Control Tower in Logistics – Optimizing operational cost with end-to-end supply chain visibility

The competitive business landscape and ever-changing needs of customers are reshaping traditional supply chains today. With globalization and organizations looking to extend their geographical scope for lower-cost sourcing options and emerging markets, the complexity of supply chains has increased. The increase in outsourcing makes effective collaboration with partners imperative for efficient supply chain operations. 

In addition to these complexities, organizations have continuous pressure to improve their profit margins and increase revenue. Supply chain executives are often under enormous pressure to cater to the needs of their customers while optimizing their supply chain operations cost-efficiently. These critical business challenges drive the need to create solid end-to-end capabilities for supply chain visibility.

Supply chain visibility is the most vital enabler for managing businesses both within the organizational boundaries and across the boundaries. Visibility across processes, right from the receipt of an order to its delivery, provides the flexibility, speed, and reliability to gain a competitive advantage in the form of well-controlled supply chain functions.

Supply chain control towers embody the leading principles of supply chain visibility to address this need. It integrates data from multiple sources to provide end-to-end visibility across the supply chain, improve resiliency, and respond faster to unplanned events. A control tower in the supply chain helps organizations prioritize, resolve, and understand critical issues in real-time.

Current state and phases in supply chain visibility

Supply chain visibility, in short, includes the process of how organizations capture data and interconnect it to retrieve the vital supply chain execution information. It provides a comprehensive view for tracking information, material, or cost by monitoring the main dimensions in a global supply chain, such as inventory positions or shipment status or real-time order movements, to make well-informed decisions based on facts.

Many logistics organizations have implemented or are in the process of adopting solutions for supply chain visibility. However, they reflect different phases of maturity. The maturity level is identified by the associated processes, skills, and tools involved.

Leading practices for supply chain visibility

A successful solution for supply chain visibility is deployed around five main principles for a holistic view of the inbound and outbound operations.

Understanding Control tower

Control Towers are cross-divisional organizations with integrated “information hubs” to provide supply chain visibility. These hubs gather and distribute information, allowing people trained to handle these capabilities to identify and act on risks/opportunities more quickly.

It provides end-to-end visibility to all the participants involved in supply chain logistics. These may include manufacturers, distribution centers/warehouses, logistics, shippers, carriers, 3PL, 4PL, and store-end customers.

Also read: How supply chain visibility is reducing operational costs in logistics

A control tower helps capture and correlate relevant supply chain data from all entities involved in the operation, be it freight details, inventory positions, or transportation parameters. It supports real-time update capabilities with the help of the latest technologies like IoT and predictive analytics to monitor possible supply chain disruptions in goods movement or material shortages.  In short, control towers help implement a centralized decision-making system that focuses solely on fulfilling the end user’s needs. 

The importance of control tower in logistics

A control Tower provides round-the-clock visibility, enabling real-time feedback to customers through video, voice, or text. In short, a control tower in logistics operation offers greater reassurance and efficiency, irrespective of time zones, office hours, or holidays.

A control tower implementation is managed by a team of supply chain experts, who monitors the movement of goods throughout the supply chain. The freight movement data is then collected and analyzed to ensure that the essential service requirements are met. This data can be used to prevent potential disruptions or take corrective actions.

A team of highly experienced professionals then makes decisions based on the real-time information obtained to ensure that all service commitments are met and that customers remain happy and satisfied. The customer can follow up on special requirements concerning their cargo, such as temperature control, time constraints, or relevant security/customs clearances.

Achieve end-to-end supply chain visibility and optimize operational costs with control tower solutions from Trigent. Contact us now!

Key benefits of control tower in logistics

The Control Tower is pivotal for effective supply chain management. They help manage any unpredictable, potential disruptions in supply chain operations. They enable better planning, decision-making, proactive event management, improvement of the performance of supply chain partners, and sophisticated supply chain analytics.

Some of the benefits of control tower while streamlining dynamic management of the supply chain are as follows:

  • Enhancing logistics operations
    • A control tower platform can be configured to help manufacturers gain better insights into retaining supplies and raw materials.
    • Help carriers enhance their ability to fulfill orders quickly for customers. 
    • Reduce Inventory 
    • Speed up detection and reaction times
  • Achieve end-to-end visibility
    • Control tower systems provide details on freight movement to multiple stakeholders involved in the logistics world. 
    • Correlate data across siloed systems to provide actionable insights and manage exceptions
  • Improve service levels such as total cycle time and on-time delivery
    • Better insights and accurate information help companies improve their delivery rates. An optimized control tower helps them achieve this critical goal. 
  • Reducing costs
    • Every business looks to optimize its profits, and in most cases, this is achieved by reducing costs of operation and goods.

Implementation approach

The need for a quick response is more significant than ever before. Organizations need actionable recommendations derived from intelligent strategic inputs to respond quickly and effectively to mitigate risks and unforeseen circumstances. Control towers plan, monitor, measure, and control logistics in real-time to deliver compelling, essential strategic capabilities and cost efficiencies.

Here are some pointers to ensure the successful implementation of control towers in your organization:

  • Ensure standardization

To fully realize the benefits of a control tower, it is necessary to harmonize all the processes that it is mandated to control. Hence the first step of implementation should be to define integration standards among all the actors involved in the operation, i.e., manufacturers, assembly lines, warehouses, logistics, delivery stores, and customers.

  • Central oversight, local execution

Maintaining a balance between central oversight and local coordination for execution is crucial in bringing in the required business knowledge for building robust solutions for day-to-day operations. It enables the field to use the insights and act based on ground realities.

  • Multifunctional involvement

Establish a successful control tower implementation by including representatives from all relevant functions. They should also be given a clear idea of the individual benefits and working across the system. 

  • Pragmatism

Ensure a “feasibility-first” approach over the theoretical best practices to help deliver a control tower solution that fulfills all the preset objectives within a reasonable time frame. 

  • Knowing when to stop

It is always essential to keep an eye on the returns and avoid any adoption efforts that provide a low return. 

Break free from visibility challenges with control tower solutions from Trigent 

The recent pandemic and disruptions induced by the current digital transformation wave have put logistics organizations under immense pressure to perform. The highly experienced team at Trigent provides comprehensive and customized solutions to ensure end-to-end visibility while streamlining your supply chain operations.

End-to-end visibility and significant cost reduction for our customers have made Control Tower solutions a critical service in our offerings. Book a consultation with us to know more.

The Advantages of Adopting Cloud Technology in Digital Logistics

Technology has penetrated virtually every aspect of businesses worldwide. Not just businesses, our daily lives are also being significantly driven by technology too. So why should transportation and logistics be any different? The rising advantages of adopting cloud technology have basically laid the foundation for digital logistics.

Digital logistics is like next-gen logistics, armed with modern technologies to improve and expedite traditional logistics processes, strategies, and systems. It’s an approach that aims to digitize manual processes and help organizations save costs and increase productivity. With a 69% decrease in overall logistics costs and a 32% increase in customer service efficiency, it’s safe to conclude that digital logistics is just what we need to address the changing demands of customers across the globe.

The global digital logistic market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.89% over the forecast period 2021-2026, while the global fleet management solutions market is predicted to touch $15.4 billion by 2024. There is solid growth in the e-commerce sector that plays a significant role in boosting these markets. Advancements in the sensors and IoT analytics market, along with cloud adoption, are also responsible for their rising demand. The need for better fleet and warehouse management systems is being felt more than ever before.

With warehouses bursting at their seams and distribution centers bustling with activity, the workload they bring along is overwhelming. Logistics tech has led to a spur in cloud-based platforms that can lighten this load and streamline the processes. Shippers and logistics companies choose the latest cloud-based transportation management systems (TMS) that come with numerous benefits and tremendous potential.

In fact, cloud has become the buzzword for organizations looking for better ways to manage their businesses. Whether or not you need cloud is no longer the question. The question you should be asking yourself is – are you game for this technology leap?

Cloud is changing the game

Cloud is the disruption that the world of logistics has happily welcomed at a time when legacy systems are unable to keep pace with the changing demands of the modern world. Cloud has led to sophisticated warehouse management systems (WMS), transportation management systems (TMS), and yard management systems (YMS) that are all integral aspects of the supply chain and delivery model. It helps automate internal processes that improve operational efficiency and enable better business decisions. In a highly dynamic sector such as transportation and logistics, cloud makes you resilient.

Explains Balaji Abbabatulla, senior director analyst at Gartner, “At a broader level, business leaders are looking for tech tools that help them achieve better supply chain resilience—as opposed to finding ways to improve efficiency and productivity. Where efficiency was once a driving force for Cloud-based SCP adoption, now it’s all about resilience.”

Be it sourcing planning, execution planning, manufacturing planning, or sales and distribution planning, the cloud is now all-pervasive, helping forward-thinking logistics providers achieve their goals and expand their horizons. The good thing about cloud implementation is that it can be managed virtually. Those saddled with traditional on-premise legacy systems are garnering intrinsic value while modernizing their business environments.

Also Read: how cloud-based management solutions are becoming a game-changer in the logistics industry.

Benefits of adopting cloud technology in warehouses and distribution centers

Modern distribution centers need an agile environment with faster implementation times. Warehouses and distribution centers house many products, all with unique storage requirements with respect to size, temperatures, and several other parameters. It becomes imperative to use the right solutions to track them and maintain a high level of efficacy across processes. The solutions you choose should be able to help carrier networks operate with agility and precision.

Cloud-based solutions can help you review shipping notes, create schedules, and connect with carrier networks quickly for the information you need. Be it making changes in existing workflows or onboarding new clients. Everything is so much easier when you use mission-critical, cloud-based platforms. So let’s delve deeper into its extraordinary benefits.

Efficient tracking

A cloud-based TMS platform will help you oversee everything empowering you with data that allows you to compare, analyze, and make sound decisions at any point in time. With quick access to carrier networks, you can expedite processes to a great extent.

Cloud-based tracking solutions give you greater control with accurate information at your fingertips at all times. All you need to do is log into the tracking system and receive updates on delays, delivery times, freight routes, and freight movements. In the event of damage, you can immediately update the invoice and send it directly to the carrier or the shipment source.

What you get is excellent real-time visibility. Modern TMS equips you with reports and analytics that empower you with everything you need to develop quick solutions when things go wrong.

Easy maintenance

You don’t need massive servers to see you through power outages or crashes that may lead to data loss. Even constant data backups are no longer necessary when you get onto the cloud. All updates and upgrades are managed remotely, and you enjoy uninterrupted access to the latest software at all times. All authorized users can access data whenever they need it remotely. This ensures connectivity and collaboration at all times, giving you greater power to support your customers as often as required.

Your vendor takes care of maintenance, security, and updates. At a time when security lapses in systems can lead to huge losses, cloud-based platforms offer uncompromised, error-proof logistics support.

Quick integration and scalability

Whether you are using on-premise or cloud-based systems, you will require them to offer you the scope and flexibility to integrate with other solutions. While legacy systems may not allow these integrations, cloud-based systems will let you integrate without causing conflicts or discrepancies.

Also, scalability is no issue with cloud-based solutions since they offer the same support and scalability to smaller companies as they would to large conglomerates. Cloud-based solutions level the competitive playing field to help you carve your niche in the most unbiased manner.

Inventory management on the go

To control costs, you need to work on every cost element across the supply chain. You need to scrutinize the value network to arrive at competitive pricing without hurting your profits. Cloud-based tracking helps you identify high-risk elements and study price fluctuations based on weather patterns and transportation delays to determine if subsequent adjustments are required at your end.

Cloud-based systems empower you with the data necessary for better rating and estimates. It also helps monitor inventory in real-time to help you manage supply, storage, and shipments. This will help you address the shift in demands without wasting inventory. This, in turn, enables you to manage your costs considerably.

What’s incredible about cloud computing is its ability to forecast. So when disruptions strike, you are always prepared. You can stay up-to-date concerning demand and transportation planning since it tells you exactly where your products need to be and when.

You get a chance to schedule your deliveries accordingly, avoiding last-minute hassle and stress. You can pre-load supplies for the future or go easy during the off-season having greater control over your inventory. You will also get instant notification alerts every time there’s a fuel shortage, stock depletion, or shipment rerouting.

Great savings

There are different kinds of subscription payment models that come with flexible features to match your exact needs. Rather than paying for licensing costs, you choose a payment plan that works best for you. You have to pay nothing for the whole upkeep, and everything you need is provided to you remotely.

So you end up paying only for the functionality you choose. This leads to substantial savings. Not to forget that you do not have to invest in individual software. What you get is complete transparency and control for the money you spend.

Unmatched flexibility

Shippers are bound to have complex requirements that can sometimes become very challenging, considering that organizations are spread across diverse time zones. Luckily, cloud-integrated digital logistics give them round-the-clock visibility from remote locations to control critical processes and respond promptly when required. They can deploy resources, add functionalities, or amend services to match the changing needs.

A Cloud-enabled video telematics solution improved resource utilization and offered 24 x 7 visibility of fleets to a major fleet operator. Read how

Cloud-based platforms help them be more responsive to improve processes and add greater efficiency to the mix. This also allows them greatly enhance the customer experience too at every juncture.

In closing

Although the advantages of adopting cloud technology are one too many, shippers are often under tremendous pressure, considering how complex global supply chains are. With mobile commerce, omnichannel experiences, and eCommerce coming into the picture, the need for cloud-based solutions is being felt more than ever before to manage end-to-end logistics planning. You can certainly not afford to miss this boat if you wish to be the fastest and the most efficient.

There are certain caveats you need to factor in while choosing the right solutions provider. For starters, you need to establish clear goals and find a vendor that gives you room to breathe and expand and understand how the implementation will occur. Talk to your vendor to know how they intend to merge the new system with your legacy systems.

Modernize your legacy systems with Trigent

As supply chains continue to get complex and critical with time, we ensure comprehensive fleet visibility, seamless integrations, and optimized service utilization for our clients. Our team of experts empowers you with the right guidance and solutions to help you leverage the cloud for saving cost, increasing efficiency, and driving revenue. No matter your logistics challenges, we can help you overcome them with solutions customized just for you.

Call us today to book a consultation.

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