Research group looks at control tower integration to enhance supply chain

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

To help the manufacturing industry overcome ongoing supply chain operational challenges, Info-Tech Research Group has published its latest industry blueprint, “Harmonizing Complexity: Control Tower Integration.”

This research provides manufacturing IT leaders with insights to harness exponential technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and the Internet of Things (IoT). By leveraging emerging technologies, organizations can access timely data for driving operational excellence and ensuring customer and employee satisfaction.

“The manufacturing industry faces a formidable challenge in meeting customer demands characterized by increased technology adoption, shorter lead times, greater transparency requirements and decreased tolerance,” says Kevin Tucker, advisory practice lead at Info-Tech Research Group. “The technology ecosystems that manufacturing businesses can adopt are drastically changing, and the new solutions that they are adopting call for significantly different skill sets.”

According to Info-Tech’s recently published research, manufacturers can face significant challenges in integrating control towers, primarily due to ineffective collaboration between IT and OT. Many of these organizations operate in silos, leading to poor communication and hampering integration efforts. The industry also struggles with the complexities of legacy systems and intricate supply chain operations that involve multiple suppliers, manufacturers and distribution networks. Furthermore, a shortage of skilled specialists capable of effectively managing and operating a modern control tower exacerbates these challenges.

“The manufacturing industry has traditionally held onto legacy equipment as long as it continued to make money without being exposed to excessive risk,” explains Tucker. “With the market shifting toward a cloud model and integration with legacy on-premises solutions becoming less viable, it is no longer practical to keep legacy equipment in place.”

The firm’s blueprint highlights several control tower integration service capabilities designed to tackle the challenges of the manufacturing industry. These capabilities can facilitate real-time information sharing among customers and businesses to enable more efficient operations and better decision-making.

Control tower integration service capabilities:

  • Control centre: Streamlines operations through orchestration, visualization and collaboration.
  • Communication services: Enables real-time information sharing via collaboration, sensing, analysis, planning and response.
  • Decision management services: Optimizes demand, inventory and supply management decision-making.
  • Integration services: Facilitates seamless data exchange through protocols, sensing and integration.
  • Advanced intelligence: Leverages AI, ML and deep learning for actionable insights.

As manufacturers navigate the demands of a rapidly changing market landscape, implementing a supply chain control tower is not just a strategic advantage but a fundamental necessity for sustainable growth.

Info-Tech advises that by providing real-time insights and enabling proactive decision-making, control towers offer a competitive edge in the industry, ensuring that manufacturers can adapt swiftly to market changes, optimize operations and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.

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