Skip to main content

A Recipe for Supply Chain Control Tower Success

By February 16, 2024February 21st, 2024No Comments

Each ingredient is integral for creating a tasty treat when baking a vanilla cake, banana muffins, or a classic batch of chocolate chip cookies. Baking is more than combining these ingredients; baking is a science. Every ingredient has a specific role: flour provides structure, baking soda encourages spreading, butter smooths out the lumps, and the list goes on.

Similarly, in the logistics and supply chain industry, you can’t just combine technologies and processes haphazardly and hope to have a successful operation. Like baking, there are foundational steps and “ingredients” to creating an efficient and effective supply chain control tower.

Enveyo's Recipe for Supply Chain Control Tower Success

Flour = Data Quality

Just as flour is the first ingredient necessary for cookies, data quality is the main ingredient for a successful supply chain control tower. Much like the absence of flour in cookies would result in a lack of structure, a control tower without high-quality data would face challenges in establishing a solid foundation or functionality. 

Shippers with a multicarrier, omnichannel strategy typically deal with a vast number of carriers and many different systems within their tech stack. This creates a data problem – gathering, normalizing, and making sense of this volume of data can be challenging for logistics teams.

Many supply chain control towers require data to come into their system in a very specific format, making it difficult and time-consuming to use. Partnering with a technology provider built for data management ensures that your data is not only complete, timely, and accurate, but also readily usable for better decision-making. This collaboration becomes instrumental in optimizing the efficiency and performance of your operations.

Salt = Risk Management

Salt, a small but very necessary item to delicious cookies. In the context of cookies, a pinch of salt enhances and balances flavors, preventing the end product from becoming overly sweet or bland. Likewise, in the supply chain, risk management acts as a critical element to balance and avoid disruptions. 

It’s critical to identify, assess, and address potential risks that could adversely impact your operations, ranging from natural disasters and geopolitical issues to capacity shortages or unforeseen market shifts. A supply chain control tower aids in this process. Organizations can navigate challenges more effectively by identifying potential risks and implementing mitigation strategies. This proactive stance not only safeguards against unexpected events but also contributes to the overall stability and predictability of the supply chain.

Baking Soda = Cross-Functional Visibility

Baking soda encourages spreading by raising the mixture’s pH, which slows protein coagulation. This gives the dough more time to set before the eggs set, which results in a more evenly baked cookie. Similarly, in a supply chain control tower, cross-functional visibility facilitates the seamless “spread” of data and reporting across various teams, such as accounting, logistics, and operations. 

This interconnected visibility allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the entire supply chain landscape. Cross-functional visibility helps break down silos within an organization, fostering collaboration and a shared sense of operations. When information can flow freely across departments, it encourages a more cohesive and adaptable approach to addressing challenges and optimizing operations.

Butter = Flexibility & Scalability

Butter adds richness and flexibility to baking. Similarly, in logistics, flexibility in adapting to changing market conditions, demand fluctuations, and unexpected challenges is crucial for success.

Logistics are subject to constant changes, ranging from shifts in market demands and seasonal variations to unforeseen disruptions. The ability to adapt and respond swiftly to these fluctuations is crucial for maintaining operational efficiency and meeting customer expectations.

Flexibility in logistics involves having agile strategies, versatile supply chain networks, and adaptive technologies in place. A logistics control tower that is both flexible and scalable empowers companies to adjust transportation routes, modify inventory levels, and adapt distribution channels in response to dynamic market shifts. This nimble approach helps prevent bottlenecks and ensures seamless operations.

Sugar = Reporting and Modeling

In the world of cookies, sugar serves as a fundamental ingredient that contributes sweetness, texture, and structure. In a parallel manner, within your supply chain control tower, reporting and modeling assume critical roles, serving as the cornerstone elements that bring structure, valuable insights, and a strategic roadmap to guide decision-making.

Reporting and modeling present data in an organized manner, offering a roadmap for businesses to navigate challenges, set goals, and optimize their strategies. Assessing financial performance, monitoring inventory levels, optimizing carriers, and more within your control tower allows for enhanced efficiency.

Brown Sugar = Predictive Analytics

Brown sugar contains molasses, which adds a rich and slightly caramelized flavor to cookies. This distinctive taste sets brown sugar cookies apart from those made with white sugar alone. 

Within your supply chain control tower, relying solely on reporting and modeling may not offer the same benefits as incorporating predictive analytics technology. 

Predictive analytics goes beyond historical data and static models, offering the ability to forecast future trends, anticipate disruptions, and make real-time proactive decisions.

For example, route optimization is one of many examples of how predictive analytics can save time and money. By analyzing historical traffic data, weather conditions, and real-time information, predictive analytics helps identify faster routes or suggest a different carrier. This not only reduces transportation costs but also enhances delivery efficiency, ensuring timely and reliable shipments.

Eggs = Data & Technology Integration

In cookies, eggs ensure the cohesion of ingredients, creating a delicious and structured final product. In a similar fashion, integration in logistics weaves together various technology systems and datasets, providing a comprehensive view within your control tower.

In the context of a supply chain control tower, where multiple technologies and systems are combined, data integration acts as the cohesive element. It brings together information from disparate sources, such as your WMS, TMS, ERP, carriers, audit provider, etc., seamlessly binding them into a unified view. This consolidation of quality data offers a holistic and real-time view of the entire logistics operations.

This singular view allows for better decision-making, as stakeholders have access to a unified and accurate representation of the current operations, performance, and costs. It enables smoother communication between different technology systems, facilitates a streamlined flow of data, and ultimately contributes to the efficiency and agility of the entire operation.

Vanilla Extract = Real-Time Visibility

Without vanilla extract, cookies would lack their distinct flavor, and without visibility, your supply chain tower will lack “flavor” and clarity. A clear view of the processes, from sourcing to delivery, is essential for identifying areas of improvement and ensuring a smooth flow.

Much like vanilla extract is a staple in many cookie recipes, real-time visibility should be a fundamental aspect of any logistics control tower. It acts as a catalyst for continuous improvement, enabling you to address challenges, optimize processes, and ultimately enhance the overall efficiency and effectiveness of your supply chain.

Chocolate Chips = Continuous Improvement

Chocolate chips add texture and flavor and are arguably the best ingredients in cookies; similarly, continuous improvement initiatives are crucial components that stand out in your control tower. By consistently seeking to optimize processes, organizations can stay ahead of the curve, respond effectively to market changes, and provide a better overall experience for both internal stakeholders and end customers.

These initiatives involve systematically reviewing current processes, identifying areas for enhancement, and implementing changes to streamline operations. This iterative approach ensures that operations remain adaptive, efficient, and deliver optimal results.

Both chocolate chips and continuous improvement contribute to the overall excellence of their respective processes, creating a recipe for success that is highly effective and enduring.

Get Creative In The Supply Chain Kitchen

After honing your foundational cookie recipe, you have the opportunity to explore various iterations. Experimenting with add-ins for a fun and easy way to craft new cookies. Nuts can introduce delightful texture, cranberries contribute both a unique flavor and vibrant color, and sea salt intensifies the contrast between salty and sweet. 

Likewise, once your logistics control tower is operational, offering comprehensive insights into your operations, it’s time to innovate with additional features. Consider incorporating “add-ins” such as same-day/crowd-sourced delivery, omnichannel/fulfillment from store, and other emerging technologies and industry trends that can take your operation to the next level.

Have Your Cookie And Eat It Too!

The process of baking cookies from scratch is often messy and time-consuming by nature. However, the reward of indulging in a warm, chewy chocolate chip cookie from a bakery is reliably satisfying. Similarly, building a supply chain control tower internally often requires substantial time, considerable expenses, and is a headache for both the team building and maintaining the technology and the teams waiting to use the system.

Partnering with an experienced supply chain control tower provider offers the advantage of expertise streamlined processes, and quick time to value, minimizing the burden of resources. Much like how the right combination of ingredients results in a perfect batch of cookies, having the right people, technology, data, and processes in place ensures that your supply chain control tower becomes the source of truth for decision-making.

Libby Ehrke

Author Libby Ehrke

Combining digital marketing and a deep understanding of the supply chain and logistics industry, Libby communicates Enveyo's unique value through various channels. Outside work, she enjoys paddle boarding with friends or whipping up a batch of peanut butter cookies with her husband in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin.

More posts by Libby Ehrke