Connecting the Dots between Supply Chain Visibility, Traceability and Transparency

On August 6th, Trevor Blackwell, Logistics Solution Manager, Corning Inc and Vasudev Nayak, Product Manager, Bristlecone Labs joined forces to lead a webinar on the nuances of visibility, traceability and transparency in the context of supply chain and how each impacts supply chain functioning and optimization.

The discussion began with Blackwell and Nayak addressing how supply chains today are networks of networks with products, platforms and people coming together to form a living, breathing, ever-evolving ecosystem. They spoke of the need to begin seeing supply chain not merely as a linear function of the business but more as a hub of key processes and operational intelligence.

Blackwell noted that data latency is one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to attaining supply chain visibility. He mentioned how many solutions used by supply chain professionals were designed primarily for reactionary purposes and stressed a palpable need for an alternative that equips business partners with timely data that enables them to make proactive decisions.

Our speakers defined Supply Chain Visibility as the ability to capture present data on what’s happening in the supply chain at specific nodes, analyzing it and improving either the execution or planning of one’s supply chain.

Supply Chain Traceability was summed up as the ability to go back in time and perform a Root Cause Analysis, to gain an understanding of business processes and put corrective actions in place to make them more effective.

Supply Chain Transparency was described as the ultimate goal of any global supply chain – a means of seeing and sharing the same information across your partners and customers.

At the time of the webinar, the U.S. was inching closer to hurricane season. Blackwell talked about Corning’s plan of using their visibility solutions to monitor the potential impact of storms on their incoming material supply – and develop contingency plans that reduce risk to their business.

Siloed systems, management of multiple stakeholders, and technology cost and maturity can pose as deterrents in the pursuit of visibility, traceability and transparency. However, Blackwell and Nayak spoke of projects that Bristlecone Labs and Corning had undertaken together that combined the expertise of supply chain insights with the tech prowess of IoT. They mentioned that their collaboration had made them hopeful about championing a future that was more connected; gave them a holistic view of the past, present and future of their supply chain; and positively impacted operational costs.

Recently, The Economist reported that “In November 2017 a strike by German cargo-handlers stranded a shipment of IBM mainframe computers at the Frankfurt airport. Unable to track its precise location, the firm assumed the pricey cargo was safe inside an airport warehouse. In fact, it sat on an icy tarmac for nearly a month, exposed to blizzards. When it was eventually located, the kit – reportedly sitting in four inches of water – was a total write-off.”

Instances like these prove that digitizing the supply chain is no longer an option, but a necessity.

How will your supply chain evolve when you are no longer wondering “Where is my shipment?” To learn more about how Bristlecone Labs’ can solve supply chain visibility challenges in your organization, reach out to us at

Hear more from Blackwell and Nayak – watch the webinar now.