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ASCM Insights

No Crystal Balls, Just Crystal-Clear Supply Chain Visibility


If the last two years proved anything, it’s that our world is unpredictable — and as such, supply chain visibility is an urgent requirement. Furthermore, clarity up and down our networks is critical at all times, not just periods of extreme disruption. So why is it that so few organizations are sharing information in order to promote transparency among all supply chain partners?

Research by The Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by ASCM, found that about half of benchmarked companies use only internal data to get their supply chain picture. And Gartner reports that just 21% of survey respondents have the kind of visibility that’s required to rapidly shift sourcing, manufacturing and distribution, if and when necessary. These numbers are surprising, considering the tremendous value that comes with boosting visibility and being a proactive, data-contributing member of your supply chain.

The Kraft Heinz Company recently prioritized these goals, tapping Microsoft Corp. to enhance its visibility and overall resilience. The project, known as Agile@Scale, applies machine learning and data analytics to drive efficiencies across Kraft Heinz’s supply chains, with the objective of getting products to market faster to better meet customer demand. Agile@Scale also uses supply chain control towers to provide near-real-time visibility into plant operations and distribution automation so that products can be moved to retailers and foodservice customers as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. 

In addition to advanced data analytics capabilities, ongoing advancements in sensors, wireless communications, location-based systems and batteries are making visibility tech much more affordable. German international shipping and container transport company Hapag-Lloyd is currently adding sensors across its fleet of 3 million dry containers in order to transmit data about location, temperature and any shocks the containers experience. This is a noteworthy move, as container companies and shipping lines have long been hesitant to tap into these solutions for fear that they would be unable to recoup the investment. It’s no surprise that they’re beginning to change their minds amid such long and volatile transit experiences.

Sharpen your vision

To equip your organization with essential transparency, ASCM is excited to announce the new Supply Chain Visibility microlearning, which qualifies completers for APICS certification maintenance points. In it, you will learn how to achieve a crystal-clear view of your internal data, data from every supply chain tier, and data from your end customers. You'll also uncover the characteristics of a high-visibility supply chain and use that knowledge to enhance clarity throughout your network.

Start achieving the agility necessary to effectively respond to unanticipated changes and the foresight to get your goods and materials to the right place and at the right time for the right cost. Check out the microlearning today.


About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the largest organization for supply chain and the global pacesetter of organizational transformation, talent development and supply chain innovation. During his tenure, ASCM has significantly expanded its services to corporations, individuals and communities. Its revenue has more than doubled, and the association successfully completed three mergers in response to both heightened industry awareness and the vast and ongoing global impact driven by supply chains. Previously, Eshkenazi was the managing director of the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. He may be contacted through