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OTM based Digital Logistics Control Tower

Control Tower is the buzz word these days. Everyone wants to know what it is and how can they enable it for their organization. Let us explore what is a control tower and how can it be enabled by using the Infosys "Digital Logistics Control Tower" using Oracle Transportation Management (OTM).

What is a Logistics Control Tower?

It is a central hub which has the visibility of the entire transportation network across factories, distribution centers, warehouses, hubs, regions, countries and transport modes. It receives data from all systems to give a consolidated view of the network.

With this visibility, the control tower can detect or predict an anomaly so that appropriate actions can be taken.

It is not necessary that you have a control tower which handles all legs of the supply chain and work on an end-to-end view. It could be restricted to primary, secondary or even part of the movement. It is setup for the networks which gives you the maximum benefit rather than create it as a one-fit-all model.

How does it differ from a normal transportation management model?

Biggest difference is that a control tower is not really a tower or a physical location unlike the normal transportation model where the processes are managed from a physical warehouse, distribution center etc. and physically connected to the transport. Control tower on the contrary is not connected to just 1 or some locations but has data connectivity with all locations.

In the usual model of transportation, you do track your deliveries, you do the monitoring of your logistics and perform the actual execution of the load by the virtue of the pickup and delivery.

But all your reporting and strategizing is at a local level. The visibility and operations monitoring looks at local level to optimize and does not look at other facilities.

Control tower on the other hand will plan, monitor, track and take informed decisions based on the insights it gets from all data provided by the various stakeholders including location specific transport teams, logistics service providers, customers etc.

Since it gets the feed from local, regional & central operations, it has the visibility to monitor and take decisions at a holistic level. The strategizing which comes at a later point also looks at the most optimum operations considering all facilities and not just 1 facility.

How do you know if you need a control tower?

If an organization wants a control tower, it does not mean that they really need it. Some of the points which you should consider:

·         Does the transportation network cover a large geography with large number of logistics centers, countries or even continents?

·         Is your transportation outsourced with multiple carriers transporting the goods?

·         Do you have multiple systems from where you can get the full view (TMS, WMS, OMS etc.)?

·         Are you dependent on the external parties to provide the visibility?

·         Do you have issues in service compliance monitoring with deliveries getting lost / damaged or delayed frequently?

If the answer to the above questions is yes, then control tower might be one of the possible solutions you could look at.

Infosys Digital Logistics Control Tower

We at Infosys have explored all such problems faced by our customers and came up with a Digital Logistics Control Tower using Oracle Transportation Management (OTM Cloud and On-prem) and Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC). It receives data from IoT devices and connects to a chatbot for automated conversation with the drivers and follow ups. All systems integrating seamlessly to give a "One Control Tower" experience.

The "Infosys Digital Logistics Control Tower" contains both Analytical and Operational control tower components.

Control Tower_1.png

                                                    Figure 1: Infosys Digital Logistics Control Tower

Operational Tower:

The operational tower has 2 components: a) Shipment Operations and b) Financial Operations

a)       Shipment Operations:

·         Helps the user on the day to day tracking operations

·         Connects to IoT for vehicle status.

·         Provides the visibility of the truck and the exact location on a map.

·         Highlights is a truck is stuck a location for a long time.

·         Uses ML algorithms to predict the estimated time of arrival based on current status and historical data. This is to determine possible delays and to take decision on when to start the trucks or change trucks enroute.

·         Enables users to connect take decisions based on the insights provided by the systems.

·         Enables to contact stakeholders either via OTM or via chatbot.

b)      Financial Operations:

·         Tracks the status of invoices whether self-billing invoices or carrier generated invoices.

·         Provides details on aging of invoices based on payment terms with carriers.

·         Provides mechanisms to follow up with the relevant stakeholders.

Analytical Tower:

This gives the power to take strategic decisions based on the KPIs which the control tower provides. Some of the key information provided by the tower are:

·         Carrier performance in terms of on-time delivery, additional charges, tender acceptance.

·         Turn-around time at locations to find out the key areas of bottleneck.

·         The highest freight cost consuming lanes.

·         Cost per Km, Kgs and CBM to analyze and renegotiate rate structures with the carriers.

Many more KPIs are available which can help take strategic decisions and make the transportation network of the future.

The key benefits of the Logistics Control Tower as evident from the above points are:

·         Increase in on-time delivery.

·         Streamlined process with tracking of each steps and reduction in bottlenecks.

·         Increased utilization of assets with better visibility of the trucks.

·         Better collaboration with carriers, customer, vendors etc.

·         Ultimately reduction in freight cost based on the operations and analytics combined.

How has it benefited Our Customers?

Many of our customer are using control towers for their daily operations and KPI management. Few examples are below:

One of our customer has created multiple control towers at strategic locations which helps in planning and tracking of orders globally. The control tower has helped in streamlining the regular planning and visibility activities which has increased the on-time performance and reduction in delays.

Another of our customer has created a control tower for global operations which looks at compliance from all stakeholders and financial tracking. This has increased the visibility of the shipments and helped informing destinations to take proactive actions. It has also reduced the errors in payment and plugging the holes in the freight costs.

These are just few examples for your reference.

The Digital Logistics Control Tower can help the organization to focus on adding value by providing visibility to the blind spots and take the transportation processes to the next generation using the best the technology can provide. The decision to step up to the next level is yours.


Reviewed by: Mohan Subramanian

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