Taking a Control Tower Approach

In an attempt to increase their competitiveness and improve company-wide efficiency, organizations are increasingly outsourcing their logistics activities to third-party providers.

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As large corporations continue to shift to sourcing, manufacturing and distribution across the globe,  the complexity, cost and risk of their supply chains have escalated.

In an attempt to increase their competitiveness and improve company-wide efficiency, organizations are increasingly outsourcing their logistics activities to third-party providers. To ensure seamless operations, some of these logistics companies are implementing a “control tower” supply chain approach, which can deliver significant benefits. 

Applying a control tower strategy to managing freight flows allows enterprises to gain greater visibility into worldwide product movement, resulting in tremendous cost savings along with greater flexibility and control. Efficiencies and associated savings can be achieved through managing material movements across the world using one unified process, leveraging service networks, providing a global view of all product movements and improving supply chain performance through analytics and metrics.

It has been my experience that separating the control tower operation into four critical functions can help to synchronize customers’ supply chains. One focuses on quality and integrity of the information – to provide timely, accurate and complete information.  Another focuses on operational execution such as management of vendor compliance.  The third function involves real-time dynamic management of materials and transportation flows to ensure the efficient use of transportation modes.  Finally, use of analytical tools and metrics ensures ongoing performance management and continuous improvement.

Through a control tower system, logistics providers can offer customers important benefits – such as rigorous monitoring of each operation – that ensure the efficient use of all transportation.  This 24/7 coverage of every location allows logistics companies to act quickly in case of disruptions and offer advanced, real-time reporting that ultimately gives their customers piece of mind that their supply chains are in good hands.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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