Improved Visibility Technology Now Top Supply Chain Priority

Adopters more likely to reduce inventory levels and order cycle times as new technology options make visibility more accessible, Aberdeen reports

Boston — January 4, 2007 — Poor supply chain visibility is a top concern for senior executives managing global supply chain operations, and improving visibility to order, inventory and shipment status by adopting new supply chain visibility technologies will be a major priority for these corporate managers moving forward, according to new research from Aberdeen Group.

According to Aberdeen research, fully 79 percent of executives at large enterprises (over $1 billion in revenue) point to poor supply chain visibility as their top concern for managing their global supply chain operations. Inventory management and domestic transportation executives also point to visibility as a critical performance enabler.

Although companies overwhelmingly desire better transparency to supply chain activity, most companies still have rudimentary levels of visibility, Aberdeen writes in its new "Supply Chain Visibility Roadmap Report." Aberdeen's study evaluated visibility technology usage across 524 companies, including best practice case studies from manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

"Most companies depend on a hodgepodge of spreadsheets, carrier tracking Web sites and homegrown department-centric applications that drain staff productivity and prevent proactive management," said Beth Enslow, Aberdeen senior vice president of enterprise research and report author. "Visibility leaders, on the other hand, are deploying visibility software with cross-functional access, and they're achieving better results across key metrics."

Benefits of Technology

The report found that supply chain visibility technology users are:

  • 2.4 times as likely to have reduced their inventory levels since 2004.

  • Three times as likely to have faster order to delivery times.

  • Twice as likely to have an on-time delivery rate of 95 percent or higher.
"Visibility technology is no longer just a standalone application," said Enslow. "Companies are finding they can exploit visibility functionality now offered by their logistics service providers, cargo portals, transportation management system vendors, global trade solution providers and others."

The wider availability of visibility technology is making deployment easier and more accessible to large and midsize enterprises, according to Aberdeen. The report identifies ten categories of visibility technology and when each should be considered. It also identifies the top pitfalls to avoid in a visibility project.

The report is available (currently free with registration) at