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5 Ways Supply Chain Control Towers Go Beyond Visibility

by | IntelliTrans | Apr 28, 2022 | Blog News

Control towers enable collaboration across teams, help companies better predict disruptions, improve resiliency, manage exceptions and respond to unplanned events.

Good supply chain visibility is a great thing to have. In fact, visibility has been the Holy Grail of supply chain management for as long as we can remember. And while the actual definition of visibility may differ depending on whom you ask, its basic premise is the ability to track various goods or products in transit, providing a clear view of both the inventory and related activity.

In the real world, supply chain visibility expands well beyond this basic definition to include real-time data about logistics and other aspects of the supply chain; the ability to help companies maneuver around inventory shortages, avoid bottlenecks, meet compliance directives and track products through to delivery; and the visibility both inside a company’s own operational borders and across its partner network. 

With supply chains around the world dealing with major pandemic-driven challenges right now, we’re all learning and adapting as we go. To improve efficiencies, work faster, tackle these issues and serve customers, companies are increasingly turning to technology to help them make more educated decisions.

5 Key Benefits

Supply chain control towers are playing an important role in these improvements, and along the way are going beyond traditional visibility. Here are five ways they’re doing this: 

  1. Providing real-time transparency: Visibility alone is often just based on glorified dashboards, but intelligent supply control towers help organizations analyze and compare data using scenarios and digital twins to deliver real-time representations of their supply chains. 
  1. Leveraging cognitive automation:Automation can free up valuable time by taking visibility gleaned from supply chain data inputs and translating it into a high level of understanding of what to do next and how to best handle mundane, repetitive tasks that would best left up to automation. 
  1. Learning from actions and decisions: Using cognitive automation, smart supply chain control towers go a step further and learn from the actions and decisions that are being made. This, in turn, helps companies drive ongoing operational improvements, avert disruption and provide higher levels of customer service. 
  1. Using augmented intelligence:By combining human and machine intelligence, modern control towers help users generate the absolute best outcomes. So where machines are adept at sifting through large quantities of data, humans can manage the nuances and intricacies of relationships and other “human” elements of the supply chain. 
  1. Helping companies meet their KPIs. A side benefit of having 100% supply chain visibility is that companies are better equipped to establish, track and meet their key performance indicators (KPIs) on a regular basis. That’s because control towers allow them to monitor the progress on the fly and over time. They also send alerts when anomalies occur (i.e., a potential out-of-stock situation on a critical raw material or component) and calculate the impact of that anomaly on the end-to-end supply chain. Armed with this information, supply chain managers can make quick and accurate decisions and avoid potential disruptions. 

Going Above and Beyond

Global control towers also provide high levels of supply chain transparency, integration and data aggregation that growing organizations need. Using purpose-built applications that are available on a single platform—and that draw from a single source of truth—they support effective execution and visibility, and keep companies apprised of what’s happening in their supply chains at any given point in time.

Finally, smart control towers enable collaboration across teams and trading associates and preserve organizational knowledge to improve and accelerate decision-making and outcomes. “Ultimately,” IBM points out, “this helps you better predict disruptions, improve resiliency, manage exceptions and respond to unplanned events.”

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The Ultimate Global Supply Chain Control Tower

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.