Implementing a collaboration control tower that provides access to all of your partners and allows a centralized location for your big data activities will support your service level management along with your continuous improvement programs.  There are some extenuating requirements for a control tower supporting your extended supply chain collaborative partnerships that must be clearly defined and understood in order to address.  These requirements include internal, external and security concerns.  Due to these types of concerns along with the need to provide the control tower benefits across many external collaborative partners your control tower solution will most likely benefit from a subscription service.

Let’s start the discussion with internal requirements, remember though that your internal requirements are also your partners’ external requirements.  Your internal requirements would include:

  • The measurements of throughput, including inbound and outbound orders
  • The quality of the deliveries, including meeting schedules, quantity expected and quality
  • The costs involved, both your internal costs and charges from your partners
  • Sales forecast.

These are just examples of standard internal performance indicators and your measurements and requirements would need to remain flexible in your control tower service level management.
Next you must identify your external requirements for measurement.  These requirements include:

  • Transportation carrier service capacities and availabilities
  • Manufacturing planning forecasts and capacities
  • Supplies planning forecasts and capacities.

Again, these are just a few examples of standard external performance indicators and your requirements will grow and change as your collaborative partnership grows.

The security concerns and requirements are most critical in this control tower framework and must be strong enough to protect the information that is contained from all of your partners, along with flexible enough to quickly add new partners, or address security concerns as they arise.  The security of this control tower is one of the most critical requirements to support the partnerships you are developing and provide a solid foundation for the growth that will drive the value of your partnerships.

You may have already developed or licensed software to provide a control tower concept and capabilities in your organization.  This would provide you a leg up on the concept and also your competition because you have already started the collection and analytics to measure your internal and even your external partners capabilities.  I suggest though that your collaborative partnership control tower should be licensed from a third party provider in order to provide a non-partisan environment that supports all partners equally.  The critical aspect of the control tower concept and implementation is that your internal requirements are your partners’ external requirements.  This concept and the third party licensed control tower will allow all partners to access all information available to develop analytics to support growth. 

The shared aspect of the control tower framework that I am suggestion provides a basis for all information to be available equally to all partners.  Another important aspect of this concept is that it strengthens the relationship across partners, it shows that the partners trust each other with this important information.  This trust is critical to building strong collaborative partnerships that bring value to the all of the partners.

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

Have you developed your internal service levels to support your needs?  Have you thought about your service level requirements from your external partners.  What are your requirements for utilizing an external control tower to support your extended supply chain collaborative partnerships?