Readers of a certain age will remember when Maverick, played by Tom Cruise, in Top Gun told Goose that it was time to“Buzz the Tower,” which meant the fighter pilots had to execute a low fly-by passing very close to the control tower at high speeds. The officer spilled his coffee over himself because of the maneuver, adding to the comedic humor.
What is a Supply Chain Control Tower?
A supply chain control tower is not a physical building full of air traffic controllers directing planes. Instead, a supply chain control tower is a cloud-based solution that leverages advanced technologies – such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, or similar distributed ledger technologies, and perhaps even the Internet of Things (IoT) – to proactively manage supply chains.
Why is a Control Tower Needed?
Like Maverick in both the 1986 and 2022 Top Gun films, as well as your clients and business executives, supply chain visibility has “the need for speed”.
As the pace of digital transformation in companies speeds up, increased complexity and volatility are creating the need for supply chain organizations to adapt their investments in technology to better align with the requirements of increased agility, resiliency, and intelligent operations. Supply chain leaders must keep their focus on future risks and opportunities, and drive investments in supply chain technology to:
- Support new business
- Improve business processes and efficiency
- Improve productivity
- Enhance decision making
- Improve supply chain resiliency
- Gain competitive advantage
Many companies feel that technology upgrades are critical to the continued success and growth of their businesses, and implementing a supply chain Control Tower is often an initial step in their supply chain technology journey. Implementing a Control Tower assists companies in moving away from fragmented, siloed visibility and decision-making toward end-to-end visibility and vertically/horizontally aligned decision-making. Companies can sense, understand, and react to supply chain changes across their network in real time.
Control towers are created with a combination of processes, data, organization/people, and technologies that help improve visibility, control, and decision-making. A control tower should not be viewed as a stand-alone application, but instead, as an integrated capability that is embedded in a broader supply chain management suite or tool. It should be leveraged as an analytics-driven, decision-support tool.
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More and more, companies are looking to enable E2E visibility and support E2E decision-making in order to remain competitive. A control tower enables companies to make faster decisions that assist in mitigating supply chain risk and with the help of AI/ML to provide recommendations.
Key Control Tower Capabilities:
- Impact analysis
- Advanced analytics
- Continuous monitoring
- Collaborative response
- Artificial Intelligence
- Machine Learning
The challenge for supply chain executives looking to introduce or enhance an existing control tower is to project manage the development of the new technologies and capabilities of the tower while keeping existing clients and other stakeholders satisfied. Many existing supply chain clients of Perficient find it challenging to find the investment, expertise, and time for upgrading their current system(s).
That is why so many supply chain executives look to Perficient to supply the industry experience and best practices knowledge for designing and building their upgraded control tower capabilities.
Learn more about Perficient’s supply chain capabilities here.
Carl Aridas has been a member of Perficient’s Digital Assets Team since 2021. Supporting mostly large financial services firms, he is certified in the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), is a Scrum Master, and is a Six Sigma Green Belt project manager.
Lin Eshleman has been a member of Perficient’s Supply Chain team since 2021. Supporting large, cross-industry Supply Chain firms, he has a PMP certification and is a Six Sigma Green Belt project manager.
Ryan Scruby has been a member of the Perficient Digital Assets Team since 2021. He is a Project Manager with 12+ years of experience in the financial services industry.