FreightWaves Ratings cuts through the noise of freight technology product reviews to make you a smarter buyer

Why real-time visibility is important in the supply chain

Technology had advanced leaps and bounds over the past few decades, making real-time visibility no longer an ambition but instead an actuality. Having the latest updates on where assets are within a supply chain is key for many businesses.

That’s why real-time visibility is an important factor within the supply chain industry. Today, we’ll explore how supply chain visibility works, what the benefits of having this technology are, and a handful of challenges you might face when utilizing it. 

And when you’re finished reading, check out the other articles in our ‘Supply chain visibility’ series:

What Is Real-Visibility in Supply Chain Logistics?

Real-time visibility in supply chain logistics sounds exactly like what it is. It is the real-time tracking and tracing of all logistics activities within the supply chain. It allows you to see the movement of your assets throughout every step of the supply chain. 

How Does Supply Chain Visibility Work?

Supply chain visibility uses GPS tracking and advanced software to monitor your logistics throughout every processing point. The trackable information includes real-time updates of receipts, the status of materials, shipping details, regulatory information, and the exact location of your cargo throughout the transportation process. 

Utilizing supply chain visibility allows businesses to enhance their productivity while also increasing customer satisfaction. After all, if you’re unaware that there’s a problem, how can you fix it? Well, with the help of real-time tracking visibility, you can make decisions based on all of the data points at your fingertips. 

Synthesizing Data

Real-time transportation visibility platforms help you identify if there are inefficiencies within your supply chain. You can use the real-time data to synthesize the data further. 

This allows you to create or improve processes that will improve efficiency. After all, businesses cannot make appropriate decisions without following data, so having a technology that provides multiple data points throughout the supply chain can be highly valuable. 


Once you’ve established data points, you can then begin to look for key metrics that will help improve your processes. You can begin to automate your supply chain to watch out for at-risk shipments. 

From there, make sure you set standards for corrective measures long before you previously would manage everything manually. The predictive intelligence capabilities of these tools make them a great way to leverage proactive performance measures. 

What To Do With the Data

Using data-driven decision making is a great way to optimize your logistics process. You can identify areas of inefficiency that need improvement, keep customers informed quickly when issues arise and make other critical and calculated decisions based on your business goals. 

Benefits of Real-time Supply Chain Visibility

If you’re looking for a way to improve your efficiency and maximize your ROI, supply chain visibility is a great place to start. It boasts the following benefits. 

Manages Risk

When you have every piece of information in real-time about your logistics and supply chain system, you’re in a much better position to minimize risks. These systems can help you identify problems and determine corrective actions long before the risk leads to a major loss. This will ultimately lead you to have higher reliability and productivity. 

Increases Productivity and Agility

There are four key areas of productivity that real-time supply chain visibility can help with staff time, inventory, transportation, and disruptions. Having real-time visibility and control, you can reduce wasted time throughout your operation and help you better manage your inventory and transportation costs. 

Plus, as we mentioned above, delays and disruptions can also be managed to increase your reaction time. This is amazing as these benefits will help you not only maintain your overall productivity but improve it as well. 

Provides Data, Insight, and Knowledge About Your Business

Knowing inefficiencies within your business is paramount to ensuring its success. The data that you receive from your real-time visibility can help you identify any patterns that are leading to costly expenses. You can then mitigate these issues by creating proactive plans based on the data, not by guesswork. 

Contributes Cost-Effectiveness

Using the data and having insights into real-time data at different stages within the supply chain can increase your profits. In fact, companies have experienced a decrease in transportation costs, inventory costs, and labor, all of which greatly improve the business’ bottom line. 

Improves Overall Customer Satisfaction

Most businesses operate with their customers in mind. After all, that’s how they stay in business. With real-time visibility businesses can now deliver and maintain high levels of customer service, keeping the customer experience at the forefront of their operation. 

Challenges in Supply Chain Visibility

Now more than ever it’s important to know the status and location of all your inventory. The supply chain is complex and continues to evolve rapidly. If you’re not staying up to date with your supply chain visibility, you may find yourself facing one if not all of these challenges. 

Bad Data

If you don’t have full access to all the data points within your operation, you’re unable to make appropriate decisions.

Wrong Suppliers

If your organization doesn’t have a full grasp of your suppliers, you could have inefficiencies that could be mitigated, but you just wouldn’t have that knowledge.


There are numerous disruptions that can impact the supply chain – natural disasters, pandemics, labor disputes, and the like. If you do not have a disaster recovery plan that is guided by real-time visibility data, you could be impacted more than other operations. 

Using Supply Chain Technology To Improve Your Business

Technology is within your control. You can utilize the best real-time visibility resources to extend across your supply chain and logistics network. 

This will help you act immediately on issues that arise, provide better customer service, and identify and address inefficiencies within your operation. These valuable tools are built to ensure that you have smarter control over your business. 


What is real-time visibility in supply chains?

Real-time visibility in the supply chain is the ability to track and monitor the movement of goods and materials in real-time.

Why is real-time visibility important in supply chains?

Real-time visibility is a valuable tool within supply chains because it can help companies to improve customer service, reduce costs, increase efficiency, and enhance risk management.

Does real-time visibility help improve customer service?

By having real-time visibility into the status of shipments, companies can provide customers with accurate ETAs and updates on delivery progress.

Sign up for a FreightWaves e-newsletter to stay informed of all news and trends impacting supply chain careers and operations.

Load Tracking for the Long Haul

Scale with Trucker Tools by -giving your shippers full visibility of their load -defending yourself against fraud -accessing a larger trusted carrier network, -automating carrier sourcing and booking