Seeing is believing: how low code is bringing visibility to supply chains


Did you know the human eye can distinguish one million different colours? Not only that, in a single second, the eye can focus on fifty different objects and transmit roughly ten million bits of data to the brain.

And yet – and yet – despite our amazing ability to see, examine, and explore the world around us, the complexities of the modern supply chain leave many of us in the dark.

You don’t need me to tell you supply chains are important. They’re the glue holding businesses together: the science of getting things from A to B in the best possible way. But as businesses grow, keeping an eye on all their intricate moving parts gets nigh-on impossible.

And that’s a problem. Supply chains are like gardens: if they’re not kept in check, they quickly grow unwieldy. And it’s not just about cutting costs and staying lean. Without a proper grasp on their supply chains, businesses simply aren’t able to deliver on customers’ increasing expectations.

Today, organisations need minute control over how products are sourced and assembled. Customers need real-time updates on when their items will be delivered. And frontline workers need to be empowered to answer a myriad of buyer questions: everything from how long a delivery will take, to the carbon footprint of their delivery van. Furthermore, with the rise of online-first businesses, many must rely on technology to visualise stock and plan routes for delivering and returning stock. Convenience, efficiency, and sustainability. These themes have become critical to business success in recent years. And yet to embrace them, it isn’t enough for businesses to prune their supply-chain garden – they need to completely renovate it.


A visual solution  

The answer is to develop a solution that provides complete transparency. By being able to visualise the entire supply chain, businesses are able to spot inefficiencies, discover opportunities, and really put in place some of those blue-sky projects. But that’s easier said than done. Businesses accept they need to rethink their operations, but the hurdle to overcome is development complexity.

There’s no cut-and-paste formula to innovation. Supply chains are as individual as the businesses they serve. Their tendrils sprawl across the globe, constantly shifting and morphing to accommodate the latest market conditions and regulatory standards. Many of us would rather run a mile than write a line of code, and more than ever, attracting and retaining developer talent isn’t easy.

But the more pressing problem is just how siloed development tends to be. Even with talent onboard, development often lacks the input of stakeholders across the business – leading to solutions that don’t fulfil their potential. The solution is to democratise the development process: to open it up to everyone across the business who isn’t from a technical background – or ‘citizen developers’ as we like to call them. The barrier to entry needs to be lowered. And the best way to do that is through low code.


Low-code development

Low-code development takes away the manual coding process, and replaces it with visual modelling. Notice the theme of visualisation returning? Just as digital opens up the supply chain, low code opens up development, making creation simpler, more accessible, and downright fun. Everyone from operations to marketing can add their domain expertise to the mix, enabling them to build applications and fix supply chain problems without becoming a part-time dev.

Supply chain solutions aren’t only more robust, but they’re also developed much faster – in fact, we’ve found it takes only a tenth of the time usually spent developing apps. The only times dev teams are needed are for more complex features – things like calculating stock or fleet management. It’s no secret bringing developers on board costs a pretty penny, so being able to keep creation with existing employees saves a lot of money – all without compromising on quality.

That’s the beauty of low code. It isn’t a shortcut or compromise. It’s a tool that empowers stakeholders, and adds transparency to processes that’re inaccessible to most. All at once, innovation isn’t limited by coding knowledge. To a hungry business determined to succeed, the only limit is their imagination – and their vision for the future.