Control towers in supply chain management – past and future
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The global economy requires global supply chain management which relies on visibility and responsiveness. Determinants such as: information technology tools, process knowledge, sales and operations planning experiences, etc., enable the formation of theory and practice for the supply chain control tower concept. The goal of the research paper is to identify business examples of different approaches to the supply chain control tower in the past and initiate a discussion on their future. This paper synthesizes past control tower practices and identifies possible future trends. The author performed: literature analysis, three selected companies’ case studies and comparative analyses. As the control towers evolve, while supply chains are transforming continuous, update from the market is needed. The research findings showed the selected companies, in the future, perceived control tower’s activities as a potential source of revenue not just solely a source of cost and time optimization as well as a source of value added to customer. The researched control towers were built and still they are developed. The business frequently changes and requires control towers to be adjusted, reengineered and adaptive. The researched control towers are needed to keep control over supply chain while it is transforming. There is a differentiation between the supply chain control towers, logistic services control towers and reverse supply chain control towers. An integration mechanism between the control towers would be necessary to assure entire supply chain visibility and orchestration. The research also shows the knowledge gap regarding the control towers in supply chain, specially their possible configurations and future.
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