Supply chain control towers: Seeing end-to-end

As pressure mounts in today's fashion fulfilment centres, the concept of a centralised 'control tower' monitoring multiple inputs and allowing real time opportunities for action is gaining traction.


Many centres already have software tools that can connect multiple systems and process data in real time. Combining those systems allows organisations to act on that data and saves on time and resources spent manually extracting and logging the data.

A supply chain control tower enables organisations to more fully understand, prioritise and resolve critical issues in real time and provides end-to-end visibility across the chain. By employing technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, they can reduce or eliminate manual processes and offer real-time actionable insights.

They also enable collaboration across teams and associates and mines organisational knowledge to improve and accelerate decision-making.

Control towers were originally developed to control operations on an overarching level. Data analytics and software have developed and become more specialised, making them even more efficient and capable. Control towers can monitor multiple variables, and then analyse the information they collect. They have developed into their current form mostly due to artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive modelling. The availability of those tools has elevated the use of control towers to new level.

A control tower running a fulfilment or distribution centre is connected to a myriad of different sections — warehouse management systems, warehouse control systems, automation, and, perhaps most critically, labour.

The labour shortage

Labour is getting both harder to find and more difficult to manage. Control towers have the ability to alter necessary decisions about labour from a daily or even an ‘every few hours’ basis into real-time with notifications going out to decision makers minute-by-minute.

By integrating multiple automated processes, fashion distribution and fulfilment centres are able to deliver end-to-end optimisation. This centralised control will ensure optimum routing and provide clear overviews of all items, improving nearly every aspect of the fashion fulfilment process.

Those that have adopted the technology are seeing returns almost right away that companies were seeing savings on the order of 5% to 30%.

Relieving the pressure

In today’s complex fashion logistics, facilities are under constant pressure to optimise their processes for greater efficiency and uninterrupted performance.

The positive news is that most facilities are already collecting enormous amounts of information from their equipment and operators, and this data supplies them with the tools to make informed decisions and improve the overall performance of their fulfilment centres.

Most fulfilment businesses are already familiar with data analytics and are receiving basic trends and insights. Now it’s a matter of looking at insights in real time and showing trends.


The entire supply chain sector is under enormous pressure to provide customers what they need — when and where they need it — while at the same time optimising operations and achieving cost-saving goals. This is especially challenging in times of unpredictable yet inevitable disruptions.

Purpose-built control towers are designed to optimise core supply chain functions. They provides accurate, real-time information that will result in improved decision-making and outcomes.



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