CollaborationTransparency is key in the market industry today. However, nobody can be transparent if they don’t collaborate with their partners, including suppliers, manufacturers and retailers. Collaboration is essential but cannot be done efficiently without the right tools.

Two interesting surveys put some data behind these thoughts. For the third year, Trace One invited retailers, manufacturers, and suppliers from Europe and North America to participate in a survey on private label collaboration and transparency. This survey provides direct insight into the benefits of collaboration in the supply chain. In parallel, Gatepost research surveyed a broader set of companies on supply chain visibility.

Over two-thirds of respondents of the Trace One survey said they know who their direct suppliers are. However, the real question for supply chain transparency is not “Who are your direct suppliers?” but rather, “Who supplies your suppliers?” The results of the Trace One survey indicate that only 26% of respondents have visibility beyond their direct suppliers’ network. Another survey, from Gatepoint Research between December 2015 and January 2016, confirms that only 19% of the companies surveyed have end to end visibility within their supply chain. Time has confirmed that the most common problems – supply chain management issues, product safety issues and/or product information inaccuracies – usually appear among your indirect suppliers (below Tier 1).

We have seen the rise of many new online technologies that allow people to connect both socially and professionally. These tools have continued to grow and have proven effective in their ability to create connections among vast networks, therefore making it easy to share and communicate information.

However, Trace One’s survey indicates that more than half of companies still use mostly offline tools to collaborate with their suppliers. Offline tools limit access to your data in terms of location and time. Who knows where you will be when there is a recall at your company or when somebody asks for information about your products or suppliers? The Gatepoint Research survey reports that only 14% of the executives surveyed have access to data in real time. By keeping this data online, you can have full access to all information about your supply chain, whenever you need it.

Better collaboration has also been proven to increase the productivity of your company. 87% of the Trace One survey respondents said their organizations are more productive because of collaboration with key stakeholders. Moreover, 68% of those respondents attributed improved customer sales and loyalty to their ability to communicate and share information with partners throughout the supply chain. And 76% of them believe that supply chain transparency impacts consumer confidence and buying behavior…and isn’t this what we all want?

• Trace One, “Third Private Label Collaboration Survey”, May 2016
• Gatepoint Research, “Trends in Supply Chain Visibility”, February 2016,

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