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Companies used to think of supply chains as merely a cost center, but now they are starting to see the value of supply chain transparency. Supply chain visibility and traceability have become increasingly important as companies look for ways to improve efficiency and reduce risk. Organizations that embrace transparency create competitive advantages in terms of cost savings, quality control, customer satisfaction, and sustainability. Technology, like FRDM,  is making supply chain visibility easier and more accessible.

Supply chain transparency provides visibility into the flow of goods, materials and services throughout the entire supply chain. It gives companies a clear view of operations, including upstream suppliers and downstream buyers. This allows them to identify potential problems before they become issues, track shipments, monitor product quality and take corrective action when necessary.

A recent article about supply chain transparency in the Harvard Business Review noted that “transparency is not just a way to prevent fraud and errors; it is also an enabler of innovation.” It allows companies to identify new opportunities, develop strategies for efficient procurement and collaboration, improve customer service and fulfillment processes, and pursue sustainability initiatives.

In addition to improved operational efficiency, transparency also helps organizations save money. For example, by gaining visibility into their supply chain, companies may be able to reduce waste and streamline processes that can lead to cost savings down the line. They may also be able to identify areas where they can negotiate better deals with suppliers and take advantage of volume discounts or other savings opportunities.

Here are five benefits your company will enjoy by adding supply chain transparency into your supply chain technology stack:

  1. Brand reputation: Business moves at the speed of trust. By building transparency into the supply chain, companies can demonstrate their commitment to ethical and sustainable practices, enhancing the brand's reputation and trust with customers. This can ultimately lead to increased brand loyalty and customer retention, resulting in improved financial returns. Trusted brands outperform their competitors, as customers are willing to pay more for products they trust. Brand trust can be lost quickly when ethical lapses occur, so supply chain transparency plays a critical role in protecting the brand from reputation damage.
  2. Regulatory compliance: Implementing a transparent supply chain allows companies to comply with regulatory requirements and reduce the risk of non-compliance. This can help protect companies from potential legal action due to violations of labor laws or environmental regulations. Additionally, a clear understanding of the supply chain can help companies pass regulatory audits and inspections, avoiding costly fines.
  3. Improved risk management: Knowing the origin and conditions of goods can help mitigate reputation, legal, and financial risks associated with the supply chain. Being aware of where goods are sourced and how they are produced can alert companies to potential supply chain issues, such as child labor or conflict minerals in their supply chain. This allows organizations to take corrective action before these risks become public.
  4. Competitive advantage: Companies that prioritize supply chain transparency can differentiate themselves from competitors and gain a competitive advantage in the market. Proactively disclosing supply chain information can provide a unique point of differentiation and increase consumer confidence. This can help organizations attract new customers and retain existing ones who value supply chain transparency and responsible sourcing. Marketing teams are always looking for ways to differentiate the brand, and supply chain transparency can be a powerful tool.
  5. Cost savings: Transparency can help identify inefficiencies and waste in the supply chain, leading to cost savings and improved supply chain management. By having visibility into supply chain operations, organizations can pinpoint areas of improvement to increase operational efficiency and save money. Using technology to map risk in your supply chain decreases costs associated with supply chain disruptions and can prevent supply chain-related losses. Several companies importing into the United States have had their shipments seized because the product was found to be manufactured with forced labor, costing the company both the costs of the goods and the opportunity costs. By implementing supply chain transparency initiatives, companies can reduce the risk of similar incidents and ensure their supply chains are compliant with legal regulations.

For years procurement teams have relied on spreadsheets, emails, and access databases to manage supply chains. While these tools are useful for basic supply chain management, they lack the capability to provide a clear view of supply chain risk. Supply chain transparency tools like FRDM can be used to visualize supply chains, allowing procurement teams and other stakeholders to identify areas of risk that may require further investigation or improvement. Such visualizations can be used to reveal supply chain relationships, identify relationships between suppliers, and gain insight into supply chain operations.

To learn more about how your company can benefit from supply chain transparency reach out to one of our FRDM team members below or request a demo of our supply chain transparency software.

Justin Dillon

Justin Dillon is the founder and CEO of FRDM, a responsible supply chain company.