In a recent article entitled, “Information sharing communities for digitally enabled supply chain visibility” published by UNCTAD a group of co-authors representing world-leading organisations (listed below) and led by Mikael Lind of the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) points out that all stakeholders are looking for more and better information to reduce their costs and make supply chains more agile. These stakeholders understand that connectivity and information sharing will facilitate the smooth and seamless movement of goods, and many are investing in digital technologies to make this a reality.
However, since sharing requires standardised messaging and interfacing between information sharing communities, the article contributors calls for greater collaboration between organisations like the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to expedite this. More importantly, it calls for a shift in attitudes: Everyone needs to take responsibility for helping establish simple, fair data sharing models. Only then will the true potential of data and information sharing be unleashed.
How to unleash the potential
The article's authors are confident that the benefits – for both people and the planet – of unleashing this potential will make the effort more than worthwhile. They highlight how greater supply chain visibility and information sharing will allow goods to be moved in a more streamlined, cost-effective way. How it will allow greener decisions to be made regarding routes and choice of transport modes, how waste can be virtually eliminated, and how new innovation opportunities will open up.
But the potential advantages go way beyond economics and the environment. Greater transparency would also pave the way for improved emergency and humanitarian support. Consider a world in which emergency food relief to famine-struck areas could be clearly tagged for priority handling across all transport modes and handlers. And when it comes to distributing a COVID-19 vaccine – possibly the greatest logistics challenge ever seen – how better visibility of logistics data might translate into more lives saved.
Visilion makes a vital contribution
Modern IoT services like the Visilion asset tracking and supply chain visibility solution from Sony make a vital contribution to the ideal scenario described. Visilion not only provides supply chain stakeholders with real-time information about the location of their goods, but also insights into the condition of those goods – which is especially important when shipping sensitive medicine, medical equipment or food stuffs. Read more about Visilion.
Collaboration, the key to success
Even if the foundations for data sharing are yet to be fully established and there are still challenges to be overcome, The authors conclude that we must work together to tap into the tangible benefits – not only for those directly involved, but also for society as a whole.
Information sharing communities for digitally enabled supply chain visibility by
Mikael Lind, Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE)
Margi van Gogh, World Economic Forum
Hanane Becha, UN/CEFACT
Norbert Kouwenhoven, IBM TradeLens
Wolfgang Lehmacher, Anchor Group
Erik Lund, Sony Network Communications Europe
Henk Mulder, IATA
Niall Murphy, EVRYTHNG
André Simha, MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company SA)