What's The Difference Between Intelligent Control Towers And Traditional Distribution Management?

Mar 2, 2022 8:15:00 AM / by ThinkIQ

Remember dad’s stories about the good old days? Maybe you just finished complaining—then he’d recount how in his day, he and his friends had to walk to school, uphill both ways — in a snowstorm, of course. That’s right. Things used to be more difficult.

No one, though, actually likes doing things the hard way. Besides, it’s much more impressive to find and implement smarter, more efficient ways of operating — and that includes Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing that is revolutionizing manufacturing processes for the future, today. The key to this Smart Manufacturing movement? Intelligent control towers — the modern evolution of traditional distribution management.

In order to answer the question, let’s look at both systems, traditional distribution management and also intelligent control towers.

The Evolution Of Control Towers: Out With The Old, In With The New 

The problem with traditional distribution management (and traditional supply chain control towers) is that they are limited in critical ways. While they do offer a certain amount of visibility, they fall short of providing the value required to stay competitive in today’s manufacturing landscape.

The reality is, the traditional distribution management approach does not adequately equip manufacturers to resolve issues and optimize processes promptly and efficiently. Consider some of the following characteristics that account for this:

Traditional Freight and Distribution Management

  • Oversees the movement of goods from supplier to end consumer, with flows typically being managed from one physical location: origin or destination.
  • Often only focuses on transport or distribution.
  • Monitored activities are usually limited to freight forwarding, tracking, scheduling of pickup and delivery.
  • Involves manual cross-silo analysis, with individuals interrogating spreadsheets or “data swamps” to understand responses to incidents after they occur.

Traditional control towers pose limitations, with individuals often having to interrogate spreadsheets across departments throughout the supply chain to analyze data before implementing solutions, and often too late — with costly results.

Intelligent control towers offer solutions that change the game entirely. 

Intelligent Control Tower

  • A hub, not only for end-to-end supply chain visibility, but for efficient decision-making and action based on realtime analytics and continuously contextualized data.
  • Uses Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify movement of materials, correlations, and root causes, improving quality, yield, safety, and compliance.
  • Prescriptive analytics facilitate proactive engagement to prevent costly incidents before they occur.
  • Monitors, manages, and controls decisions and execution across processes and across companies, creating an optimized, collaborative network.

These intelligent control towers deliver rapid, useable intelligence. As an analogy, consider it the same as the difference between having your inventory data on paper in different locations, versus having it computerized. The next evolution — now — is having shipping and tracking data in spreadsheets (traditional towers), vs. having a full supply-chain almost “speaking” with you, that goes beyond end-to-end visibility with AI, predictive warnings, and actionable, immediate insights. That’s the difference between traditional and intelligent control towers.

Harnessing The Power Of Continuous Intelligence

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here, and ThinkIQ is at the forefront — our Smart Manufacturing platform provides a complete overview of operations across the supply chain through the continuous intelligence of a smart supply chain control tower. From raw materials to finished goods, our Smart Manufacturing Industry 4.0 technology helps to increase production yield, avoid recalls and significantly reduce costs. As the leader in Transformational Intelligence for Manufacturers, our 5-stage path to Smart Manufacturing leads to safer products and improved key metrics.

One could say that intelligent control towers are the opposite of the hard way. And just think — years from now, you can tell your grandkids how you implemented a smart supply chain control tower into your manufacturing business for enhanced supply chain traceability and realtime actionable insights, which then dramatically increased smarter decision-making, efficiency, and profitability, reducing waste and significantly improving your company’s bottom line — and you liked it! Bragging rights, secured.

Access smarter solutions today — get in touch with one of our experts for a no obligation Smart Supply Chain Control Tower demonstration, and download our free evaluation guide to learn more about the 5 stages needed to fully reach Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing status.



ThinkIQ Guide to Smart Manufacturing

Tags: SMART Manufacturing, smart control tower, continuous intelligence


Written by ThinkIQ

Think IQ

The Industry 4.0 Data Revolution

Proven to improve manufacturing yield, safety, quality, and compliance by making sense of your data.

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