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Home / Supply Chain / Four Experts Sound Off on the Control Tower Approach to Supply Chain Management
The control tower concept may prove to be a way for companies to eliminate the functional silos that currently exist in supply chains. By utilizing and end-to-end integration for supply chain management, it is possible to optimize and utilize elemen

Four Experts Sound Off on the Control Tower Approach to Supply Chain Management

green transportThe control tower concept may prove to be a way for companies to eliminate the functional silos that currently exist in supply chains. By utilizing and end-to-end integration for supply chain management, it is possible to optimize and utilize elements within an organization across the entirety of the supply chain itself, creating an opportunity which has not existed in the past, typically. The article, featured on Supply Chain Brain, is the modified transcript of a roundtable discussion between Paul Bittinger, former supply chain transformation manager for Proctor & Gamble; Lora Cecere, founder and CEO of Supply Chain Insights; Don Gaspari, director of global materials and inventory for NCR Corp.; and Kirk Monroe, vice president of marketing for Kinaxis. The four discussed the problems with current suppy chain management models, the manner that expertise escapes supply chains, and how a control tower concept might help mitigate the issues experienced by many supply chain professionals. Two of the points brought up yielded the most informative conversation. In particular, technology’s role in enabling knowledge sharing, and its ability to create a more nimble supply chain (if utilized correctly). Cecere adeptly explains what the benefit and dangers were with the use of a strictly computational supply chain—and how that danger is starting to slip away as concepts move towards a shared, expanded relationship with people and resources: It used to be that we had these big computers that did calculations, but the organizational memory still depended on people teaching people, so we basically had dumb supply chains. We might get the technology to respond quicker, but it was not able to sense or analyze or simulate. But now, with in-memory processing, we have the ability to look simultaneously at various events and put the organizational memory in the system’s memory, so we can get outputs with analytics and intelligence. It is a much better use of computing. Bittinger adds to this observation, sharing a story where one person in an organization believed they didn’t have a capability to achieve a particular process, but another person in the meeting knew it was possible, and set a meeting to discuss how with the other person. While this might sound like a serendipitous occurrence, it points to a very real risk: what if the two never met each other? There is no organization who finds “luck” to be a good metric to base a business off of. Bittinger and Cecere discuss how creating a manner in which cumulative knowledge is not only collected from professionals within an organization, but also able to be located and shared when needed, could indeed revolutionize the supply chain. Munroe agrees, and explains how the process of codifying strategy and ensuring execution is a key success factor for any organization. The article features these and more insights from these leaders, and is a valuable way to see how real-world supply chain concerns can be addressed.

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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