The Increasing Importance of Supply Chain Visibility and the Emergence of Enterprise Control Towers

The Increasing Importance of Supply Chain Visibility and the Emergence of Enterprise Control Towers

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By Shashi Jina, Research Director, Supply Chain Management


As organizations continue their recovery from the pandemic, many will have to adapt and make permanent changes in their supply chain processes and technologies. The shift to establish and expand multi-echelon manufacturing and distribution networks closer to the customer, places greater emphasis on centralized, real-time visibility.  With this in mind, organizations are driving towards mandatory technologies and solutions that can:

  • Provide greater supply chain visibility to identify where to focus in the supply chain
  • Measure performance with KPIs to narrow your focus areas
  • Identify Problem areas early with predictive analysis
  • Deliver accurate information to key stakeholders in a timely manner and drive greater agility using alert and event management solutions
  • Deliver information in an intuitive user-friendly manner, allowing exception-based use
  • Provide collaboration across the Supply Chain with efficient and effective sharing of information
  • Real-time enterprise visibility of all inventory
  • Greater accuracy of inventory by location
  • Drill-down capabilities for granular visibility (e.g., by transactions, order, bin, pallet, license plate, lot, and serial number).

 The emergence of big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, has also opened new possibilities for how real-time data can be used to improve and drive greater visibility in the digital age. There is a need for strong solutions that leverage these technologies for data aggregation and visualization, as well as alerts and escalations that form the new digital enterprise supply chain control tower. A Supply Chain Control Tower is a visual dashboard of data, KPI metrics and events across the enterprise supply chain identifying problems and impacts of events, predict issues and provide recommendations to address the issues.

In a series of articles, SAPinsider will provide insight and trends on the different elements of the Supply Chain Control tower, along with critical best practices for implementation. We will provide some insight on SAP solutions and partner technologies that are currently in use within the SAPinsider community. 

Alerts and Event Management

Our focus begins with event management and alerts. By definition, event management (EM) is the practice of incorporating business logic into labeling events, communicating events, and handling events. Supply chain event management is an intricate extension of supply chain management (SCM) that considers possible events and factors that produce supply chain bottlenecks and provides support analysis for implementing solutions.

Event management also provides event-based synchronization of discrete order and inventory processes, such as channel management, order fulfillment, collaboration, procurement, and delivery across multiple divisions and trading partners. The technology facilitates use of business rules for time-sensitive event monitoring, notification of events, automation of corrective actions, and management of resolutions through an automated event management component that continuously monitors and resolves critical events in each supply chain process.

For continual proactive, real-time exception management, event management technology enables conditional changes for detection anywhere in the supply chain and communicates them instantly to those — both inside and outside the organization — who need to take action.

In our follow-up article, we will discuss how combining event management with business intelligence (BI) provides a powerful analytics layer that leverages historical data to predict outcomes.

Shashi is a Research Director with SAPinsider and can be reached on




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