Most firms have already invested in business intelligence, supply chain management (SCM), and modeling tools that claim to make it possible to drill deeper into their supply chain data in search of savings. These tools are often marketed with vague promises that they will harness the organization's 'big data' and/or provide 'end-to-end' visibility.
We live in a time of incredible technological progress. Self-driving cars and self-flying drones have already arrived, and more intelligent machines are surely just over the horizon. For many in the supply chain management community, the next big technology is the "control tower". Millions of dollars have been spent marketing the idea that a control tower is the "intelligent" system of the future and the solution to your problems. What is a control tower and should you invest in one?
In the world of enterprise management software, logistics and transportation has often been seen as a very isolated island. Those of us on the inside know that the logistics world continues to be just as fragmented and disconnected as it was 20 or 30 years ago. Logistics providers operate blindly within the supply chain, and have little idea of what is happening upstream or downstream. It's a fundamental problem that is especially ripe for disruption. Get ready, because major change is on the horizon.
A recent Deloitte survey of 600 executives at manufacturing and retail companies found that 63 percent were highly concerned about risks within the extended supply chain comprising vendors and customers, ranking it among their top-two concerns. The executives surveyed also cited "lack of acceptable cross-functional collaboration" as the number one obstacle to managing risk effectively. While these survey results indicating a serious lack of collaboration and coordination among trading partners are certainly worrisome, should they really come as a surprise?