Definition

supply chain visibility (SCV)

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: The essential guide to supply chain management best practices

Supply chain visibility (SCV) is the ability of parts, components or products in transit to be tracked from the manufacturer to their final destination. The goal of SCV is to improve and strengthen the supply chain by making data readily available to all stakeholders, including the customer.

SVC has become more important as companies have outsourced parts of their supply chains and lost control and visibility over what used to be part of their own operations. Supply chain visibility technology promotes quick response to change by allowing privileged users to take action and reshape demand or redirect supply.

A business case for purchasing supply chain visibility software should focus on easing pain points in a particular business' supply chain management. For example, the priority for a manufacturer who deals with contract outsourcing might be gaining visibility into interruptions that could affect product delivery, while the priority for a manufacturer of packaged goods might be gaining visibility into supplier inventory shortages that might negatively impact order fill rates.

In addition to providing an accurate, real-time picture of demand signals and supplier inventory levels, manufacturers are using visibility to help meet compliance directives related to trade practices, environmental mandates and upcoming serialization and track-and-trace laws. In many industries, supply chain visibility programs are aligned with disaster recovery plans.

This was last updated in October 2009

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