3 modern solutions to manage today's supply chain

Jonas Mehrhoff

When managing a supply chain, it can be easy to get lost in the different platforms and offerings that are meant to help your business grow and become the healthiest version of itself. Let’s explore the different types of solautions and what they can do for your supply chain.

What is a supply chain digital platform?

A digital platform is built out of specialized technology that enables you to manage your supply chain through true end-to-end visibility. By creating a centralized source of truth, supply chain leaders can plan ahead and ensure the safety and vitality of their supply chain.  

Digital supply chain platforms are inherently dynamic, eliminating the need for add-ons and issues with compatibility. The collection and integration of data encompasses all supply chain players, allowing a holistic view of the supply chain and every player involved in day to day activities.

Benefits of digital platform in supply chain

While a digital platform allows you a comprehensive view of all operations, allowing you to track activities and plan based on underlying patters, the benefits don’t end there. By integrating a digital platform into your operations and ridding yourself of redundant practices, you also help the environment by decreasing your carbon footprint. To help identify your carbon footprint and address any concerns, supply chain data analytics allows you to have the full picture. By implementing modern technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, you can realize fuel and operation efficiency easier than ever imagined. Your organization will thrive and the planet will thank you.  

Data generated by a digital platform could be in the form of cargo volume analyses, transportation used, distance traveled, the mode of transport used, and the distance the cargo travels, operational disruptions, ineffective routes, inefficient modes of transport, space utilization, and more.

You can ultimately cut costs, improve efficiency, and contribute to a more sustainable future. An example of this could be altering delivery schedules to avoid routes with traffic congestion, or changing delivery days to avoid empty backhauls and replacing them with full loads.

What is a supply chain ERP system?

An ERP system, or Enterprise Resource Planning System is a business management software designed to record and manage all enterprise data. The software integrates all the organization's activities, such as inventory management, order placement, financial reports, and more for better day-to-day resource planning and execution. An ERP system provides a wide range of benefits such as visibility, analytics, and effective control across all departments within an organization.

Benefits of a supply chain ERP system

The benefits of an integrated  ERP system: it covers a wide scope of data and reporting to achieve cost savings and efficiency improvements. ERP systems also allow you a greater scope of visibility into your operations, providing insights into reporting, planning, businesses processes and more. Once fully integrated, supply chain leaders often see a boost in efficiency, scalability, and overall customer satisfaction.

What is a supply chain control tower?

A supply chain control tower is a connected, personalized dashboard of data, key business metrics, and events across the supply chain. It enables organizations to more fully understand, prioritize and resolve critical issues in real-time.

A control tower  provides end-to-end visibility across the supply chain with particular focus on predictive disruptions, allowing supply chain leaders to plan ahead. By leveraging advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Control Towers ultimately aid in the reduction and elimination of repetitive legacy processes. A Control Towers’ job is to convert data into actionable insights in real-time.  

Supply chain control towers help teams in your organization collaborate internally and externally with other business partners. It is the central hub for curating, analyzing and integrating data from both the internal and external network of the company through supply chain analytics.  

Unlike traditional supply chain management tools, supply chain control towers are centrally controlled and not linked to locations. Whether at origin or destination, its role is to centrally collate and disseminate information covering order status, inventory and shipment status. Due to its complex nature, supply chain problems require quick action, whether it be increased demand for goods, order status, status of a purchase order, changes in logistics costs, or supplier performance. To address these challenges, supply chain leaders need data-driven facts and information. This is what supply chain control towers are designed to handle.

Benefits of a supply chain control tower

The benefits of a Control Tower is the wide range of different supply chain relevant areas. One of the most optimal factors of supply chain Control Towers is the standardization of operations and processes; ultimately leading to increased efficiency and overall risk management. Supply chain leaders are always looking for ways to simplify data systems, and a Control Tower does just that all while reducing errors and legacy manual processes. Supply chain Control Towers ultimately allow you to generate insights, reduce dependency on third party providers and increase your overall revenue. Users can easily focus on the important exception handling and can react in time while getting the full picture of the complex supply chain in parallel.  

Which supply chain software is best for you?

So, is there an ideal option? Your supply chain management system should be a smooth experience, and not a mess.  By exploring the benefits in each solution, it’s clear that a combination of a digital platform and a control tower essentially connects all the dots and allows you to see all relevant KPIs; ultimately improving performance in your supply chain. You see what is happening, what your cost structure is, and how you can measure the performance of your suppliers. It’s imperative to understand what these systems will look like in your organization. While similarities and differences are among each solution, end-to-end visibility into your operations is the main focus here- you cant improve what you don’t measure. You will transform your activities from reaction mode to action mode. By combining a digital platform with a Control Tower and optionally adding 4PL services, you will have access to all best practices available to optimize your Supply Chain Environment.  

If you work with global supply chains, here are ways we can help you gain full control and visibility over your shipments.
If you’re operating with spreadsheets and disparate sources of data, learn more about how a digital platform can provide you with supply chain visibility in this free guide.
If you’d like to learn more about how to leverage your ERP with a supply chain platform, check out our free guide.
For more supply chain best practices, visit our resources page.  
Ready to learn more about Orkestra? Book a call with our team of experts.

Ready to get started?

Get in touch with our sales team to learn more.