Supply Chain Visibility for Small Businesses

July 2023

Supply chain visibility gives small business owners the ability to track and monitor essential operations.

Real-time insights into inventory management, customer service and performance, and logistics issues provide crucial data that can help drive decision-making.

By utilising the right technology small business owners can improve long-term strategy around supply chain issues and help prevent problems before they start.

Why is supply chain visibility important for a small business

One of the key benefits of having greater transparency over your small business supply chain is customer service. Knowing what services and products are available and when will improve customer relations and help to build a business reputation of reliability and consistency.

For example, companies like Woolworths and Coles use supply chain visibility technologies to provide accurate delivery estimates and real-time updates to their customers, ensuring a positive shopping experience.

From a supplier perspective, mapping the time it takes for your contractors to deliver goods to you, will provide valuable data on the companies that are costing your business time and money.

Companies such as Telstra and BHP leverage supply chain visibility technologies to track the performance and reliability of their suppliers, enabling them to make informed decisions regarding supplier partnerships.

The best technology for supply chain visibility

Small business owners are already benefiting from new tech that boosts productivity, improves customer service, and helps businesses evolve with changing trends.

Developing technologies, including machine learning and robots, blockchain and product life cycle software, will all revolutionise how much control and transparency small business owners have in the coming years. But the right technology is already giving companies a competitive edge.

For instance, companies like Australia Post and Toll Group employ scanners, location trackers, and real-time communication via mobile devices to enhance their supply chain visibility. These technologies enable them to track shipments, optimise routes, and provide up-to-date information to customers.

Businesses looking to improve their supply chain visibility could consider the following tools and technologies:

  • Scanners: Scanning technologies enable businesses to track and monitor inventory movements, ensuring accurate stock management and visibility across the supply chain.
  • Location trackers: Utilising GPS and RFID technology, location trackers allow businesses to monitor the real-time movement of goods, providing visibility into their whereabouts and enabling more accurate delivery estimates.
  • Product life cycle software: This software allows businesses to monitor and manage the entire life cycle of their products, from design and production to delivery and end-of-life. It provides visibility into each stage, helping to identify bottlenecks and improve efficiency.
  • Automation: Automated systems and robotics can streamline processes, reducing human errors and enhancing visibility. Automated tracking and data collection systems ensure accurate and real-time data updates. Software and hardware that enables greater automation of tracking and services helps to simplify system management and collaboration between small businesses, suppliers, and customers.
  • Digital networks and cloud technology: Cloud-based platforms and digital networks provide a centralised hub for sharing information and data among supply chain partners, enabling real-time access and collaboration while ensuring data security. Generally, digital networks are safer than previously used manual systems, meaning information and data are more secure.

Software and hardware that enables greater automation of tracking and services helps to simplify system management and collaboration between small businesses, suppliers, and customers. Programs that provide data on performance can help identify issues and rectify them quickly. Additionally, digital networks are safer than previously used manual systems meaning information and data is more secure.

Integrating supply chain technology into your small business

Any business would struggle to create complete supply chain visibility over every aspect of their operations without the proper tools.

Implementing technology that provides data and information on the most crucial aspects of a business is more realistic and productive in the long term.

Identifying these focus areas can help guide the research needed to select the technology a business needs to make immediate improvements. Integrating new tech in stages can help make any transition seamless and highlight additional areas that could benefit over time.

Without supply chain visibility, a small business cannot compete in a changing digitised market. Don’t let capital stand in the way of driving your business into the automated age. We can help secure finance for new technology. Request a call back or contact us on 1300 828 567 for more information.

The information in this post is provided for general information only and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from financial, legal and taxation advisors. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information as at the date of publication, Geared Finance, its officers, employees and agents disclaim all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded), for any error, inaccuracy, or omission from the information for any reason, including due to the passage of time, or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.