Traditionally, a supply chain control tower is defined as a connected, personalized dashboard of data, key business metrics, and events from across the supply chain. A control tower for supply chain allows businesses to better understand, prioritize, and resolve critical issues in real time. A smarter control tower should provide end-to-end visibility across the supply chain, especially in the event of unanticipated external events. It should make use of advanced technologies, such as AI and machine learning, to assist you in breaking down data silos, reducing or eliminating manual processes, and obtaining real-time actionable insights.
Types of supply chain control towers
Logistics/transportation control towers: Control towers for logistics and transportation provide advanced shipping notifications, delivery data, and track-and-trace information — as well as visibility into inbound and outbound logistics.
Fulfillment control towers: Fulfillment control towers are designed to help expedite orders while lowering overall cost-to-serve.
Inventory control towers: Inventory control towers provide real-time visibility into inventory management, with a focus on preventing stock control and shortages.
Supply assurance control towers: Supply assurance control towers ensure that there is an adequate supply available, that additional supply is planned for delivery, and that other supply-related issues are addressed.
E2E supply chain control towers: E2E supply chain control towers are designed to provide visibility across internal and external systems and processes, with applications for various departments or entities.
Supply Chain Visibility is concerned with how organizations collect and connect data in order to extract critical supply chain execution information. It provides a unified view for tracking information, materials, and/or costs in a global supply chain by monitoring key dimensions such as inventory positions, shipment in-transit status, and real-time order movements in order to make informed and fact-based decisions.
Knowing more about Control Towers
Control Towers are cross-divisional organizations with “information hubs” that are system integrated and provide Supply Chain Visibility. These hubs are used for information gathering and distribution, and they enable people who have been trained to use these visibility capabilities to detect and act on risks or opportunities more quickly. Control Towers are commonly used to monitor, measure, and manage transportation and inventory movements throughout the supply chain.
Control towers combine organizations (people), systems, and processes to provide supply chain partners with a high level of product visibility across the entire supply chain. This allows for three different levels of management control:
- Strategic – provides control over the overall supply chain network
- Tactical – enables proactive procurement, operations, and distribution based on market demand
- Operational – includes various real-time functionality such as transportation management, inventory tracking, and exception management
Gaining End to End visibility with Supply Chain Control towers
The ultimate goal for supply chain managers and partners, including suppliers, manufacturers, carriers, brokers, logistics service providers, retailers, and other supply chain stakeholders, is end-to-end visibility. Customer demands change seasonally, which necessitates that the control tower be adaptable and digitally manageable. Because of this exciting capability, supply chain control towers are now a market force to reckon with.
Practitioners gain a better understanding of the changing operating environment and the impact of external events on the organization and supply chain by correlating external event information with internal information.
As businesses increasingly rely on their supply chains to become more customer-centric growth engines while remaining resilient and responsible, a Supply chain Control Tower has emerged as a critical, “must-have” capability. It is what businesses require to survive and thrive in an era of changing consumer expectations, the availability of new disruptive technologies, and the development of new business models. Pluto7 is helping organizations take a novel approach to supply chain management and driving enterprise value that has been long overdue.
So the benefits of implementing a control tower on a network are striking. Real-time networks eliminate information delays; provide end-to-end visibility, and better optimization thanks to fresh, big-picture data that reflects the reality of the supply chain now.
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