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About the Author

Stephanie Miles
Senior Vice President, Commercial Services
Amber Road


Stephanie Miles leads Amber Road's global support team for the company's global trade management solutions as well as the on-demand professional services team.

Prior to joining Amber Road, Stephanie ran the supply chain visibility company, BridgePoint, for 7 years as a first tier subsidiary of CSX. While at BridgePoint, she held the positions of Senior Vice President and General Manager, and also served as a Board Member. Stephanie entered the supply chain management industry in 1992, where she held numerous positions including product and project management, and Manager of Government Programs.

She holds a degree in mathematics from Pennsylvania State University. She is a member of the National Defense Transportation Association and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals.

For more information, please visit www.amberroad.com.


Supply Chain Comment

By Stephanie Miles, Senior Vice President, Commercial Services, Amber Road

July 30, 2015



Why Supply Chain Visibility Tools are a Good Investment

Managing Opportunities and Risks Requires Three Supply Chain Visibility Capabilities


Miles Says:

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With easy access to real-time information, a company can monitor performance across the commercialization and purchase order lifecycles, including sourcing, logistics and import and export operations.
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Global supply and demand networks introduce distance, cultural and time-zone challenges, creating a need for greater visibility. Moreover, businesses are under constant pressure to cut supply chain costs and improve cycle times while meeting customer expectations. Ongoing mergers and acquisitions create even more complexity as each new division finds itself operating in silos and unable to leverage economies across the organization.

According to a recent report by Lora Cecere, founder and CEO of Supply Chain Insights LLC, two of the top global supply chain business pains for companies are increasing regulations and compliance and decreased clarity on decision-making across global and regional teams. Other major pain points included the ability to effectively use data; product quality and supplier reliability; availability of skilled people to do the job; and risk management.

To manage the opportunities and risks requires three supply chain visibility capabilities: quick access to global supply chain information; proactive supply chain alerts and the ability to manage by exception; and efficient collaboration with global trading partners. This type of visibility is more than tracking and tracing on the transportation leg. It’s following a product concept and subsequent purchase or sales order from design to final delivery, with all the compliance and finance steps along the way.

With easy access to real-time information, a company can monitor performance across the commercialization and purchase order lifecycles, including sourcing, logistics and import and export operations. With this insight, a company can improve its understanding of the impacts of decisions across its supply chain and respond quicker to potential issues. Similarly, supply chain visibility tools can help identify key metrics and create alerts to manage safety stock levels and minimum/maximum inventory levels, for example.

An Aberdeen Group report found that best-in-class companies (i.e. those with visibility capabilities) are 1.54 times more likely to capture actuals and accrue landed cost updates as an order or shipment progresses and have 89 percent total spend under management versus 51 percent for all others.

Finally, visibility enables better communication with a company’s suppliers, customers, carriers, Customs brokers and others, regardless of size, technical sophistication, and communication capabilities. Better communication allows a company to maximize revenue by decreasing out-of-stocks, and improve on-time deliveries. Automation eliminates many manual processes, maximizes operational efficiencies and lowers total landed costs. Look for tools that include data quality management, performance management reporting and document management capabilities.

Most companies that invest in supply chain visibility solutions can expect to see a quick return on investment (ROI). Seventy percent of surveyed respondents in Cecere’s report found a definitive ROI in global trade software, with the average time to achieve a return on investment (ROI) of 13 months post-implementation and 59 percent reporting an ROI in one year or less.


Final Thoughts

Some of the best practices in getting the most out of your software include attaining visibility across all modes and geographies; including your suppliers, brokers and logistics provider as key data providers and users of the cloud application; applying metrics to quantify the value of operational improvements identified via visibility; and strategically utilizing visibility for optimizing operations through reducing variability and controlling supply chain costs.   

 


Agree or Disagree with Our Expert's Perspective? Let Us Know Your Thoughts at the Feedback section below.

Recent Feedback

Some great insight here Stephanie, thank you! The need for supply chain visibility is extremely relevant at present, with the UK on the cusp of welcoming in the new modern slavery act, requiring businesses with a turnover of £36 million to publish an annual slavery and human trafficking report. In our modern age, supply chains are becoming increasingly complex, especially within the 'fast-fashion' industry, where unethical working conditions can be unnoticed. We ourselves and our clients have had great success with Segura systems a cloud-based system delivering supply chain visibility: http://www.segurasystems.com/about/


George
Copy Writer
Axon Garside
Aug, 04 2015
 
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