Understanding the Need for Supply Chain Visibility in Industry 4.0

Deepak Ghodke, VP, Bristlecone Labs

Here’s a scenario:

You, the Chief Supply Chain Officer, just received a call from your flagship store in Ohio saying they are running short of inventory. You call your supplier in Dallas, who mumbles something about the shipment being delayed.

Meanwhile, your customers start tweeting angrily about your organization. Before you know it, a simple gap in the supply-demand cycle has resulted in public backlash and worse, loss of customer confidence in your brand.

This would be a nightmare for any supply chain professional, right?

If your company had supply chain visibility, you would be able to track and trace your shipment from the source of production to each of its destinations. From logistics to transportation, to milestones reached during transit, you would be in the loop – through and through.

Sound like a utopian dream?

It’s not. The ability to achieve real-time supply chain visibility – the utopia materialized – is here today. Simply put, true visibility is enabling the access of information to the right stakeholder at the right time. This visibility gives you the power to monitor, control and optimize your supply chain strategy and operations to achieve best-case scenarios.

Given the volatile world of external and internal disruptions in which your supply chain must operate, real-time visibility could be the difference between growing a business – or folding one.

Wondering how your supply chain would benefit from having real-time supply chain visibility? Allow me to break it down for you.

With real-time supply chain visibility, you would have a competitive edge over other players in your field in the following areas:

  1. Demand Insight: Real-time, quick alerts about delays, slowdowns and changing trends that equip you to strategize your supply cycle accordingly. You would be able to regulate the inflow of inventory in line with demand signals.
  2. Inventory Insight: The ability to track inventory levels accurately and timely ensures that you never compromise on order fulfillment. Alternate suppliers could also be identified to help you survive nodal supply shocks.
  3. Shipping Insight: With access to information about delivery dates and times, and alerts on unanticipated events, you can reroute, re-plan and re-strategize in time to overcome any threats coming your way.
  4. Efficient Workflows: The flow of real-time information supports the identification, prevention and repair of bottlenecks as they occur. This would future-proof your workflows against delays.
  5. Positive Customer Experiences: By combining insights on demand, inventory and shipping, you’ll have easy access to information needed to answer any questions your customers may have about their shipment. This also gives you the power to surprise and delight your customers.

It’s evident that fostering real-time supply chain visibility is the key to quick decision-making and strategic responses to changing market dynamics and consumer demand. But how do you get there?

Let me show you how Bristlecone Labs has combined real-time supply chain visibility with the power of AI to ensure supply chains become truly invincible.

Trace.ai powered by Bristlecone NEO is an operational intelligence and analytical application that delivers visibility, transparency and traceability.

For a U.S.-based farm equipment company, Trace.ai enabled –


  1. Proactive inventory tracking with alerts on the location, state and duration of possession.
  2. Real-time network updates on ownership and product movement to stakeholders responsible for orders and deliveries.
  3. Lower cost with better service levels.




For a global technology company that produces components and panels for the telecom and information display industry, Trace.ai was instrumental in –


  1. Reducing product damage due to improved operating conditions and QA.
  2. Ensuring 100% real-time visibility on product condition and location.
  3. Increasing logistics efficiency by providing inputs and alerts on routes and product conditions.



And, for a renowned U.S.-based manufacturer of mattresses and bedding accessories, Trace.ai provided –


  1. Real-time paperless traceability at the product level, based on order and SKU combination.
  2. Mobile-enabled workflow to track orders and returns and validate against a daily manifest at the SKU level across all markets.
  3. Improved warehousing and home delivery efficiencies by up to 30%and reduced shrinkage and returns by up to 50%.
  4. Ability to ingest data from barcodes, RFID tags and IoT sensors, increasing customer satisfaction drastically with low investments.



Looking for results like these? Look no further than Trace.ai. Reach out to my team at labs@bcone.com. They would be happy to set up a demo for you.

Interested in learning more? Please join us on August 6, 2019, at 1:00 PM ET for a webinar related to this topic. Simply click here to register for “Supply Chain Visibility, Transparency and Traceability – an Ecosystem Play.”