Supply chain visibility allows companies to track their materials, products and other items in transit in real time. It gives you a clear view of the inventory. Thus, such functions make delivery and communication between various sectors of the supply chain more streamlined. 

Not just that, it also improves customer service and cost controls through management of inventory in motion, proactive status updates, limiting disruptions and risk mitigation.

supply chain visibility

Metrics to Measure Visibility in Supply Chain 

Supply chain managers today want to know how healthy their supply chains are from start to finish. But figuring out how well your business can see the whole supply chain can be tricky. It’s like trying to jump over a hurdle. To make it easier, here are five ways to check how well your business can improve supply chain visibility.

  1. Check for Silos

“Visibility” is an abstract concept-especially when it comes to the supply chain- a string of networks. You need quantifiable information like makespan or time to deliver, many of the metrics under discussion will require a minimum number. Silos occur when the parties in the supply chain do not want to share information causing a delay in delivery goals. 

First, check for information and decision-making silos in your supply chain. Choose random pieces of operational data and see how easily you can access them. This will reveal data accessibility and the integration of your IT components. If you’re aiming for a postmodern ERP approach, this check will help you determine if you’re effectively integrating various solutions in your value chain.

  1. Supply Chain Integration

Once you’ve figured out how easy it is to find information within your organisation, try the same thing outside of it. If your supply chain uses digital tools, check if you can access information from your suppliers. 

But all of these are subjective measures. What about the objective measures? If you need to do an objective measure on your supply chain visibility, you need a deep dive into the forecast errors.

  1. Forecast Error

Even though forecast errors are objective, forecasts by nature are prone to errors. However, consistent forecast errors are a sign of a lack of transparency. When planners are unable to gain a cohesive picture of the entire value chain, their predictions will fail to account for numerous important factors, resulting in skewed results. 

Compare previous demand, shipping, and other forecasts to what took place and ask yourself a few questions: what percentage difference was there between your predictions and reality? 

When a prediction was inaccurate, was it due to an unforeseen supply chain disruption (like a natural disaster or trade dispute), or was there no discrete event that caused the difference? Are your forecasts all off in the same direction, i.e. consistently over or underestimating demand? 

The answers to these questions can begin to give you a more quantitative picture of supply chain visibility, offering you the opportunity to identify problem areas and test the efficacy of whatever solutions you implement.     

  1. Analytics Integration

To make visibility more apparent and accurate, companies might take their assessment a step further by using data analytics. Data analytics is a broad discipline and there are various types of it. 

Different types of data analysis need different levels of being able to see what’s going on. Here are a few examples of what a supply chain management of a company can use to assess their supply chain visibility.

You cannot talk about analytics in measuring supply chain visibility and not mention indicators. Whatever quantity you are measuring needs indicators. So, let’s see how such indicators can help the metrics of the supply chain.  

  1. Developing KPIs

You need quantifiable numbers to understand what is happening in your supply chain. Since the supply chain  is a complex network involving multiple parties, a single number cannot quantify the whole picture. 

However, you can track, analyse and even prevent disasters when you “quantify” supply chain data with the help of KPIs or Key Performance Indicators. KPIs can help measure how well you are doing. Through tracking and analysing them you can track the performance and the speed of your supply chain.

KPIs measure supply chain visibility by assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of various supply chain processes. KPIs track important factors like delivery time, inventory levels, and cost-efficiency. 

By using KPIs companies can monitor and improve their supply chain operations it can significantly improve visibility and informed decision-making, ultimately enhancing overall supply chain performance.

With all these metrics here is what you can do in your supply chain in terms of real-time tracking of information.

5 Ways Companies Can Incorporate Supply Chain Visibility 

  1. Real-time Tracking

Real-time data tracking in supply chain makes the process more transparent. It aids in the visibility of the supply chain and connected companies can track their shipment data in real-time. 

Gathering real-time data enables managers to quickly react in terms of data description or theft or damage. It helps to reduce costs, and causes fewer disruptions, and gives your company a competitive advantage. 

  1. Single Source of Truth for Operational Data

In certain industries that have a complicated supply chain, there is a heavy load of data. When companies and various departments in the supply chain keep the information on one platform, it makes access easy. All players can track and access relevant information in the supply chain. It also makes room for collaboration and makes going back and forth easy for all.  

  1. Demand Forecasting

By using past and related data about suppliers, equipment, materials, and customers, you can predict future shortages and problems accurately. Companies can also keep a detailed record of past problems to have easy access to their solutions.

This is the backbone of  supply chain visibility as it allows you to predict demands from the consumers. The wealth of information from demand forecasting helps you to stay ahead of problems and keep your supply chain working smoothly. 

  1. Risk Management

Supply chain visibility reduces risk through enhanced communication, collaboration, and oversight. Transparency enables more positive, frequent, and confident interactions with suppliers and purchasers, preventing minor issues from escalating. It allows you to adapt to demand fluctuations and notify customers of delays, reducing the risk of penalties. 

It provides valuable data for informed decision-making, optimising operations, and identifying threats promptly. Regulatory compliance occurs due to adherence to local regulations across jurisdictions in the entire supply chain. 

  1. Data Analytics

Data analytics revolutionises supply chain management, enhancing efficiency and competitiveness. It empowers businesses with data-driven insights, enabling informed decisions, streamlined operations, and agile responses to market changes. 

Efficient inventory management is vital, and data analytics aids in implementing just-in-time inventory strategies by analysing consumption patterns, lead times, and order frequencies, reducing costs and improving operational efficiency. 

Visibility in supply chain enables cost reduction through traffic avoidance, fuel optimization, and on-time deliveries, boosting customer satisfaction by consistently meeting delivery commitments.

2 Ways on How to Improve Supply Chain Visibility Issues

Material Shortages

Material shortages were a major disruption in 2021, affecting 56% of businesses. Wineries faced packaging and production material shortages, complicating logistics. 

To mitigate future disruptions, diversify manufacturing suppliers (57% of companies recommend), monitor supply chain automation trends, expedite critical parts, enhance supplier collaboration, and prioritise inventory management to forecast potential shortages proactively.

Demand Forecasting Complexity

Accurate demand forecasting is crucial for efficient supply chain management, customer relations, and business success. Various factors complicate demand forecasts, including product changes, seasonality, competition, end-user needs, supply/demand fluctuations, and external factors. 

Businesses employ methods like exponential smoothing and moving averages. To simplify forecasting, ensure clean data, involve stakeholders, use robust analytics, remain flexible, and cultivate strong supply chain partnership.

FAQs:Navigating the Supply Chain Visibility: Metrics, Hurdles, and Remedies

What is the supply chain visibility meaning?

Supply chain visibility refers to the ability to track and monitor the movement of materials, products, and information throughout the supply chain in real-time, facilitating better control and decision-making.

How can brands improve supply chain visibility?

Brands can enhance supply chain visibility by implementing technology solutions like IoT sensors and blockchain, fostering collaboration with suppliers, using data analytics, adopting real-time tracking, and establishing KPIs for measuring performance and efficiency.

Why is visibility important in a supply chain audit?

Visibility in a supply chain audit is crucial to assess efficiency, identify issues, and make informed decisions. It helps pinpoint areas for improvement, reduce risks, and enhance overall performance.

Is supply-chain visibility still a trend?

Yes, supply-chain visibility remains a significant trend as businesses continue to adopt technology and data-driven solutions to enhance transparency, efficiency, and responsiveness in their supply chains.


Supply chain visibility is the backbone of efficient operations, customer satisfaction, and cost control. It involves assessing metrics like silos, supply chain integration, forecast errors, analytics, and KPIs.

Qodenext uses real-time tracking, a single source of truth, demand forecasting, risk management, and data analytics to enhance visibility. Address material shortages and improve supply chain automation to foster strong partnerships.