SUPPLY CHAIN CONTROL TOWERS GO BIG TIME


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When we got into SCM Control Towers, there were not too many others (you know, the “experts” who appear in your mailbox every day and draw crowds at those big conferences) who were writing about them or building them.

BUT WE TALKED A LOT ABOUT THEM AHEAD OF EVERYBODY ELSE

Now the “big guys” are finally getting into it.

So let’s recreate what we have published and give you some great material.

12 February, 2013

A new term is appearing in the supply chain arena: “Supply Chain Control Tower”. Just as an airport control tower coordinates airplanes landing and taking off, a Supply Chain Control Tower coordinates inbound and outbound distribution flows. Sure sounds more professional than a “dashboard”.
It is all about “knowledge”. Air controllers get information on weather, speed, direction, and altitude of aircraft and use that knowledge to keep their air space safe. Companies must know what is happening with their supply chains so they can prevent disasters too. They need to be able to do “what-if” analysis and work their way around events that will cause disruption and risks to the supply chain

10 May, 2013

Who Sits Where In The SCM Tower

The Global Supply Chain Forum has identified eight key processes that make up the core of supply chain management: (1) Customer Relationship Management (provides the structure for how the relationship with the customer is developed and maintained); (2) Customer Service Management (the company’s face to the customer); (3) Demand Management (coordinates all acts of the business that place demand on manufacturing capacity): (4) Order Fulfillment (integration of the firm’s manufacturing, logistics and marketing silos); (5) Manufacturing Flow Management; (6) Procurement (supplier relationship management); (7) Product Development and Commercialization (integrating customers and suppliers into the product development process in order to reduce time to market; (8) Returns.

In my first take at staffing the SCM Control Tower, I have Logistics, CRM, Demand Planning, Procurement and EDI/Electronic Commerce. I’m not far off the mark. I am covering all the “processes” that the Forum covers. In the Forum’s approach, everybody still reports organizationally in their own “silo” and proper operation of the SCM Control Tower depends on collaboration among the silos

21 June, 2013

SCM Control Tower Team Troubles

You are in the process of staffing your SCM Control Tower. This group will be drawn from different areas of your company (different “silos”) and different skill sets (for example, a “hazmat” expert). Is your SCM Control Tower going to be a team building melting pot or a boiling cauldron of dis-function. You could draw the brightest and most hard working employees in and outside of your company; but if they don’t get along, it could wreck your business.

 

19 August 2013

SCM Control Tower Functions

Our Supply ChainControl Tower is up and running. Yes, the idea makes a lot of sense, but what are the benefits? How do we make full use of our resources? What else do we need to add to it?


If you take a look at an airport control tower, it usually is a boring place. Yes, they work around the clock but all you see is a super smooth operation. Operators viewing screens and talking calmly into headsets. When it is not “boring”, they usually throw visitors out. Our goal with our SCM Control Tower is to make it a “boring” place.

Airport towers handle incidents on the ground like failed landing gear. They handle incidents in the air like a “near miss”. They even reach out to other airports: anybody ever sat in an airport waiting for your destination airport to plow its snow, or whatever?

So all the time our SCM “tower operators” are monitoring for aberrations: in-house; with the suppliers and service providers; and the external World. They are looking for anything that has, will or might interrupt the supply chain. When ever, let’s call it an “incident”, is detected, the tower operator first determines if it has already occurred.

05 September 2013

Transportation Control Towers

We have been talking a lot about Supply Chain Management Control Towers. Yes, transportation (usually under logistics) is included in the control tower. In many companies, transportation is outsourced to a 3PL, 4PL or 5PL provider. This provider is an expert at hooking your company up to any required transportation resources. Your provider already has some excellent tools available. A popular concept since the 1990’s has been the “Load Control Center” (LCC). We are looking at outsourcing, but yes, excellent software is available if you do it yourself.
Transportation has always been an opportunity to centralize and get some benefits. 3M started the concept of Load Control Centers(LCC) and lots of others followed suit. The LCC is simply centralization of transportation planning and execution. Benefits include:

  • better pricing from centralized transportation sourcing

  • development of standardized operating procedures

  • fewer planners than in several separate operations

  • ability to combine more shipments and loads because of greater visibility

  • electronic integration with carriers

 

4 November 2013

SCM Control Towers and BIG DATA

Control towers are used in many industries for different purposes: airports and railroads use them for traffic control; power plants have control rooms to monitor operations and third party logistics providers use them to track transportation activities. These are places where operations run well. Why not a “SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT CONTROL TOWER” to monitor and assure supply?

The SCM Control Tower is all about having visibility throughout the supply chain. But if there is total visibility and no ability to make decisions, then it is not a control tower. To be a decision maker, you will need to run “what if” scenarios: forecast and recalculate the entire inventory if “your ship doesn’t come in” (something that literally could happen). To be able to calculate effects of events, it will require a LOT of data. Hence, we need to introduce BIG DATA to our Control Tower.

HEY, I have a GREAT IDEA. If you have more stories or things to add, Send us your story (on the contact form) and WE WILL PUBLISH IT

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