A customer orders an item from a seller who might be sitting across the world; the item then travels from its place of production (the seller) via a transit mode (shipping) to reach its destination (the customer). This complete process is what makes up the term supply-chain. The word “chain” is deliberately used as a part of the term to denote the several steps (or the chain of processes) involved to “supply” products or goods from the seller to the customer. The real situation though is not as simple as the definition. There are a lot of sudden and unexpected real-life situations that might happen to make the process lot complicated. Complete trade visibility of the whole pipeline is really necessary to deal with such events and take pro-active steps. Let us look at the example below:
A Saudi Arabia businessman orders 500 m3 of timber from a Canadian seller. The route booked by the seller is to Dammam port. The shipping company picks up the timber shipment from the seller and brings it to the port where it is loaded on a vessel. While the vessel is on its way, a lot of real-time interesting things start happening. Construction workers in Dammam starts an indefinite strike, which significantly decreases the demand for timber. At the same time, the Ministry of Housing has decided to support wood constructions and the demand has increased in the East side of Saudi Arabia. This increasing demand for lumber is close to Jeddah port, around 1300km far from Dammam port. While the vessel is on its way to Dammam Port, the businessman comes to know that due to severe congestion in the port, the estimated time of arrival (ETA) of the container ship has been delayed.
Because the businessman had complete trade visibility, he was able to change a lot of his original plans and took appropriate actions. Since he was able to track container ship’s arrival, he was able to change the original date of unloading the goods, saving himself a lot of money in the process. Instead of sending the timber to its intended destination (West Saudi Arabia), he sends the timber where there is a surge of consumption. He is able to negotiate his dealings with the retailers from West Saudi Arabia and cancel the shipment to there. Similarly, he successfully re-allocates the timber to east side of Saudi Arabia market where there is an unexpected rise in demand.
The real-time visibility of the supply chain saves the businessman from what could have been a financial disaster. It was his ability to re-adjust his strategies during the trans-pacific shipping that he was able to save the day. Companies that are aware of the real-time changes happening in the supply-chain pipeline always have the added advantage of re-adjusting plans to avoid financial disasters.
As evident from the above example, there is a lot of decision-making involved at every step of the supply chain. A digital supply chain platform provides the real-time global trade visibility required to take definitive actions. The platform automates the manual processes, eliminating the risk of human error. All the bookings can be managed from a single dashboard, which in-turn saves a lot of time. The flow of information becomes seamless through a digital supply chain platform. Exporters, importers, agents, and forwarders get automatically informed if the ETA of the vessel gets delayed. The real-time updates of the container make it easier for all the concerned people to take swift decisions.
Centersource is a digital supply chain platform that makes complete visibility of the supply chain pipeline possible. The platform offers smart digital tools that can be used to maximize efficiency, transparency, and accountability in the supply chain. Also, automated updates of all the shipping can be received and shared with colleagues and partners, becoming beneficial to all sides of the business.
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