In supply chain management, the control tower concept is about knitting together functionality across the enterprise by bringing the right information to the right person at the right time, says Landry.
While there are still opportunities to make incremental supply chain improvements by taking a piecemeal approach, “the real transformation and evolution can happen when you look cross-functionally and integrate each silo,” Landry says. “To me, that is the real game changer – to have the visibility and tools to manage end to end.”
This approach is a strategic business initiative that requires high level buy-in and support, Landry says. “You have to get alignment across different functions of the organization. That starts with defining your vision and aligning toward that vision, which then drives everything you do. It still comes down to departmental decisions, but these have to be made with the big picture in mind and in a coordinated fashion, with everyone on the same page strategically. Optimization of the tactical day to day will naturally follow.”
What is really different about the control tower approach is the predictive nature of the visibility it provides, he says. “You not only see what is happening today, but you can simulate conditions to see what is going to happen tomorrow, given different scenarios or different decisions. That vision into the future is what allows you to make the best decisions.”
Landry says having this ability will be fundamental to supply chains in the future. “It might not happen in the next year or two, but 10 years from now companies will have to be doing this to compete.”
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