supply chain visibility and trends

[Blog] The importance of supply chain visibility is growing as pandemic continues


Supply chain visibility is becoming increasingly important.



What is supply chain visibility?


A common definition of supply chain visibility is the ability to track raw materials and components from original suppliers and manufacturers through the organization’s manufacturing facilities to customers. To gain benefits from this, such supply chain information should be trackable in real-time. In practice, just a few organizations are fully achieving this sophistication.


Why it is so important?


The importance of supply chain visibility is growing as pharmaceutical companies around the world look to safeguard their production through the challenges caused by the continuous COVID-19 pandemic.

Many turbulent events that happened in 2020 have challenged the supply chain and digital technologies become more important as the industry recovers. Taking into consideration supply chain complexity, the first step toward achieving supply chain visibility is to clearly define the organization’s goals. Working on the premise of the need to learn to walk before you can run, these goals should be realistic and take into account the organization’s maturity level, its IT systems, and expertise. Often it may help to bring in a third-party logistics specialist to assist.

This would likely include the need to review the IT setup and invest in appropriate supply chain software to interface with suppliers, logistics partners, and corporate software. This may also entail the need for data conversion using electronic data interchange (EDI) processes to allow corporate systems to read and use suppliers’ information. Another possibility is to consider supply chain modeling software that’s able to extract and analyze appropriate information from the data warehouse.


What are the key Supply Chain Trends in 2021?


  • Continued disruption of global supply chains due to COVID-19

Buffers and flexibility were key to building resilience into supply chains to face the global crisis in 2020
Greater visibility into supply chain activity equips organizations with the knowledge to reduce exposure and risk


  • Supplier diversity will be more important than ever

Human rights issues, fair employment, sustainability — including carbon footprint reduction, and local sourcing will all be evaluated as suppliers are selected that represent the values of the company.


  • The importance of supplier collaboration

With the goal of unlocking greater performance, companies will be looking to increase supplier collaboration and innovation.


Sources:  2021 trends; GS1 Healthcare