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Chemicals Industry: How to Create Real-Time Supply Chain Visibility?

31 January 2019

What is the best way to achieve supply chain visibility in the chemicals industry? What data do you need and how can you optimize your transport management software? A look at research, examples and best practices for improving supply chain visibility in the chemicals sector. 

How can you create supply chain visibility in the chemicals industry?

Last November SupplyStack organized an exclusive event on real-time visibility in the chemicals industry, with an impressive line-up of companies joining our roundtable on supply chain visibility:

BASF - ExxonMobile - Axalta - Lanark - Deloitte - Chemours - Eastman - Huntsman - Umicore - Suez - Ravago

The roundtable was followed by expert insights sessions from Kevin Overdulve, Director in Logistics and Distribution at Deloitte and Lora Cecere, founder of Supply Chain Insights who opened the roundtable with the following wise words: “To move forward, we must learn from the past to unlearn and rethink the future”.

The goal? Bringing together supply chain peers and experts to share experiences, define the essence of visibility and discuss the challenges and opportunities in obtaining real-time visibility in the supply chain.

What is supply chain visibility?

As “visibility” is a buzzword, we started with defining a common understanding of real-time visibility for the roundtable session. As Heleen Hofkens (ExxonMobil) summarized: “What type of real-time data is really needed to serve our customers better? And also: what does real-time actually mean?”. These sessions resulted in a very interesting and open interaction between all the attendees and regarding different - sometimes delicate - topics.

5 learnings about real-time visibility in your supply chain

  1. Customer satisfaction is key: 90% of the attendees confirmed that increased customer expectations and experience is the key driver for having real-time supply chain visibility.

  2. Supply chain visibility is more than just having GPS data and ETA: True end to end, real time supply chain visibility is only possible by bringing users, systems and data together in one transport management system. Not just within the internal supply chain organization, but also with external parties like carriers.

  3. Classic ERP and transport management systems (TMS) aren’t fit for purpose: When it comes to collaboration and streaming data an ERP falls short. “If you spend a lot of time chasing information, you don’t have any time left to be proactive to your customers”, Michiel Segers (Ravago) added.

  4. Don’t forget the carrier: The time has come for shippers and carriers to create a partnership. In the past, shippers have squeezed prices of the carriers but due to the current transport capacity shortage, there’s a new distribution of power in the supply chain. In order to have real-time visibility you should position yourself as ‘shipper of choice’ and work on a bi-directional data sharing model that also benefits your carrier's supply chain.

  5. Change your company’s mindset: 80% of attendees flagged ‘internal silo’s’ and mindset as one of the main challenges in achieving transparant transport management. As Wim Farasyn (Lanark) stated: ”Real supply chain transformation will only happen if we start sharing the data outside of the silo of our own company.”

We are currently working on a white paper on real-time supply chain visibility in the chemicals industry. Register below and we will send you the white paper once finished, including some best practices on how to achieve end-to-end visibility in your transportation process.


Register here