Probably, the best example of visibility in Supply Chain is a video in which Jean Reno is promoting the transport company UPS. In just few seconds- we totally understand: it is simple and so much needed.
In real life, things are ,however, more complicated, but we love when things get complicated. Want an example? Take this: we have a tomato paste supplier in Italy and due to climate change, the crop will be disappointingly small. The easy way will be the supplier is informing us in due time, allowing us to react and to sell as we planned this category. That will possibly involve selling a bit more from „Our Own Brand” – but for us is OK.
Of course, our supplier never did that, pushing us in a massive out –of-stock, well ….. unless we do not sign a SLA (service level agreement) with them.
Or : our own Marketing plan to launch a new product and they know it is a consistent delay due to the artwork for new packs. Nobody is telling us a word; we see that only when the packaging supplier is late with its delivery. And , of course, it is too late to change the official launch (the Agency cannot do that….). Well, this is true, unless we do not implement a proper New Product Development NPD-process.
Or even, what if during the Management Meeting, for which we spend few hours anyway, instead of explaining how good and brave we are, we just share a simple table , the KPI`s – and any deviation from expected numbers is a warning for the others that they will get into troubles- just like in Reno`s movie. Visibility is not a typical Supply Chain value, it is a human one. Generally speaking, we love visibility when is nothing to hide. Otherwise, we are still gambling.