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Supply chain professionals everywhere increasingly invest in new technologies and processes to manage through an environment of unrelenting supply chain disruption. FourKites’ new Order Intelligence Suite (OIS) is the most recent example of what the supply chain community can accomplish when it applies its collective brainpower and will power to solve problems.

As we continue to see with the impacts related to Covid-19, disruptions across the supply chain cause ripple effects — not just within industries, but across industries, as well. To that end, the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry has been hit hard, and the community has responded by looking for ways to get a more high-level view on the ecosystem-wide impacts caused by these ongoing disruptions.

As part of the recently announced Supply Chain Health and Performance Task Force, whose mission is to increase visibility and ease supply chain pressures across the CPG industry, FourKites worked closely with Consumer Brands and 15 of its members to identify common pain points and create a solution that would address these challenges by breaking down silos between teams and systems, and leveraging the scale of the FourKites network to provide unprecedented visibility into the CPG supply chain ecosystem. Consumer Brands chose FourKites to help them think through how to collaboratively identify, measure, and manage these disruptions.

Step one was extensive discovery. We spoke to many of the largest CPG companies to understand how disruptions impact their supply chain and what issues arise. We also discussed how we can enable a solution to these issues by leveraging the FourKites platform, paired with the data resident in the various systems of these CBA members.

We talked to stakeholders across more than half a dozen internal departments at different CPG firms in order to pinpoint the key issues.

  • Strategy and leadership teams wanted the ability to be alerted to important events (e.g. breakdown within a plant, production line disruption), and visibility into every impacted order.
  • Transportation teams wanted visibility into their top bottlenecks, by facility, as well as carrier performance, dwell time, and volume.
  • Inbound/procurement teams needed the ability to view SKUs at facilities with low days of supply, and drill into inbound orders and orders in the yard with low SKUs. They asked for the ability to mark bulk action orders as “hot”, so that inbound trucks get fast tracked and trailers carrying important orders get unloaded first in the yard.

We documented more than 100 key pain points across multiple stakeholders and departments, and with that as our guide, mapped out the databases and API services that needed to be integrated in order to bring the desired functionality to life. The result is OIS, a new single-pane-of-glass view of the entire lifecycle of every order. We will integrate order data, load information across modes, yard shipments, inventory visibility and other critical third-party systems, such as warehouse management systems and order management systems, so shippers and their supply chain partners can eliminate inefficiencies, manage exceptions, reduce expenses and increase customer satisfaction at every step of an order’s journey.

Shared dashboards will provide participating members a real-time view of facilities, lanes and interchanges causing the most inefficiencies for CPG companies. Users can drill down into the line-item level impacts of bottlenecks, and can then collaborate across teams to resolve those inefficiencies. It’s customizable and configurable by role, so that everyone — from the executive suite to customer service to the yard — can enjoy unprecedented visibility and control over every order. And it’s built with modern APIs, so companies can leverage the data in other key systems.

It’s the latest industry-first innovation born from necessity and made possible through the collaboration of a determined supply chain community. Thank you, Consumer Brands and participating members. We look forward to what’s next.

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