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5 Reasons Every Company Needs a Supply Chain Control Tower

by | IntelliTrans | Jul 7, 2022 | Blog News

Here’s how supply chain control towers help companies operate more efficiently, tackle their biggest supply chain challenges and give their customers high levels of service and support.

As supply chain disruptions, rising fuel costs, transportation capacity crunches and labor shortages continue to impact companies across all industries, more organizations are turning to technology to help them sort through these constraints, make good decisions and plan for the future. 

Over the last few years, the supply chain control tower has emerged as a go-to technology platform for companies wanting to shore up their supply chains and gain better visibility over these vital networks. More of them are replacing their existing manual approaches, disparate systems and disconnected applications with connected, personalized dashboards that aggregate data, important business metrics and events related to the supply chain. 

With all of this information—and more—and their fingertips on a single dashboard, supply chain, logistics and transportation managers can make good decisions based on current data versus historical events. By providing end-to-end supply chain visibility, control towers help organizations eliminate data silos, reduce the need for manual work and generate actionable, real-time insights that companies can rely on. 

Gartner defines a supply chain control tower as a “concept that results in combining people, process, data, organization and technology.” It says control towers capture and use near-real-time operational data from across the business ecosystem. Businesses can then use that data for enhanced visibility and improved decision making. 

“Supply chain control tower is not a stand-alone SCM application, but an integrated capability embedded in a broader SCM suite or tool,” Gartner Analyst Christian Titze points out. “It could be an intelligent data platform providing use-case specific insights, predictions and suggestions.”

5 Reasons to Use a Supply Chain Control Tower

For optimal results, Gartner says control towers should provide continuous intelligence in real-time, advanced analytics, impact analysis (i.e., to help organizations understand the impact of signals from the digital ecosystem to their supply chains), scenario modeling to simulate different scenarios for providing a suitable smart response, collaborate response (across the supply chain ecosystem) and artificial intelligence that helps drive a higher degree of automation. 

  1. Manage the “now” while planning for the future. Once in place, control towers help organizations manage current supply chain challenges and also prepare themselves for what’s to come, knowing that the next roadblock could be lurking around the corner. Rather than relying solely on historical data or guesswork, companies have the data, analytics and metrics they need to work through current issues and keep their organizations on track for future success. 
  1. Better supply chain visibility made possible by accurate data. If the supply chain shortages that took hold early in the pandemic taught companies anything, it’s that historical data isn’t always the best measure of what’s to come. With a control tower, visibility gleaned from supply chain data inputs can be translated into a higher level of understanding. Companies know what they need to do next and also gain the benefits of being able to automate routine, repetitive tasks, effectively freeing up time, improving employee engagement and allowing team members to focus on more important projects.

  2. Generate better business outcomes. By leveraging cognitive automation, control towers “learn” from the actions and decisions that are being made. This, in turn, drives ongoing operational improvements, mitigates disruption and leads to higher levels of customer service. By combining human and machine intelligence, these platforms generate the absolute best outcomes. As the machines sift through large quantities of data, team members can manage the intricacies of relationships and other “human” elements of the supply chain. 
  1. Real-time supply chain transparency. Control towers analyze and compare data using scenarios and digital twins to predict deviations that will impact shipments. This helps operational personnel to focus their energy on the most important exceptions first, versus having to review and assess every potential problem. This translates into less manual work, lower risk and reduced costs. 
  1. Establish, track and achieve KPIs by monitoring progress on the fly. Control towers send alerts when anomalies occur, including delayed shipments or stock-outs. They then calculate the impact of that anomaly on the overall supply chain and provide that information to logistics, supply chain and/or transportation management as it’s happening. With this information in hand, these individuals can make the quick and accurate decisions necessary to avoid and/or mitigate potential disruptions. 

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How Can a Supply Chain Control Tower Help Your Company?

IntelliTrans’ Global Control Tower provides high levels of supply chain transparency; aggregates, completes, and enhances data from a variety of sources; offers visibility into and execution of different aspects of the supply chain; and generates data-driven alerts and analytics that ask deeper questions and deliver meaningful insights. 

By leveraging tracking information, the Global Control Tower provides analytics that measures key performance indicators (KPIs) like fleet cycle time, origin/destination dwell time, lane and hauler performance, back orders, freight spend, load optimization, and more. With their rate, equipment, lease, tracking, and invoice data in a central repository that’s accessible 24/7, companies can position themselves for success in any market conditions.