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Accenture shares the benefits of supply chain visibility

By Mitchell Hageman
Mon 27 Jun 2022

Supply chains act as one of the most crucial business processes in the world today. They can even sometimes determine the success or failure of an enterprise, which is why it is vitally important for businesses to have a solid grasp on their solutions.

According to the experts at Accenture, supply chain management needs to centre around a continued focus on building resilience to manage ongoing disruptions and further boost performance. 

The pandemic created some serious issues within supply chains worldwide, with a critical problem often being that organisations did not have complete visibility of them, leading to a breakdown in communication and negative impacts on staff and customers.

When put under pressure to improve supply chain resilience, businesses will tend to take "redundancy measure implementation" and "just-in-case" attitudes, making rushed and unnecessary decisions that aren't cost-effective and putting further strain on workflow processes.

Accenture believes there is a much better way to create supply chain resilience, and they've undertaken research that gives an in-depth look into why good supply chain visibility is crucial to business success.

Intelligent visibility, which can be described as a combination of structural and dynamic visibility, is proven to be an extremely cost-effective way to build focused supply chain resilience. This is also supported by analytical techniques and artificial intelligence.

If we look closely at what makes intelligent visibility, we find structural and dynamic both have different motivations that give a more comprehensive grasp of the mechanics of the supply chain. 

Structural visibility allows companies to get a snapshot of their operations at a point in time or over a certain period, helping uncover hidden issues. Dynamic visibility is responding to events in real-time with the progression of increasingly mature capabilities.

Dynamic visibility can help determine things such as:

  • Where products are across the supply chain.
  • How plants and warehouses are running.
  • When and where disruptions are occurring.
  • What disruptions are affecting, and how.

Structural visibility can help discover:

  • Where suppliers are.
  • Where points of manufacturing are.
  • What logistics routes are used, including those of partners.
  • Interrelationships across the broader supply chain network
  • Potential supply chain risks and weaknesses

It was found that the implementation of strategic processes varied, signifying differing attitudes within industries that rely on supply chain operations. 90% of those businesses surveyed by Accenture regularly performed classic risk management initiatives, while 77% performed network simulation/optimisation/modelling. 40% were found to use data prescriptively, and only 3% used autonomous execution.

Accenture experts found that there are some pivotal takeaways for those who wish to strengthen their supply chain resilience. 

They say that when it comes to resiliency, visibility delivers and companies with greater visibility are better positioned to face disruptions. Full visibility across the supply chain also isn't always necessary or economically feasible. Businesses should focus on the most important areas they have. With the help of digital twins, companies should strive to have the basics of structural visibility in place, while dynamic visibility should be an ultimate target. Predictive visibility and autonomous execution, achieved with a sophisticated control tower, are also crucial to maximising resiliency.

Accenture MD strategy & consulting, supply chain & operations lead A/NZ Brian Sterner remarked that if enterprises are aiming for supply chain resilience, using structural and dynamic visibility can help bring more transparent options to play.

"Building supply chain resiliency requires organisations to look 'under the hood' for the full picture. Adopting structural and dynamic visibility can help provide greater transparency by uncovering hidden issues, enabling real time responses," he says.

Overall, it's clear that gaining better visibility into the supply chain will help organisations avoid excess costs, inefficiencies, and complexity to ultimately improve their bottom line.

To learn more about Accenture's groundbreaking research, read the full report here.

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