the story goes, the meatpacking districts of Chicago were one of the first recorded drivers, towards the need, for supply chain transparency. The Jungle, authored by Upton Sinclair, outraged the American public in 1904, after Sinclair’s depiction of the harsh realities of the meat industry at the turn of the 20th century. The book sparked consumer concern, which prompted the Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act (Linich 2016).
One could even argue supply chain transparency — at it’s origin — is a byproduct of consumer concerns, materialized within poor production, social and/or environmental quality.
Still, today, supply chain transparency holds a prominent position in concerns for consumer and business, alike. Transparency has become an organizational effort in business, as it can impact various aspects of a value chain, if neglected; not solely supply chain management.
In 2018, the definition of supply chain transparency is very different than it was over a century ago, and the means for obtaining transparency are a bit more accessible than they were in 1904. Barcoding and Blockchain technology weren’t really within reach for the innovators of the early 1900’s.
Time and technology have shifted expectations, and formed a consensus:
What was once a luxury has become an imperative.
As mentioned the definition of supply chain transparency has undergone a shift, and that shift has brought elasticity to the terminology. For this reason, I thought it’d be a fun exercise to put a new name on supply chain transparency, rather than a typical sweeping-generalized definition.
There are nuances in the field, and dues to be paid to the great ingenuity that has driven it so far forwards.
With that, I bring you: The 5 Levels of Supply Chain Transparency