We have been gathering a list of issues that need to to be resolved before building a Supply Chain Control Tower: SCM and IT partnership; Visibility; Strategy and expectations; Foundation for the tower; and Team-building.
Most Supply Chain Management executives are concerned with the risks from extended supply chains, but only a few have real end-to-end visibility into their supply chains. For those without this full visibility, outsourcing and globalization have put a “lot of rocks on their wagon.” They see increased demand/supply variability and increased lead times. They don't see problems until it is too late and then, they are slow to react. We need to aim for a demand driven Supply Chain Management solution in the Cloud. For discussion purposes, let's call it “SCM NET WORKS”
I've been harping on what it takes to be visible... that is to have visibility into your supply chain. The truth is that gaining visibility is an ongoing process that is never really 'done.' But that's the nature of the supply chain. Once you have good connectivity with one trading partner and the facilities they use, another trading partner comes along with an entirely different set of connections and different service providers.
When it comes to developing reliable supply chain connections, it's important to consider that there are multiple sources of data that produce multiple instances of the data that is collected. The majority of manufacturers have at least 2 sets of applications that are used for managing their supply chain. Those include an ERP system and an EDI/transaction management system. The question is, which application set can deliver the best and most reliable visibility into the supply chain?
Is a Supply Chain Management Control Tower the only way to go? What issues are not yet solved with our current thoughts on SCM Control Towers? Are we looking at some type of a “Commercial Network” instead; or are looking at “SCM Control Tower 2?” In any event, there is a requirement for further automation of the process.