ControlTowerControl towers are used in many industries for different purposes: airports and railroads use them for traffic control; power plants have control rooms to monitor operations and third party logistics providers use them to track transportation activities. These are places where operations run well. Why not a “SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT CONTROL TOWER” to monitor and assure supply?

disruptionRecently we wrote about “Supply Chain Management and Logistics Risk”. While we did not get specific as to which risks are “bigger”, we did cover a lot, even pirate ships. Now, Zurich Insurance Group, through the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) has done a survey and gotten specific about causes of supply chain disruption. The top three: IT, weather events and outsourcing failures.

apocalypseLast week I spoke with GXS VP Steve Scala about some of the company’s reasons for discontinuing the practice of daisychaining. Putting aside the rest of the arguments about why the company is taking this route, I agree with Steve that delivering visibility to the supply chain is one of the most important things an EDI transport provider can deliver. And he’s right that moving transactions across multiple connections without tracking individual items is a recipe for disaster.

Supply-Chain-StressOur supply chain is a complex and fast moving environment that is rife for disaster. There are so many moving parts and details that it’s easy to imagine that the smallest mismatch in a single data field, or delayed shipment would cause a ripple effect that could grow to the proportions of a tidal wave, taking with it multiple trading partners in a single afternoon. And yet that doesn’t seem to happen.

ungcThe supply chain is a global entity... but you already know that. Being global it is a noticable entity among other global (or nearly global) entities, such as the United Nations. In February 2013 the UN Global Compact established an advisory group on Supply Chain Sustainability. A nice thing to do for sure. At the same time, the organization also created the "Anti-Corruption Task Force of the Advisory Group on Supply Chain Sustainability" - a long title for something that desperately needs to be taken under advisement.