End-to-end visibility: 7bridges vs control towers

3 Minutes Read

End-to-end visibility is one of supply chain’s favourite topics. We love asking for it, we love claiming to provide it, and we love proving that others don’t have it. But what we don’t love is agreeing on a definition for it. And that lack of clarity is why it sits firmly in the ‘buzzword’ category even though we all theoretically get it.

A widely sought-after capability, this disparity in definition can cause supply chain leaders no end of heartbreak when their providers surprise them with misalignment. So how do people like you who are in charge of supply chains make sure they have real end-to-end visibility of their supply chains?

The first step is having a clear understanding of what end-to-end visibility really means both for your business and your suppliers. Being aligned here can save you a lot of trouble down the line.

The second step is really knowing what your options are for gaining this visibility. There are a lot of products and tech solutions out there that promise end-to-end visibility. 

Most of these fall into the category of ‘control towers’. But there are also options like what we do here at 7bridges, which offer greater ability, agility and control than the usual solutions. That’s why it’s important to really understand exactly what your needs are and exactly what your solution providers are able to fulfil.


What does end-to-end supply chain visibility (really) mean?

Visibility has been the crux of supply chain conversations around the world for years now. Especially as supply chain issues become more visible to the public. But what visibility means has been a moving target and notoriously difficult to find alignment on.

Part of that issue is the shifting technology landscape. As tech becomes more and more advanced, what we expect or need in terms of visibility also advances. Which makes it hard for complex systems like supply chains to keep up. Particularly as many tech projects involve lengthy procurement processes and even lengthier change management processes. Another issue that mars the concept of visibility is tacking on the phrase ‘end-to-end’. Because it doesn’t have a formal definition, every business has a different idea of what this means. 

Learn more: [webinar] Supply Chain Secrets - mastering Black Friday disruption

So that leaves supply chain leaders struggling to align their understanding of end-to-end with the suppliers who are supposed to give them that visibility. In some cases, end-to-end might refer solely to the part of the supply chain in which the product is whole and moving from factory to warehouse to its final destination. For others, one end might be the very early stages of harvesting materials and the other end is the way consumers dispose of or recycle your product. 

There is quite a gulf of information between these two scenarios, which shows why you might end up easily misaligned. To be clear about what you mean by end-to-end, take into account your business’ strategic goals. What are the outcomes you can drive through your supply chain?

And, most importantly, what information and level of visibility do you need to achieve those outcomes?


How 7bridges is different from a control tower

One of the common ways that supply chain leaders might try to gain visibility is by introducing a control tower technology. What you’d traditionally call control towers are pieces of technology, often cloud-based, that enable you to see more of the data that comes from your supply chain so you can manage your supply chain more effectively.

The 7bridges platform, on the other hand, takes that visibility a step further. It’s important to understand that the platform isn’t a control tower, but instead is something much more powerful. Where traditional control tower technology can give you visibility into what has already happened in your supply chain, 7bridges can give you actual control. 

We gather all your data in one powerful platform so you have full control and a bird’s-eye view. Our AI lets you test out new ideas, adapt to real-world disruptions, spot problems before they happen and make changes at the push of a button (with data-driven proof that it works). 

Screen capture of the 7bridges platform

7bridges can monitor, automate and support your supply chain, helping you make impactful decisions. Instead of just telling you what has happened, the platform provides insights and recommendations about the current performance of your supply chain. And you can rapidly see the impact of every decision you make. You can even use simulations to test your ideas out ahead of time, making sure you choose the action with the best available outcome for your business needs. 

Read more: 5 ways to boost your supply chain with simulations

True end-to-end visibility is always going to be the ultimate goal for supply chain leaders who want to do more. And that is an achievable goal! So long as you have defined what end-to-end visibility means for you and your business. And you use that definition to choose the right solution for you.


Want to hear more about how 7bridges can help your supply chain drive better business outcomes? Reach out to our experts and we’ll book some time to chat.

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