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Coming Soon: The Supply Chain Control Tower

by Bridget McCrea
Contributing Writer,

In this era of information overload, companies can’t seem to get enough business intelligence to satisfy their needs. To meet that insatiable demand, supply chain software developers are coming up with new ways to equip users not only with supply chain execution capabilities, but also with the key performance indicators (KPIs) and data analytics that they need for smart decision making.

Bob Ferrari, managing director at The Ferrari Consulting Research Group in Boston, uses the term Supply Chain Control Tower to describe this new trend toward a more holistic, information-centric software approach. Just like an airport control tower would factor ground maintenance issues, unplanned weather conditions, and other problems into its takeoff and landing scheduling, the supply chain tower pulls information from various sources, distills it down, considers exceptions, and then “tells companies what to do and when to do it,” said Ferrari.

“The tower is basically an information conduit that collects pertinent supply chain execution, planning, and fulfillment information and then feeds that business intelligence (BI) back to the company,” said Ferrari. Using that BI, companies can monitor KPIs across the supply chain and respond quickly to critical conditions, exceptions, and other events. In today’s ultra-competitive business environment, being armed with those strategic and actionable supply chain insights can mean the difference between staying on top and falling behind.

The Supply Chain Control Tower concept is still fairly new in the supply chain space, but Ferrari expects is to “take off” over the next year as vendors step up to the plate and add new functions that go beyond basic execution to their offerings. “As more companies learn the value of coordinating supply chain execution ...

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About Bridget McCrea

Bridget McCrea covers business and technology topics for various publications. She can be reached at

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