The rise of supply chain control towers

Nov 27, 2020
Supply Chain

As supply chains become increasingly complex in response to competitive pressures and customer demands, organizations find themselves more and more challenged to maintain high levels of visibility, predictability and control. This complexity is partly a result of the e-commerce explosion of the past decade, enabled by significant developments in technology globally. However similar technology developments are what power new solutions for simplifying supply chain processes, bringing back control and certainty. A popular example is supply chain control towers.

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What is a Control Tower for Supply Chains?

In the same way a control tower manages incoming and outgoing air traffic at an airport to ensure smooth operations, a supply chain control tower does the same for supply chain activities. Though some dismiss ‘control tower’ as a marketing buzzword, it’s a helpful analogy in understanding the power and relevance of new analytical and operational capabilities. With full 360 degree visibility across an end-to-end supply chain, organizations can take back control of complex supply chains, benefiting productivity, profitability and reputation in the process.

Shippeo's Supply Chain Control Tower solution for real-time transportation visibility

What are the differences between Supply Chain Control Tower solutions?

Supply chain control tower solutions vary in scope and capability. Some platforms are purely analytical, offering insights based on historical data. These are useful for analyzing operations to optimize processes, improve cost efficiencies and increase customer satisfaction. However, operational supply chain control tower solutions benefit from real-time data, allowing users to go a step further and act on information to prevent or resolve issues and minimize potential impacts.

By integrating with a TMS solution, a control tower solution for supply chain transportation can do much more than just providing insight into inbound and outbound shipments. Deeply integrated platforms make it possible for supply chain partners to collaborate in new ways, right across internal and external end-to-end processes. Partners can include customers, suppliers, subcontractors and agencies.

The importance of real-time visibility for Supply Chain Control Tower solutions

When supply chain control tower solutions are used as operational tools, leveraging accurate and reliable real-time data is critically important. Without real-time data, there is no operational visibility. To ensure the accuracy of location data collected from telematics and TMS sources, powerful data cleansing and transforming techniques must be used, also in real-time. Leveraging sophisticated machine learning algorithms, the data can be used to determine ETAs that are both accurate and reliable. These predictive insights play a central role in streamlining operations and helping organizations become more agile.

The benefits of supply chain control towers

Supply chain control towers offer many benefits to organizations of all sizes and industries. These platforms can present a range of real-time data relating to supply chain activities in a more visual and useful way. This data can improve the ability of supply chain partners to collaborate in order to better respond to disruptions, orchestrate multi-tiered processes, take advantage of predictive decision-making capabilities, improve utilization of transport assets, reduce mileage, fuel costs and CO2 emissions as well as take advantage of dynamic slot bookings and more granular shipment visibility. And this is just the start.

For more information about supply chain control towers, or to discover how your operation could benefit, please get in touch with one of our team of experts today.

The rise of supply chain control towers

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