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Supply chain visibility vs transparency

The terms visibility and transparency are often used interchangeably. Generally, however, the term visibility focuses on the operational aspects of the supply chain. Transparency, on the other hand, is information sharing on a different level. You will meet situations where:

  • clients,
  • trade and business partners,
  • stakeholders
  • or regulatory agencies

often demand knowledge about how a given market entity does its business.

Visibility provides a company with knowledge of activities across its supply chain; transparency is what and how it communicates that knowledge to customers, partners, and stakeholders
– Shay Scott, Managing Director, Global Supply Chain Institute

Customers want to make conscious purchase decisions, stakeholders want to run an ethical business, and business partners choose companies with good PR. Transparency is an openness to these demands.

Supply chain transparency and ethics

The most important advocates of supply chain transparency are consumers.

Their interest in eliminating unethical behaviours (e.g., supply chain slavery), non-ecological or unsustainable sources (e.g., sea contamination or deforestation) increases every year.

Other ethical issues which can be fought against supply chain transparency are:

  • poverty,
  • human rights,
  • gender discrimination,
  • income inequality,
  • global warming,
  • animal abuse.

Sales dependency

The requirement for transparency is driven by an interest in obtaining global or local good.The concepts of visibility and transparency are closely intertwined. However, visibility is the basis for transparency, because without data monitoring, the company is not able to share knowledge with whom and how it runs a business. And the following fact will surely interests you.

There is a dependency between transparency and sales.

A research conducted by Cone Communications showed that consumers are more likely to trust brands that focus on societal and environmental issues. Take a look at the screenshot from Cone Communication’s report.

Report: CSR expectations


As you can see, 92% of consumers have a more positive image of the company when a social or environmental issue is supported publicly.


Moreover, 87% of consumers would trust the company that has a CSR policy


Finally, 88% of consumers would show more loyalty towards a company.

All of this means that transparency encourages buyers.

Real-time tracking in transportation services

Availability of information about the transportation service is often one of the factors that determine the choice of carrier.

Transport with schedule


82% of online respondents to Mobility Lab’s poll admitted that “having real-time arrival information is important when using public transportation”.


The same study showed that 64% of surveyed respondents check the arrival time of the bus or train before arriving at the bus stop or station.

But why do we talk about this? Because it shows how real-time tracking is important to visibility in the public sector. But just because research refers to public transportation, doesn’t mean that the private sector is different.

Transport upon a request

Taxi, Bolt, Uber etc. delivers information about

  • the ETA (Expected Time of Arrival),
  • carrier’s availability
  • and/or the possibility to order service for a specific time

In the mobile application, client can track the entire route of the vehicle in real-time. These solutions use IDM (Interactive Delivery Management), which allows carriers or senders to interactively communicate with consignees to ensure the best customer experience and on-time delivery.

Real-time tracking benefits for business

Real-time tracking affects key business areas, e.g., customer service. By introducing tracking solutions companies gain a business tool to address what is unpredictable.

Access to real-time data gives an opportunity for fast reaction in situations such as:

  • unplanned stop, temperature excursion, impact etc. – you can reach out to a shipping company, or even a driver, if some suspicious data is noticed
  • predicted delays – you can inform the customer in advance
  • a cargo is damaged – you can send a back-up shipment immediately
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