The 5 Stages of a Supply Chain — And How To Increase Supply Chain Visibility Throughout

The 5 Stages of a Supply Chain — And How To Increase Supply Chain Visibility Throughout

By Chris Crutchley on November 24, 2022
Check out our tips on how to increase visibility in your supply chain.

The 5 Stages of a Supply Chain — And How To Increase Supply Chain Visibility Throughout 

 No matter how complex, any supply chain can be broken down into 5 basic stages:

  1. Sourcing the raw materials
  2. Manufacturing the raw materials into basic parts
  3. Assembling the basic parts into finished products
  4. Selling the products to customers
  5. Sending the products to customers (warehousing and order fulfillment)

Throughout these 5 stages, your supply chain team needs to oversee:

  • Physically trucking and shipping goods from one place to the next
  • Providing necessary documents, licenses, and any other information required by different steps in the chain
  • Storing the product until an order comes in
  • Tracking inventory and parcels

Managing those 4 areas well is crucial, yet many companies today struggle with one or more of them due to a lack of end-to-end visibility in their supply chains. This is a critical issue, as studies show that poor supply chain visibility leads to poor customer relationships and low customer retention rates, unnecessary waste, and an overall loss of revenue.

Luckily, recent research shows that companies stand to improve profits by as much as 10% by implementing tools that increase supply chain transparency — particularly when it comes to elements on the logistics side of the supply chain

 A few trending solutions that can help you up your supply chain visibility include:

If you aren't sure where these new technologies and services may fit into your company’s supply chain, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.

Read on to see how some of the latest supply chain tools work — and why you may want to consider integrating them into your business.

Read About CBIP's Adaptable 4PL Logistics Services 

Real-time tracking to keep track of moving parts

When it comes to knowing what’s happening in your supply chain, one of the most challenging periods can be when inventory and parcels are on the move. From one stage to the next, raw materials, finished products, and parcels need to be trucked, shipped, or flown to their next destination. 

Keeping track of on-the-move items is tough, particularly when your products are moving all over the world. To gain visibility during transportation, work with partners that use software like real-time tracking and vessel databases.

Real-time tracking software provides constant data on the location of goods, allowing you to keep an eye on operations when things are going smoothly, and making it easy to spot problems quickly, communicate the issue with partners, and take swift action.

Real-time tracking technology also helps your business:

  • Get accurate data on your products and shipments
  • Smooth out the hand-off between partners working in your supply chain
  • Alert you to delays and potential issues in your supply chain

If your company struggles with lost inventory and bottlenecks in transit, try looking into working with shipping partners that use the latest tracking tools — and can integrate their technology with yours.

Smarter warehouses to get you organized

When it comes to better warehousing techniques, you need to work smarter, not harder — and the smartest solution right now is smart warehousing

The so-called smart warehouses rely on software, robots, and the automation of processes to keep things running smoothly, cut down on space, and ensure everything is in its proper place. 

Even though smart warehousing relies on robots and automation to get things done, cutting out human labor is not the goal. Actually, the “smart” technologies currently used and being developed in today’s warehouses are mostly designed to help employees do their job better. 

For example, wearable technologies help employees find and pack items. Instead of having to run back and forth to a computer, employees can receive info about new orders while on the go from a gadget attached to the wrist, belt, or elsewhere.

Collaborative robots are designed to complete menial, repetitive tasks while the employees focus on more detail-oriented work. This cuts down on legwork and ensures warehouse workers have the energy and time to complete other important tasks well.

If you want to optimize your fulfillment and steer your supply chain toward the future, partnering with providers that use smart warehousing technologies is a step in the right direction. 

Related: How Automation is Bringing Warehouses into the Future

A 4PL provider to oversee and ensure supply chain integration

Having trouble seeing the big picture when it comes to integrating the stages of your supply chain? The fourth-party logistics provider is your one-stop shop for an interconnected and transparent supply chain. 

Working with a top-notch 4PL will give you access to:

  • Personalized logistics planning
  • An extensive network of partners located all over the world
  • Advice backed by high-level industry knowledge 

The 4PL will help you choose the right logistics partners and will coordinate with your sourcing and manufacturing partners to make sure your supply chain runs smoothly from start to finish. 

Apart from creating and executing your logistics plan, a good 4PL also integrates technology from each step of your logistics together and provides you with the data on one platform. When all your IT is integrated throughout your supply chain, customers can stay updated on where their orders are, your supply chain partners can keep track of moving materials, and you can easily locate any item by logging on to a single platform.

Get the supply chain visibility you need when you team up with CBIP

Looking for a 4PL that can help you increase visibility to the logistics side of your supply chain and ensure your business sees the benefits?

At CBIP, we are constantly adding to our network of partners all around the globe to provide you with cutting-edge services. We get you the options you need: Partners that use the latest technology to help your business gain supply chain clarity, all backed by our Anchanto-powered order management software.

To learn how CBIP can help optimize and connect every stage of your supply chain, get in touch for a free assessment today. 



About Author

Chris Crutchley

Chris Crutchley is CBIP’s director of operations and finance. He has over a decade of corporate finance and operational expertise throughout the Asia Pacific.

In logistics, Chris strives to continuously innovate and challenge the industry’s norms in order to offer clients world-class service that emphasizes clear communication.

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