What is a Control Tower and how does it Work?

control tower


End to End visibility and transparency is a hot topic in the logistics world. Supply chain partners are always actively seeking better ways to aggregate and control their data. A growing trend of supply chain management professionals is the use of what is known as a control tower system.

This relatively new software solution attempts to improve visibility of the outside supply chain, with the intent of increasing E2E visibility.

In this blog post, we’ll give you a few tips for choosing the best control tower for a logistics-based company. We’ll explain why businesses are looking for this type of technology, as well as some of the pros and cons of implementing this platform.


What Exactly is a Control Tower?

There is a lot of information about control towers on the internet. Most of it, however, deals with a different kind of control tower entirely.

So, let’s start with a few of the common myths surrounding this technology. Then, we can attempt to clearly articulate what it is and what it does

First, a control tower is not an actual ‘computer tower’. It’s not a physical product that you purchase, it’s a cloud-based solution that acts as a data collection and distribution center. 

Second, a control tower does not ‘control’ logistics operations. It does not manage the production of commodities, the storage of these items, or automatically take over the order process. 

Third, it’s not a perfect solution. Technology continues to improve its capability, but it’s far from perfect currently. 

Essentially, a control tower concept aims to provide enhanced visibility between trade partners, including businesses, countries, and modes of transportation. It’s a central hub of data collection that organizes the data and distributes it to stakeholders in a consistent format. It captures real-time analytics and allows logistics providers to improve their operations, become more flexible to growing consumer demands, and ultimately, improve end-to-end supply chain visibility. 


What are the Goals of Implementing a Control Tower?

When a supply chain operation is looking to purchase a control tower solution, they typically set up goals and objectives that the solution will help them achieve.

Each supply chain is unique and has individual attributes. However, there are a few common goals that any supply chain control tower should offer...


Help improve their supply chain operations

The platform can be configured to help manufacturers gain better insights into the retention of supplies and raw materials. Likewise, it can help carriers improve their ability to fulfill orders quickly for customers. 


Achieve end-to-end visibility

There are multiple stakeholders involved in the logistics world. Providing them with the details about their freight movements can be challenging.

To combat this, most logistics businesses try to achieve high end-to-end visibility. This level of transparency helps customers and partners alike stay in the loop. 


Improve on-time deliveries

Better insights and accurate information help companies improve their delivery rates. An optimized control tower helps them achieve this important goal. 

Reducing costs: Every business looks to optimize its profits, and in most cases, this is achieved by reducing costs of operation and goods. 


Tips for Selecting the Best Control Tower Solution

Like any other software solution, choosing the best control tower boils down to just a few important questions... 

First, is this solution going to help the organization achieve end-to-end visibility? That’s ultimately the goal of a control tower. But, end-to-end visibility is different for each type of business that operates a supply chain.

Second, is it scalable? Most companies expand their software solutions as their business grows. However, they also take advantage of downturns in business by scaling the services down. Verify that your control tower solution has the capability to handle this ebb and flow. 

Third, how are we going to implement the solution? In most situations, implementation or activation of the platform is really where businesses struggle. 


Final Thoughts

By working with proven technology experts like Redwood Logistics, you can ensure your activation, training, and implementation are handled by a 3PL that understands your business.

If you’re thinking about implementing this software as a supporting tool to optimize your supply chain visibility, contact Redwood Logistics!