Following on from the initial post within the 10 Reasons to Build a Supply Chain Series, this blog will seek to explore further reasons as to why the Control Tower should be built and utilised within businesses across the globe. Previously it was indicated that through the use of a Control Tower, firms are able to effectively identify issues before they arise, can recapture control of their outsourced supply chains and are provided with the opportunity to seize competitive advantage over their rivals through the increased responsiveness and agility gained from the Tower's capabilities.
Yet, what else does the Control Tower enable firms to achieve? And how does this tool enable organisations to achieve such capabilities?
Throughout this blog, we will seek to answer such questions by uncovering an additional four reasons as to why a company can improve both their productivity and performance, throughout the implementation of a Control Tower.
4. Overcome the Complexity of IT
Given the complexity present within today's business environment, it is often difficult for companies to predict how much inventory they really have. As a vast array of firms tend to use many different data programs to collect and obtain information, processes are often unintegrated. Businsses must therefore analyse a variety of systems and consolidate all numbers obtained in Excel before they are able to make meaningful judgements from the data collected. Arguably, this process is not only time consuming but is largely prone to error.
To overcome such difficulties the Control Tower seeks to simplify and consolidate the complex system landscapes, as it brings together data from various sources into a single view. By breaking up the 'siloed' thinking and fragmentation which tends to occur within supply chains, users are able to combine and utilise data from a variety of sources e.g. demand, supply inventory and location in order to make more informed and effective decisions. For example, through integrating data systems, users are able to more accurately estimate the future demand for goods and can predict the likelihood of a stock out within a particular region they supply to. The Control Tower therefore allows businesses to answer key questions without encountering major complications and data errors.
5. Reduce Inventory Levels
Decrease Inventory, Reduce Risk
As markets are becoming increasingly competitive and consumer expectations continue to rise, firms now operate in an environment where by to compete and maintain their strategic position, they must seek to ensure that products are always on the shelf, where ever they may be.
Yet, how do we meet such expectations when we operate in an environment where customer demand is incessantly changing and our supply chains are becoming both increasingly more complex and globalised?
In current contexts, inventory shortage is one of the most common problems encountered within supply chains. Not only does this issue have the potential to negatively impact on future revenues, but also on the loyalty of our customers if we fail to deliver a product to the market in order to satisfy demand.
Arguably, the Control Tower enables businesses to overcome such problem encountered. Through such device users are not only notified when low stock levels occur, but they are able to more precisely predict and monitor levels of demand in order to make sure that they meet the expectations of their consumers. As a result, businesses can ensure that they have an appropriate amount of inventory readily available to meet demand, but not to a point of excess where firms must stock excessive levels of inventory. Users of the Control Tower can therefore reduce waste, mimimise their inventory management costs and be more responsive to fluctuations in customer demand.
6. Assess Your Assumptions
Often when we make decisions, we face high levels of risk and uncertainty. We often find ourselves trying to predict the future, implementing strategies which mimimise our losses and delaying decisions when we are uncertain of their consequences.
However, with the help of the Supply Chain Control Tower and its "what-if" scenario planning capabilities, business can be more confident in the decisions they make. The tool enables users to test the future impact of their decisions and compare different possible scenarios which may occur in a simplified and flexible manner. For example, in the case of an inventory shortage businesses can examine whether they can relocate stock from elsewhere in the supply chain in order to overcome the issue. Through the use of the Control Tower, businesses no longer have to rely upon their own judgement, intuition and experience to make their own choices but can instead rely on the tool to analyse key data and test whether their decision is the right one.
7. Simplify Your User Interface
Let Simple Things Run Simple
SAP Fiori is a new user experience for SAP Software, which has been incorporated within the Control Tower. Fiori seeks to provide users with a personalised, responsive, and simple user interface which focuses specifically upon individual users and their goals. The device seeks to seamlessly tailor the interface to specific users, and therefore provides individuals with only the relevant tasks and activities they need to do their jobs. In addition, as a result of such simplified approach, the training of new users is much simpler. Gone are the days of having to train employees on complex software systems as Fiori's modern design principles enables a greater ease of use, and significantly reduces the time needed for users to carry out and complete tasks. With SAP Fiori, businesses can improve their productivity, increase adoption rates and decrease training costs in order to ensure that businesses can run simpler and operate more effectively.
In next week's blog post we will uncover the final major reasons as to why now is the right time to build a Supply Chain Control Tower.