What is Real-Time Visibility?

The real-time visibility that’s a “must-have” in today’s supply chain and logistics applications refers to being able to track and monitor the movement of goods, inventory, and information in real time. It provides a clear and up-to-date view of the entire supply chain, from the point of origin to the final destination. This end-to-end visibility gives businesses a competitive advantage due to a comprehensive understanding of their supply chain operations, allowing them to make informed decisions, optimize processes, and respond quickly to any potential issues or changes before they become major enough to halt operations.

Real-time visibility enhances efficiency, reduces costs, and improves customer satisfaction and supply chain management by leveraging technologies such as Edge Messaging, Geolocation, IoT, RFID, and cloud-based platforms.

Business benefits of real-time visibility into supply chain operations

Implementing real-time visibility into supply chain management apps is crucial to gain valuable insights and drive operational efficiency. By harnessing real-time data, businesses can make informed decisions, anticipate potential challenges, optimize their supply chain processes, and realize overall cost savings. Let's explore some key benefits that businesses can derive from real-time visibility:

Enhanced operational efficiency: Real-time visibility allows businesses to monitor their real-time supply chain activities. By knowing the status and location of goods at any given time, businesses benefit from route optimization, reduced transit times, and minimized delays and inefficiencies. Some solution providers also provide the ability to dynamically reroute shipments in the event of an incident. This visibility enables businesses to streamline operations, deliver products to customers faster, and ultimately positively affect the company’s bottom line.

Improved inventory management and demand forecasting: Real-time visibility into supply chain operations enables businesses to track inventory levels accurately to avoid excess inventory, leading to optimized inventory levels. With real-time insights, businesses can better plan for demand fluctuations, reduce carrying costs, and improve overall inventory management. It also allows companies to better balance Just-in-Time inventory with customer expectations in the face of the “Amazon Effect.”

Proactive issue resolution: With real-time visibility, businesses can promptly identify and address supply chain issues, take immediate corrective actions, and mitigate any potential disruptions by monitoring critical metrics such as transportation delays, product quality, or production bottlenecks. This proactive approach minimizes the impact on customer service and enhances overall supply chain resilience.

Enhanced collaboration: By sharing real-time data, businesses can collaborate more effectively with supply chain partners, including suppliers, manufacturers, logistics providers, and customers, align their processes, and enhance overall supply chain visibility. Improved collaboration leads to better coordination as well as reduced lead times and enhanced customer satisfaction.

Improved customer service: By accurately tracking shipments, businesses can provide customers with real-time delivery updates, estimated arrival times, and proactive notifications about potential delays. This level of transparency enhances customer trust, satisfaction, and loyalty.

Available technologies for real-time visibility into global supply chains

Several technologies are available to provide real-time visibility into global supply chains. Here are some key ones:

  1. Internet of Things (IoT): IoT devices, such as sensors and RFID tags, can be attached to shipments, containers, or vehicles to collect and transmit real-time data on location, temperature, humidity, and other relevant parameters.

  2. Geolocation and GPS Tracking: GPS technology uses satellites to track shipments and vehicles in real time, allowing businesses to monitor their exact location and movement throughout the supply chain. While similar in concept, Geolocation can provide real-time tracking but does so by converting data obtained from a device into a physical location.

  3. Big Data Analytics: By leveraging advanced analytics techniques, businesses can process and analyze large volumes of supply chain data in real time. This helps identify patterns, trends, and anomalies, enabling proactive decision-making and risk management.

  4. Blockchain: Blockchain technology offers a decentralized and immutable ledger that records and verifies transactions across the supply chain. It enhances transparency, traceability, and security, enabling real-time visibility into the movement of goods, raw materials, and transactions.

  5. Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI was a game-changer for supply chain and logistics organizations. AI-powered algorithms can analyze real-time data to predict demand, optimize routes, and identify potential disruptions in the supply chain. This enables businesses to take proactive measures and make data-driven decisions.

  6. Real-time technology platforms: By building supply chain and logistics management applications on a scalable platform designed specifically for real-time functionality, development teams can combine any real-time features, including chat, multi-user collaboration, device control, data streaming, and geolocation/dispatch, and manage/monitor them from a single dashboard.

Using real-time supply chain visibility to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty

Customer satisfaction and loyalty aren’t just important for retailers to pay attention to. They can also greatly affect the profitability of supply chain and logistics companies. Having applications that provide real-time visibility into every part of the supply chain can significantly enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty in several ways:

Instantaneous issue resolution: Real-time visibility allows businesses to proactively identify and address customer issues as they occur. By monitoring relevant data and metrics in real time, businesses can quickly respond to customer queries, resolve problems, and minimize any supply chain disruptions. This proactive approach demonstrates commitment to customer satisfaction, builds trust and loyalty, and provides a competitive edge.

Personalized and tailored experiences: Real-time visibility enables businesses to gain comprehensive insights into customer behaviors, preferences, and needs. By analyzing real-time data, businesses can personalize interactions and provide tailored experiences that align with individual customer expectations. This level of personalization creates a sense of being understood and valued, fostering satisfaction and long-term loyalty.

Enhanced communication and transparency: Real-time visibility facilitates transparent communication channels between businesses and customers. Through real-time updates, businesses can inform customers about order status, product availability, or any changes that may affect them.

Efficient issue resolution and proactive support: Real-time visibility allows businesses to promptly track and respond to customer issues. By leveraging real-time data, businesses can identify potential problems before they escalate, enabling proactive support and quicker resolutions. This proactive approach increases customer satisfaction and reduces the likelihood of customer churn.

Continuous improvement through feedback: By capturing real-time feedback, businesses can identify areas for improvement and take prompt action to enhance customer experiences. This iterative approach to improvement strengthens customer satisfaction and loyalty over time.

Trends and advancements in real-time visibility technology

Real-time visibility technology is continuously evolving, driven by advancements in various fields. In the near future, we can expect to see several noteworthy trends and advancements in this area.

  1. Enhanced Data Analytics: With the proliferation of real-time data, advancements in data analytics will play a crucial role in providing deeper insights and actionable intelligence. We can anticipate the development of more sophisticated algorithms and machine learning models that can process and analyze large volumes of real-time data, leading to better decision-making in real time.

  2. Internet of Things (IoT) Integration: As the IoT ecosystem expands, real-time visibility technology will integrate with IoT devices to provide comprehensive monitoring and tracking capabilities. This integration will enable organizations to gather data from various IoT sensors and devices in real time, enhancing visibility across their operations and supply chains.

  3. Edge Computing: The advent of edge computing will significantly impact real-time visibility technology. By processing data near the source at the network's edge, latency can be minimized, and real-time insights can be obtained faster. This decentralized approach will enable organizations to respond swiftly to events, improving overall operational efficiency. Edge messaging enables developers to create more distributed and decentralized applications and extend event-driven architectures beyond corporate firewalls.

  4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): AI and ML algorithms will continue to drive innovation in real-time visibility technology. These technologies will enable automated anomaly detection, predictive analytics, and intelligent decision-making based on real-time data. As AI and ML models become more sophisticated and accessible, real-time visibility solutions will become more intelligent and adaptive.

  5. Enhanced Security and Privacy Measures: With the increasing importance of real-time data, security and privacy measures will also advance. We can expect to see the development of enhanced encryption techniques, secure data transmission protocols, and robust authentication mechanisms to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of real-time data. Privacy regulations and compliance requirements will also shape the future of real-time visibility technology.

  6. Scalability and Cloud Adoption: Real-time visibility solutions will continue to leverage the scalability and flexibility offered by cloud computing platforms. Cloud-based architectures will enable seamless integration with other systems, expand data storage capabilities, and facilitate global scalability. This trend will empower businesses of all sizes to adopt real-time visibility technology without significant infrastructure investments.

PubNub and real-time visibility

PubNub is a powerful and scalable platform that can be utilized to achieve real-time visibility in supply chain and logistics applications. With its robust messaging infrastructure and extensive set of features, PubNub enables developers to build real-time features into applications that provide real-time visibility into the supply chain.

By integrating PubNub into supply chain and logistics apps, businesses can establish a secure and reliable communication channel between different stakeholders, including suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, shippers, and customers. This allows for the seamless exchange of real-time data, such as order updates, inventory levels, shipment tracking, and delivery notifications.

PubNub's real-time capabilities enable instant updates and notifications, ensuring all parties can access the most up-to-date information, reducing delays, improving coordination, and enhancing overall supply chain visibility.

PubNub's scalability and global presence make it suitable for managing real-time visibility in global supply chains. It can handle high volumes of data and support a large number of concurrent users across different regions, eliminating any silos and ensuring that real-time information is accessible to all stakeholders regardless of their location.

PubNub offers several platform features that can be utilized for real-time visibility in supply chain and logistics applications. Here are some key features:

  1. Publish/Subscribe Messaging: Pub/Sub is the heart of everything. This is what allows different parties in the supply chain ecosystem to publish data and subscribe to relevant channels to receive real-time updates. This feature enables instant communication and data sharing between stakeholders.

  2. Presence: The Presence feature allows applications to track the online/offline status of users or devices. In the context of supply chain visibility, this feature can be used to monitor the availability and status of different entities, such as vehicles, warehouses, or delivery personnel.

  3. Persistence: PubNub provides the ability to store and retrieve messages for a certain period of time. This feature is useful for maintaining a historical record of supply chain events and allows for playback of past messages. It enables stakeholders to review and analyze data, track trends, and identify patterns.

  4. Access Manager: The Access Manager allows developers to control who can publish or subscribe to specific channels. This ensures that only authorized parties can access relevant supply chain data, enhancing security and privacy.

  5. Mobile Push Notifications: PubNub supports mobile push notifications, enabling real-time alerts and updates to be sent to mobile devices. This feature is valuable for supply chain visibility, as it allows stakeholders to receive important notifications, such as order status changes or delivery updates, even when they are not actively using the application.

  6. Stream Controller: With the Stream Controller, developers have fine-grained control over the flow of real-time data to manage the rate at which messages are sent and received, ensuring efficient utilization of network resources and preventing overload.

We enable developers to build real-time interactivity for transportation, delivery, supply chain, and logistics apps worldwide. With over 15 points of presence worldwide supporting 800 million monthly active users and 99.999% reliability, you’ll never have to worry about outages, concurrency limits, or any latency issues caused by traffic spikes. It’s perfect for any application that requires real-time data.

Sign up for a free trial and get up to 200 MAUs or 1M total transactions per month included.