Supply Chain Orchestration with Modern Control Towers
                           Sneha Kumar November 21, 2022

In the retail cycle, supply chain management is vital. It enables businesses to maintain a long-lasting, positive relationship with clients and deliver the ideal product. A smooth flow of a product through each stage, from manufacturing to the point of sale, is ensured by an effective supply chain. The consumer experience may deteriorate from slight supply chain management distortions, which may also put businesses at risk of financial loss.

Supply chains are fraught with geopolitical complexity, regulatory obstacles, and operational risk across the world and across industries. As international logistics networks are compromised, consumer demand becomes more erratic, and supplier and inventory status are disturbed, COVID-19’s effects simply intensify this wide range of difficulties and call for a more rapid reaction.

The expectation for supply chain executives to deliver what customers want, when and where they want it, while also streamlining operations and cutting costs is immense. This is particularly difficult when there are unforeseen but inevitable risks and disruptions.

On average, U.S. retail operations have a supply chain accuracy of only 63%. This can result in significant delays and re-stocking issues. For example, 34% of businesses have shipped an order late due to selling a product that wasn’t in stock.

What Is a Control Tower & How can it benefit?

A Control Tower is a dynamic end-to-end capability that implements three interconnected elements to support strategic priorities, address particular business difficulties, and produce quantifiable benefits:

Why Supply Chain Control Tower?

Many supply chain leaders believe they lack the visibility required to optimize network performance, take a proactive approach to manage unforeseen events, and ensure an agile network that is responsive to changing constraints.

There has never been a more pressing need for swift action. Companies require real-time intelligence and actionable advice to help manage risks and disruptions in order to respond successfully.

The rise of the cloud, with its processing power and capacity to absorb and analyze massive volumes of data, along with AI, ML, IoT, and predictive and prescriptive supply chain analytics is a game changer for companies. Supply chain control towers of the present day offer complete visibility and in-depth context for all supply chain processes.

Control towers are widely used and are evolving to cover the full supply chain. Grandview Research estimates that the size of the worldwide control tower market will increase to $17.24 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 15.9%.

The easiest way to do that is with control towers specifically created for supply chain optimization. A purpose-built inventory control tower, for instance, could provide you with crucial real-time data to manage inventory more successfully. An inventory control tower for a supply chain can provide end-to-end insight across inventory silos and diverse systems, from raw material availability and supplier orders to the final mile of customer delivery, when it is supported by AI and machine intelligence.

A control tower-driven strategy that regularly considers the complexities and interdependence among various elements will be beneficial for the current retail supply chain.

Some of the key technological capabilities and benefits of a supply chain control tower are:

  • Continuous intelligence: Real-time, continuous data collection (event stream processing or business activity monitoring)
  • Advanced Analytics: Utilize predictive and prescriptive analytics in advanced analytics to go from being reactive to proactive
  • Impact Analysis: Analyse the effects of signals coming from the digital ecosystem on the supply chain of the business
  • Scenario Modelling: Simulate several scenarios to come up with an appropriate, intelligent solution
  • Collaboration: Connect to the environment and work together in response (For example, a collaboration room)
  • Automation: Machine learning and artificial intelligence will enable more automation

Supply chain control towers provide end-to-end, real-time insight across an organization’s complete network, including suppliers, manufacturers, and business partners. They let enterprises plan for infinite unknowable possibilities, control what they cannot see, and lessen disruptions and risks before they become problems. This visibility and immediate access to current information are crucial for supply chain agility and resilience in a world where historical data can no longer reliably anticipate current and future demand, and disruptions range from extreme weather to trade conflicts to vessels blocking the Suez Canal.

Next Steps for Retailers

We can already see the benefits of Control Tower adoption in some of the leading worldwide companies, such as:

  • Schnellecke Logistics SE, which keeps automotive supply chains running around the world with logistics services and supplies, achieved real-time transparency with a digital control tower.
  • Orkla Food Ingredients – A distributor of bakery and ice cream ingredients and plant-based products to 22 European countries, makes proactive supply chain planning decisions with in-depth, accurate insights using supply chain control towers.
  • Lenovo – The company’s AI-powered approach to risk management through smart control towers reduces its response time to supply chain disruptions from days to minutes.

Control Towers can practically meet the need for Supply Chain visibility by serving as an inter-organizational coordinating platform. Supply chain collaboration can reduce bullwhip effect costs as well as overall inventory and administrative costs for the whole chain. Retailers can continue operating as usual, and upstream suppliers can increase customer loyalty and cut costs by exchanging information. As labor and inventory costs decline over time, suppliers are able to retain customers while ensuring effective expense management.

About the Author


Sneha Kumar

Working as a Consultant, Cloud Engineering Studio for Brillio with 4 years of industry experience in delivering value for a variety of digital transformation projects and assessments across several verticals worldwide. Focused on developing technology POVs, GTM strategies, and emerging tech use cases for various clients across industries such as BFSI, Retail, Telecom, Real Estate, and Hitech. Certified SAFe Product Owner.

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