Supply Chain Visibility (SCV): Market and Solution Provider Overview [PRO]

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This Spend Matters PRO brief provides a high-level review of the supply chain visibility (SCV) solution market. SCV is an acronym often used to describe the inventory “track and trace” capability that shippers are rapidly implementing to help manage their logistics, even though SCV also has a broader context for inventory visibility across the supply chain (e.g., within the plant or at a supplier). Logistics providers are all doing so to meet a service level expectation that is coalescing around real-time, track and trace information flows. For example, whether it’s a Wal-Mart store awaiting a shipment or a consumer anticipating a package from Amazon, they both want to know delivery status — and they want that information at their fingertips. 

However, while consumers may only want to know “when,” the shippers want to know all of the surrounding details, including any and all performance and risk information that could support a better inventory management practice, capacity planning and transportation sourcing.

The carriers are also along for the ride (pardon the pun), not just because they’re obliged but also, because it will soon be in their business interest (from a load matching perspective). The more information they share (i.e., the more visible and transparent their hour-to-hour status is), the more likely it is their trucks will stay full — with the right kinds of loads, on preferred lanes.

Along with several shippers and other trade practitioners, we interviewed the following SCV solution providers:

  • FourKites
  • 10-4 Systems
  • project44
  • MacroPoint

Note: While there are many more SCV solution providers, and while they are typically distinguished by transport mode specialization or their target audience (shippers, carriers, LSPs), their ideas, techniques and raisons d’etre are all strikingly similar.

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