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Top 5 Trends for Supply Chain Control Towers in 2022

Supply Chain Control Tower - Header

Supply chain management has become increasingly complex and involves more coordination among network partners. Control tower technology was introduced to provide greater visibility and more efficient collaboration within the evolving ecosystem. Over time, the technology has adapted from a narrow solution that spanned transportation management to a more comprehensive and holistic capability to fit the growing demand for wider system integration, efficiency, intelligence, and speed. Here are a few of the most exciting and critical supply chain control tower trends in 2022 that help build flexibility, agility, and resilience.

5 Features of a Successful Supply Chain Control Tower

1. No Disjointed Legacy Apps

According to the 2021 Gartner Supply Chain Technology User Wants and Needs Survey, 55% of chief supply chain offers (CSCOs) said their primary organizational focus is integration across core supply chain processes and the extended value chain. Why is it so important to shift from a portfolio-based environment to a natively-unified, single-platform control tower?

Control Tower - Centralized DataMultiple separate entities, including, for example, material suppliers, contract manufacturers, VMI specialists, LSPs, warehouses, reverse logistics specialists, and carriers, may all contribute to one supply chain, resulting in a complex network of partners, each with their own individual data infrastructure spread across multiple ERPs and warehouse management systems, among others. When all these partners deploy separate business applications, it’s easy for information to become siloed, and there are fewer opportunities to collaborate on objectives, improve operations, and track granular costs. There are also bound to be integration errors and data redundancies that could compromise the integrity and quality of the data that’s used for strategic decision-making.

A supply chain control tower as part of a multi-party orchestration platform removes segmentation and helps streamline processes across organizations. By centralizing data and eliminating silos, the control tower makes a complex, multi-tiered process easier to monitor and control. It can accept orders from multiple ERPs, offer actionable visibility across inventory, orders, and transport, and lay the foundation for intelligence and optimization across inbound, outbound, and reverse flows.

2. True End-to-End Visibility

Visibility is one of the most crucial aspects of a supply chain control tower, not just when it comes to transportation, but also when it comes to inventory, logistics, and warehouse activities.Returns management and reverse logistics, for example, are typically managed separate from downstream business flows; as a result, opportunities to provide full order visibility to customers is lost which would impact serviceability to them.

End to End Visibility

With end-to-end visibility, flows can be multi-directional and adapted to fit order specifications and various service levels. Broad-scale insights about the product’s availability and life cycle can also be gleaned by looking at granular and holistic views of supply chain operations, which means CSCOs will have better quality data to base their decisions on.

3. In-App Solutions

Early control tower solutions were essentially visibility dashboards—they provided insight and analytics tracking, but most operations still had to be executed manually. If the corresponding parties used different ERP programs, viewing and changing an order might require logging into separate systems or contacting a representative directly over phone or email. These processes are time-consuming, disjointed, and don’t typically lead to immediate resolutions.

In contrast, the next generation of control towers are significantly improved and enable swift resolutions. They offer in-app functionality, which means users can execute changes within the SCM/SCP software, thereby reducing how much time is needed to monitor and modify orders as needed.

4. Sustainability Objectives and GHG Monitoring

HubSpot Video

In response to a growing demand for “green” initiatives, control tower platforms can now incorporate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into supply chain planning. For example, users may input parameters about an order, then optimize the product flow based on EN 16258 standards and the GLEC framework. Supply chain partners can also be scored by GHG emissions, fuel efficiency, and other non-monetary weighted values to facilitate the partner selection process.

Additionally, control towers as part of multi-party orchestration platforms can help logistics teams plan and execute all flows against the lowest carbon footprint, as well as take various steps to minimize impact and monitor progress to continuously improve and meet sustainability goals.

5. Embedded Intelligence, Data Science, and Machine Learning

Supply chain control tower systems that are integrated network-wide have access to a pool of data that’s continuously growing and becoming more reliable. When updates occur in real-time from multiple data pipelines, the information is often more representative of actual conditions. Data science and machine learning make it possible to aggregate data then apply the information to strategy and planning.

Digital supply chain twins are an example of one way machine learning can be used to facilitate decision-making—through model simulation, CSCOs can optimize flows and networks virtually before implementing any changes in the real world.

Bringing Everything Together Through Single-Platform Optimization

Just like the dual spheres of supply and demand, control tower solutions are constantly evolving. To manage disruptions and optimize operations in a reality that is rife with uncertainty and risk, organizations need a supply chain control tower that supports network-wide integration for E2E visibility that provides one version of the truth across the ecosystem. Further, information is only as good as what you can do with it – and how quickly. In-app functionality is critical for timely and data-driven decision-making that helps teams maintain the highest service levels at the lowest possible cost. Next generation supply chain control towers also enable growth in digital transformation and maturity, with capabilities for GHG monitoring, machine learning, and scaling to efficiently and effectively meet growing reverse logistics needs, omnichannel fulfillment needs, and beyond.

 

The MPO Supply Chain Control Tower enables seamless systems integration across the multi-party network, enabling end-to-end supply chain visibility and in-app control. With an embedded layer of intelligence and machine learning capabilities, businesses are empowered to solve immediate pain points today, while also leveraging predictive analytics to future-proof against tomorrow's challenges. Learn more about how the platform can support your digital transformation initiatives by downloading a copy of the Control Tower and Visibility Solution Guide below. You can also reach out to info@mpo.com or request a demo today.

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MPO Solution Guide

Supply Chain Control Tower

Take control of modern complexities, like new sales models and distribution channels, expanding logistics partners, and increasingly fragmented systems, by connecting and creating actionable visibility through a single platform.

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Supply Chain Trends

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