Friday, July 25, 2014

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Control towers made easy

Control towers made easyCompanies seeking to manage complex global supply chains traditionally set up a control tower to manage operations. With MDS-Nx System you can create your own.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a control tower is an information technology system that allows a company to monitor and manage its carriers, logistics service providers, and suppliers. Essential to a control tower's operation is the implementation of an "information hub" that connects a company to its suppliers and carriers.

Users of the MDS-Nx System will have implemented these technology solutions multiple times over, so we have the framework of a process in place, With the base process already there, we can just make configuration changes for each customer."
In addition to providing a technology platform we recognize that most distributors like the idea of retaining control of their strategy but outsourcing the execution. By automating the monitoring and updates for your the MDS-Nx system gives you control and visibility without any manual overhead.


Control towers first emerged in Europe in the late 1990s. They evolved from managed transportation programs, where 3PLs oversaw the movements of multiple carriers for a shipper client. When 3PLs began managing orders and inventory along with carrier movements, those programs became known as control towers,

Multinational companies turned to the use of control towers as a way to manage complex global supply chains. Industry verticals in which control towers are being used today include automotive, aerospace, electronics, paper, food and beverage, and industrial manufacturing.


Not surprisingly, setting up a control tower takes some prep work on the distributors part. requirements need to be captured in detail and in depth, and properly documented with process maps. Other examples of important information can be Service-level agreements, standard operating procedures, and work instructions.

Besides providing better management, the tower can usually assist in benchmarking carrier and supplier performance. Vendor and Customer Scorecards can easily be created.  Other services that a control tower can offer future scenario planning and supply chain modeling.

One of the biggest advantages of a control tower is its ability to react to changing events and take corrective action. If, say, a hurricane or tsunami jeopardizes a your ability to fill an order, the control tower can reroute the shipment or locate an alternative supplier. Advise you if you need to drop ship and in real-time communicate to customers where the product will be coming from.


As for the payoff, companies typically see savings in transportation costs as a result of efficiencies related to centralizing logistics operations in the tower. begin able to view inventory on the water, track inbound and outbound shipments against promise dates and better schedule inventory.
Another payoff is increased warehouse utilization as you can match Inventory space to inbound logistics and outbound demand.

Although freight  and warehouse savings can justify the investment, most companies electing to set up a control tower do so as a way to keep better tabs on their supply chain.

Control towers are an easy way to add a value-added service to simplify managing complex supply chain logistics,it minimizes the risk of not having products on time to customers, and allows you to offer your customers visibility into your supply chain as well.

For more information on TSH or MDS call The Systems House, Inc. at 1-800- MDS-5556. Or send a message to

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