Characteristics of a Transparent Supply Chain

by Nicolette Emmino

By now, it’s no surprise that supply chain transparency is the ultimate goal. Transparency has become a must-have in today’s market. The problem is, it’s not always easy to achieve since the process requires companies to invest a lot of time, effort and funds. In some cases, it may even require organizations to change old ways of thinking, adopt modern tools, and hire new skillets. These barriers make it difficult to convince decision makers to take the steps toward a real transparent business.

Why Transparency?   

Transparency is a term that refers to having visibility into the actions, procedures and methods within a business. No link in the chain is kept in the dark. Transparency allows business to map the entire supply chain by gaining insight into every economic operation present along the route.

For example, management teams can capture specific information related to the suppliers such as facility certification, expiration dates, certifying bodies and copies of the actual certificates. This allows brands or retailers to ensure that each of the operators is compliant with sustainability, safety and other social requirements. In a transparent supply chain, the information that is captured can be viewed as a constant.

How can a transparent supply chain be achieved by a business?  It’s important to note that communication is the key to transparency. When there is a lack of communication it creates mistrust and hampers the complete visibility of the supply chain, as well as affects the benefits it offers. In order to avoid such mishaps and risks, focus on the following:

Collect information

Talk to suppliers and develop a clear picture of the supply chain. While hard data helps when analyzing or identify the details of potential savings or anomalies, talking to suppliers will help you to identify what’s going on in the supply chain and where the real problems exist.

Create a better collaborative process

When you work closely with suppliers, you will be able to coordinate processes more efficiently. It will help you to plan effectively and reduce potential risks.

  • Build relationships
    To maintain a good supplier relationship, you must share information with the suppliers. A relationship is strengthened when suppliers are invested in the business and vice versa.
  • Use advanced technology
    When new and innovative tech solutions are used in for data access and cloud computing, sharing information in real time becomes easier. This factor enhances the opportunity to gain a clear and timely insight into the workings of the business processes.
  • Share best practices
    Collaboration helps to build a strong culture in your supply relationships.
  • Pool existing resources
    In most manufacturing companies, the business allows small suppliers to gain access to the resources offered. This can be even initiated in small companies in order to build trust among the suppliers, as well as a robust system.

Benefits of Transparency

A supply chain that is powered by accurate and timely data minimizes the chances of disruption, improves supply chain operations and minimizes quality issues. Transparency lays the foundation for trust and increases product quality, which in turn enhances customer loyalty.

In addition, a transparent supply chain comes with the following benefits:

Lowers risk: Proper visibility helps companies identify the risks and problems at an early stage before they erupt into something bigger.

Improves efficiency: Appropriate data ensures that all the suppliers are aware of the conditions that exist along the supply chain. It allows members to make decisions based on current conditions and real-time data.

Improves coordination: With proper accountability and the right data, parties can work efficiently and coordinate quickly if disruption occurs.

Enables trust: Offering data helps build trust among the suppliers. When companies are willing to share relevant materials, procedures and sources with customers, it increases overall customer trust.

To become truly transparent requires an overall mental shift and player support. By identifying, prioritizing and visualizing risks, using data and information sharing to close gaps, and continuing to monitor important insights, companies take the first steps toward becoming more transparent.

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