Visibility, Collaboration, Actionable Intelligence: The Big Three in Supply Chain Optimization
If you’re like most transportation or supply chain managers, you want to know what’s where in your supply chain. You need the scale of visibility that will give you the agility and speed to overcome supply chain disruptions. By investing in supply chain control towers, you gain the edge you need to provide demand-driven supply chain excellence.
Let’s take a look at what a control tower is and how it can help you improve your supply chain.
What is a Supply Chain Control Tower?
A supply chain control tower is a centralized software platform that offers permission-based users end-to-end visibility or across just their portion of the supply chain.
In the past, supply chain towers mainly provided visibility to direct trading partners. However, with the development of customer-centric and more complex supply networks, advanced control towers now offer all stakeholders inside and outside capabilities that can go far beyond real-time visibility, collaboration, and decision support to AI decision-making and control.
Advanced control towers use AI and predictive analytics to detect any activity outside of established rules, such as time, and quickly offer an optimum solution, including preventive measures for the future.
Supply chain control tower software also provides a platform for collaboration between all parties involved in the supply chain. This collaboration can help to improve communication and coordination, leading to a more efficient and effective supply chain network.
What are the Benefits of a Supply Chain Control Tower?
There are many benefits of having a supply chain control tower, but here are three of the most important:
1. End-to-End Visibility
One of the most significant benefits of a control tower is that it gives you visibility into every aspect of your supply chain. This is paramount to efficiency, including order entry, routing guide compliance, covering loads, rate confirmation, carrier acceptance, dispatching, and electronic data interchange. A good TMS will empower you to manage by exception, flagging shipments that will likely miss appointments due to weather, lane disruptions, or substandard carrier performance. Visibility will allow to:
- Know where inventory is located at all times across distribution centers and stores.
- Implement KPIs and event triggers for exception management.
- Integrate warehouse management systems with supplier inventories to expand product delivery.
- Reduce the complexity of your supply chain so that you can manage by exception.
- Perform geographic analysis to determine geographic regions exposed to natural hazards or security risks.
Control towers provide visibility into real-time exception detection, reducing the time between exception and resolution. Reducing the time required to identify and resolve exceptions increases productivity and lowers total operational costs.
2. Improved Collaboration
Supply chain transparency brings collaboration (or lack of it) to the forefront. It provides process automation and collaboration between all supply chain partners on a single platform with a centralized control tower. In addition to keeping you in control over all supply chain activities, control tower capabilities allow carriers, suppliers, and customers to collaborate on solving issues while the optimized supply chain activities can continue functioning business-as-usual.
When you have visibility into collaboration operations:
- You can identify potential issues early
- Develop a contingency plan
- Work together to find long-term solutions
This collaboration will improve the quality of your products and services and improve customer satisfaction in the long run.
Finally, improved collaboration can lead to better decision-making. When you have visibility into every aspect of your supply chain, you can identify issues early and work together to find solutions.
3. Actionable Intelligence
A supply chain control tower provides you with useful information that can help guide your decision-making process. This intelligence allows you to make data-based decisions about your supply chain.
Your control tower can flag exceptions and their root cause and propose solutions in real-time using the power of data and predictive analytics. In other words, it delivers the ability to see what is happening in real-time, brainstorm among the team, and change your supply chain tactics to win. As a result, your teams can work smarter, not harder.
Companies that have developed data-driven supply chain strategies are working with clear answers to what is happening in the supply chain and are better equipped to make better business decisions: actionable intelligence. Your network is brimming with KPIs and evidence-based data for continuous improvement, cost reduction, and strategic execution by leveraging this actionable intelligence.
Overall, the intelligence that the supply chain control tower provides can help you identify risks and issues early and take corrective action before they cause too much damage. This early detection can save your business time and money in the long run.
If you’re looking to improve the visibility of your supply chain and make informed decisions about your operations, a control tower is a valuable tool. Moreover, it’s an investment that can pay off in the long run and take your business to the next level.
Talk to Waypoint 3PL to discuss how a control tower can be customized to your specific visibility challenges.