s why Zencargo integrates the key data your business needs and gives your teams the access, detail and insight to find what they need.

In a rapidly changing market, the right tools can help you stay ahead of disruption and keep your supply chain on track. To find more about visibility issues in supply chain, download our research report ‘The Supply Chain Data Crisis’ or book a call with one of our team to find out how you can bring your supply chain management into real-time.