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Insights into a Supply Chain Tower

By CIOReview | Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Supply chain tower employs AI and acts as a system of engagement across the partners, people, and things.

FREMONT, CA: The supply chain control tower, unlike a typical tower, not only provides visibility to immediate trading partners but uses AI and acts as a system of engagement across the partners, people and things, and orchestrates companies to serve the end consumer in real time. So, what does a supply chain control mean? Here are a few insights:

• It pervades over the entire end-to-end supply chain process. In the case of a manufacturer, that might range from source and manufacture to deliver. If there is visibility to transportation processes, then “control tower” can be better addressed as “View” or “cockpit.”

• Event management is essential. If delivery will not arrive on time, it’s just the beginning of the processes in a supply chain control tower. Further, a control tower must have the visibility to estimate how the events will affect the supply chain plans. For instance, knowledge about the failure of the inbound arrival has several implications. A supply chain must be able to view these impacts.

• Exceptions involve financial implications and customer service. A supply chain control tower is expected to expose those implications.

• Fixing up the exceptions require various planning scenarios. A seamless transition across the situations is critical. The impact of scenarios on finance and service must be readily visible with the help of the supply chain systems.

• All the exceptions should not appear on a real-time basis. Too many exceptions can limit the user’s response capabilities. The alerts should first reach the respective managers according to the processes. The managers must be equipped with the ability to decide and configure the alerts.

• Clean and accurate data is critical but difficult to accomplish. For instance, visibility into the whereabouts of empty rail cars and their expected time of arrival to a loading facility is reported to be extremely poor by the shippers.

• Intuitive views provide added advantage. For example, Google map is a better choice for tracking deliveries. For tracking demand surges, different views are suitable.

• Ideally, a control tower provides visibility to the possible circumstances that can adversely affect the organization. To put it in simple terms, it must highlight the supply chain risks.