You are what you see
Upstream visibility means new power to procurement managers
As every procurement manager knows, you can’t fix what you can’t see. With global supply chains becoming more complex, increased lead times, and an uptick in landing costs, the pressure is on procurement managers to better understand the performance of individual nodes in their inbound supply chains, reduce per-unit cost, and increase market competitiveness.
But before the problems can be fixed, you first must know where the problem is and what is causing it. This ‘need to see more’ has fueled demand for comprehensive upstream visibility that gives a deep and comprehensive picture of each stage in the life cycle of a purchase order.
Does my business really need this?
According to the 4PL Whitepaper written by Neil Wheeldon, Vice President of Solutions and Noah Cepela, President of BridgeNet, a number of companies were interviewed across different industries. This interview was to understand what the key challenges are. Based on the interviews conducted, 50% rated that visibility is absolutely crucial. Improving supply chain visibility is a strategic necessity that is growing in importance.
Supply chain visibility makes a compelling case for the use of technology as a way to reduce costs, drive down excessive inventory and avoid disruptions. Also stated in the report, "A number of challenges with integration across providers and data quality within the supply chain which hampers their ability to move to a more predictive, consistent and effective way of operating."
While some international shippers have systems in place to partially monitor internal order management systems as well as warehouse management, outbound transportation and tracking tools, the real challenge for procurement specialists is how to get a better look at what is going on with suppliers on both the outbound and inbound sides of the equation.
What exactly do I need?
So where does the answer lie for procurement and inbound logistics managers seeking greater visibility and control over their international orders? Simply stated, the answer is smart. BDP Smart Vū® that is.
This technology gives procurement and inbound logistics managers a new level of visibility and control over every stage in the life-cycle of a purchase order.
According to Bernie Erlanger, Vice President Global Retail and Consumer Products, “What we have created with BDPSmart Vū is a fully interactive web-based product that delivers unprecedented upstream visibility and access to the deepest and most comprehensive array of PO process data ever, from origin supplier to final inbound delivery.
“With this technology, procurement specialists can globally manage their vendors and suppliers upstream from one central, configurable site. All of the shippers’ internal organizations can now participate in the management of the order including buying agents and personnel in sales, finance, logistics and regulatory affairs.”
The implications of this technology for procurement professionals and inbound logistics managers as well as all parties involved in the purchase order are far-reaching. Many companies have traditionally treated procurement activity as a tactical function. With the power of BDP Smart Vū, procurement is now able to deliver both tactical as well as strategic visibility to the planning and management of supply chains.
As Mr. Erlanger explains, “BDP Smart Vū provides access to information on the critical initial stages of a purchase which can often contain inaccurate data with regard to handling, shipment contents and classification, breaches in the specifications of purchase order agreements and inefficient use of transport equipment.
“A lack of visibility and early warnings of exceptions can lead to missed deadlines and lost revenue. And in today’s market, poor visibility is something no company can afford if it wishes to sustain the speed and competitiveness of its product supply chains,” Mr. Erlanger said.
BDPSmart Vū features a personally configurable dashboard and intuitive navigation to real-time data. Data includes, but is not limited to, product details including description, quantity ordered / booked / balance remaining, case pack and ship quantities, weights and volumes (container utilization percentages) and all milestone dates that occur through the lifecycle of the order. Through a series of alerts and exceptions to the specifications of purchase order agreements, BDP’s customers get early warnings of when problems arise. And with a set of fully configurable milestone confirmations, each user can monitor their own key performance indicators and operating procedures.
So how has BDPSmart Vū been received by BDP’s global customer base?
“Our customers have confirmed that BDP Smart Vū’s efficiency and ease of navigation sets a new standard for decision-support. At the end of the day what all procurement managers are looking for is the ability to avoid delays, make better decisions and reduce costs. And that is exactly what we have delivered with BDPSmart Vū,” Mr. Erlanger said.
Seeing is believing
BDP Smart Vū puts a powerful set of tools in the hands of purchasing and inbound logistics officers including upstream visibility, control through the entire purchase order management process including origin supplier/vendor management, better container/equipment utilization, ease of use, increased efficiencies and cost savings through one portal for PO management, accountability to supplier/ vendors, management reporting abilities including graphs and exception/ alert charts and customizable alerts for each vendor.