Control Towers and Your Digital Twin
In a previous post, we covered the topic of digital twins and how they can benefit the supply chain. However, we didn’t touch on a crucial piece of companion technology: the control tower. A control tower can be used in conjunction with your digital twin. Doing so ensures that you have the most comprehensive view of your operations.
This article will present an overview of control towers and how using them along with your digital twin can help your supply chain overcome any present and future challenges.
What Is a Supply Chain Control Tower?
Control towers are systems that allow supply chain professionals to have insight into important components of their operations. Essentially, control towers allow for end-to-end visibility of the supply chain so that ongoing problems can be addressed quickly and future issues can be avoided altogether. Businesses can better prepare for any future disruptions to their industry by leveraging the data collected by control towers.
For instance, the use of control towers has proven beneficial for businesses who are still recovering from pandemic-related issues. Their implementation enabled many of those businesses to respond more efficiently to problems such as port backups, suppliers who are unable to fill orders, and others.
The Various Types of Control Towers
Any business can customize control towers to meet their unique needs. It is possible, for instance, to use control towers to manage logistics, inventory, and many other aspects of a supply chain.
Also, end-to-end control towers allow for improved insight into the many pieces of the puzzle that make up the supply chain as a whole.
Control Towers Used in Tandem With Digital Twins
On their own, control towers are valuable tools that can help companies overcome nearly any issue they may face. A digital twin, in conjunction with a control tower, can, however, offer limitless possibilities for visibility.
As discussed in our previous post, digital twins are a phenomenal tool for supply chains to have access to. They allow supply chain professionals to run simulations and predict how certain events or disruptions will affect their operations.
The combination of these two amazing tools makes supply chains much more resilient. With insight into current and future trends, executives will be able to make more informed decisions. Having the ability to see how situations will play out through a digital twin simulation is a bit of a game changer.
Big Picture Thinking
Control towers that help an individual business within a supply chain are great tools. They can assist in solving internal problems and may be able to improve operations significantly.
However, supply chains only work well if there is visibility across every part of the process. This means, from the raw material acquisition to the final delivery to the customer. For this reason, small-scale control towers may not be the ideal solution to the supply chain issues we are currently witnessing.
Instead, supply chain professionals need network capabilities within their control tower that will allow communication between all of the interconnected parts of the system. Without the ability to view the whole, big picture, control towers and digital twins may not live up to their full potential.
The Importance of Supply Chain Adaptability
Unfortunately, the covid-19 pandemic is unlikely to be the last major world event that disrupts our supply chains. We need to be ready for any future disasters or issues that may affect us.
Having end-to-end visibility is not just a nice tool for supply chains to have, it is essential. The margins for error are thinner than they’ve ever been. Because of this, any issues that disrupt the supply chain can be very difficult to recover from retroactively.
We saw first-hand how the reliance on single-country manufacturers and suppliers caused nearly cataclysmic problems during the early days of the pandemic. This was especially true with regard to the healthcare sector. Due to government restrictions and safety concerns regarding the virus, doctors and nurses used makeshift PPE while treating patients. Global supply chains were so fractured at the time that it was hard to even triage the issue.
Luckily, control towers and digital twins have facilitated the connection between diverse raw material suppliers and businesses who require them.
In the past, the idea of tools such as control towers and digital twins were mere pipe dreams. As such, they could be compared to something found in a science fiction film. But today, we truly have the capability to leverage these tools in order to improve our supply chains.
Having a means of quick communication and prediction capabilities is critical in managing our global supply chains. When mistakes can have disastrous downstream effects, pairing a control tower with a digital twin is the best move supply chain professionals can make.