Skip to main content

The head of sales was relentless. He kept blaming our supply chain for the slowdown of sales in Europe. He was adamant that if we could ship more product from our site in California’s Mojave Desert, his team could sell it. His claim seemed simple, but executing was considerably more difficult because shipping thousands of metric tons of industrial minerals on short notice required a detailed plan.

We spent a lot of time debating the validity of the sales leader’s claim and deliberating responses. However, we couldn’t help but wish we had a scenario planning tool that enabled live sense and response capabilities and real-time visibility. Of course, we didn’t have that kind of control tower software back then.

Hours after the initial request, after whiteboarding a wide range of scenarios, our team had developed a plan. After a few more hours spent creating slides and another hour presenting them to the executive team, we finally had the approval to take action.

Make better supply chain decisions

Weeks later, not long after the shipment arrived in Rotterdam, the Global Financial Crisis hit. Instead of celebrating our collaborative problem solving, we were back at the whiteboard trying to figure out where to store all of the inventory that would now take far longer to sell. Had there been a better way to sense near-term customer demand we might have better known what might soon happen.

Overall, if we were more knowledgeable, we would have saved significant time and energy when making the initial decision and later when attempting to recover from the unanticipated disruption’s impact on the decision. That time and energy drain is one of the most challenging aspects of traditional supply chain operating models.

We may think that by handling every decision and disruption with the same level of attention, we see the most benefit. However, what results is an inefficient use of effort. Or, said another way, supply chains spend too much time dealing with short-term disruptions.

Supply chain control towers combat disruption

Rather than fighting each issue individually, consider a solution that proactively identifies and resolves problems with the entire enterprise in mind. Approaching the problem with this mindset,  refocuses the discussion on deciding what options create the most value for the business. If nothing else, it reduces value leakage caused by wasted effort.

Today, the o9 Supply Chain Control Tower leverages digital “Supply Chain Knowledge Graphs” that ingest network and market signals in real-time, detects possible problems, and drives automated, real-time decisions to shape and re-balance demand and supply. It acts as part of a Digital Brain platform that optimizes the ability to execute in the short term while integrating seamlessly with mid-to-long term planning.

The new way of working enabled by the supply chain control tower platform is a step away from the panic of a war-room mentality, dispelling the notion that chasing flashing lights and an endless flow of data from analytics dashboards is a productive use of time. The o9 Supply Chain Control Tower repurposes the time previously wasted in those old ways of working and focuses planners on creating enterprise-wide value every day.

As part of a digital operating model, this new way of working delivers a capability to orchestrate a supply chain, end-to-end, and continuously learn, which empowers the new way of working NOW. The o9 Supply Chain Control Tower creates informed insights out of previously untapped and disconnected data. It enhances human intelligence, allowing those working in the supply chain to understand and act on what is most important to the business without wasting a single moment.

Whitepaper frontcover

To learn more about how the o9 Supply Chain Control Tower can add value to your business, see our latest white paper or request a demo.

View WhitepaperRequest a demo
Patrick van Hull

Patrick van Hull is a Senior Director of Global Product Marketing at o9 Solutions. He believes that everything is part of a supply chain, from the food on your table to electricity in your home to the apps installed on your phone. He blends his diverse experiences to discuss how these parts connect and why the supply chain matters to individuals, enterprises, and the planet. Patrick’s career in supply chain began as a practitioner with roles at Dell, Rio Tinto, Apple, and CVS Health. Following his time in high-tech, industrial, and consumer-focused industries, Patrick held advisory, consulting, and thought leadership roles at SCM World, Gartner, Deloitte, and Kinaxis. Patrick holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Duke University.