Supply chains are getting more and more complex, thanks to soaring customer expectations for service and responsiveness and endless purchasing options. In this environment, how can a company manage what it can’t see, plan for what it doesn’t know, or execute a business plan if its supply chain partners are not aligned?

Many companies are rightfully looking to supply chain control towers for answers. What started as a central hub for supply chain visibility continues to evolve in new directions to meet the growing business needs of contract manufacturers, distributors, retailers and logistics providers. With more companies turning supply chain agility into a competitive differentiator, is your control tower up to the task?

New Needs Are Driving New Opportunities with Digital Technologies

Lack of the right technologies, not lack of need, has been an Achilles’ heel of the supply chain control tower evolution. First, there was lack of end-to-end data access across the extended supply chain in near real time. However, as enterprise resource planning systems have matured, it’s now possible to securely share more business-relevant information among supply chain partners, from manufacturing to retail. External data is also available and usable like never before. Today, in the era of big data and the Internet of Things, data abounds… providing updates on weather, social media and other news that have the potential to tangibly affect supply chain performance.

Of course, having access to data is one thing. Turning that data into useful insights is another.  Fortunately, today’s advanced analytics capabilities can turn data into meaningful insights that can be harnessed for more effective decision making. Machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence, can glean patterns from large data sets, predicting disruptions and even making prescriptive recommendations.

Machine learning can require extensive computing power to process hundreds of internal and external signals and billions of data points to arrive at unbiased predictions that lead to more profitable business decisions. Fortunately, another technology enabler – cloud computing – makes that computing power more available, scalable and flexible.

Expecting More…

Today, we should expect more from our supply chain control towers. Yes, it still starts with end-to-end visibility, but more importantly, the control tower should serve as a crisis control center that allows your organization to see, interpret, collaborate and act on real-time information from the entire digital ecosystem. It should have early warning capabilities that automatically sense unexpected events across the extended supply chain and identify the potential impact of those disruptions and opportunities. Using that information, the control tower should leverage machine-learning based scenario planning and what-if analysis to prescribe and orchestrate the appropriate response.

By leveraging the latest technologies for real-time visibility, collaboration and intelligent response, you can now leverage your supply chain control tower to balance short-term responsiveness with long-term strategic goals –  leading to improved service, increased revenue and lower cost to serve.

It’s time to demand more from your control tower. With the latest technologies, it’s now possible to expect the following from your supply chain control tower:

  • Real-time, end-to-end visibility based on digital signals from ecosystem partners, including suppliers, contract manufacturers, transportation carriers and third-party logistics providers
  • Collaborative information sharing in real time with supply chain partners
  • Early warning alerts and exception management that predict disruptions based on external events, along with the likelihood of impact, before they disrupt your business
  • Decision support, backed by data science using predictive and prescriptive analytics, for intelligent response
  • Autonomous decision making and control options that boost productivity
  • Cognitive intelligence that self corrects the supply chain using machine learning-based decision making

Ready to Learn More?

JDA Luminate Control Tower is a SaaS solution that senses unexpected events across the supply chain, identifies potential impact of such disruptions and orchestrates subsequent corrective action with machine learning-based prescriptive guidance. Learn how this “digital nerve center” can help you predict and prevent supply chain disruptions and maximize opportunities.