Are you holding your supply chain data hostage in siloed software solutions or data warehouses? It’s time to use all of that data to your advantage. Organizations work hard at collecting all of the data but what happens next? Yes, that’s right…non value added activity extracting data, merging information between systems, waiting for results and guessing at decisions. Imagine what it would be like if:
- Every one of your employees made a difference every day
- Every one of your stock holders could see the difference every day
- Every one of your customers would want your difference every day
Sounds idealistic but supply chain practices need to improve. One such idea that is being turned into reality within many supply chain organizations is that of a control tower. You immediately think of an airport control tower and that is very similar to a supply chain control tower. Air traffic control is fundamental in the airline industry so why wouldn’t we embrace this role in the supply chain? Think of the complexity across multiple industries today – aerospace, high tech, pharmaceutical, retail, CPG, industrial…..Organizations are global in nature with numerous distribution centers, manufacturing centers, inventory stocking locations and very very volatile demand. How does that get managed without a control tower? Unfortunately, we are conditioned in supply chain to think in silo’s. Siloed software solutions, siloed geographies, and siloed business processes. A control tower solution integrates all of these silos. It does the monitoring and provides predictive visibility and the “Supply Chain Traffic Controller” is alerted to conditions that require their attention and works with others to resolve the conflicts. It can support numerous supply chain processes from demand planning, to supply planning, project management, and P&L. Processes that will improve the overall effectiveness of the supply chain become part of that organization’s control tower. If you haven’t already you will hear about visionaries within supply chain organizations, analysts and software companies working together to deliver state of the art control towers. I highly recommend Capgemini’s article on Global Supply Chain Towers (full report). I am interested in your opinions. What do you see as opportunities or challenges in implementing a control tower approach in your organization?