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Maintaining Global Visibility of Freight

03/29/2017

I have read many articles that hypothesize and project how technology will disrupt the supply chain industry in 2017.  I can’t help but reflect on a few technology applications that Unyson have deployed which accomplish quite the opposite.  Today, more than ever, technology is creating a data rich environment that allows for unprecedented management of supply chains.  Unyson has been a pioneer in harnessing this data and putting it to good use through our Network Control Tower application platform.

 

As a pioneer in the 3PL space, Unyson has continuously invested in the technology solutions that allow us to deliver state-of-the-art logistics management solutions for our clients.  The visibility tools we have deployed that allow for both operational awareness and strategic KPI tracking lead some clients to seek the same level of visibility to other processes that were outside the scope of our logistics management engagements.  As a result, we evolved the Network Control Tower which serves as the central data storage and processing center and produces value added analytics with any data that we feed into it.  Subsequently, the platform has supported network design studies, bid management, inventory analyses, and many others.  As we continue to implement this solution for new and existing clients, it continues to grow into new areas, and I am always excited to see what new business processes we are able to support with data-driven analytics.

 

Control Tower is a popular emerging concept in the supply management arena, but does not have a standard definition within the industry.  Definitions range from encompassing virtually all integrated supply chain platforms, including ERP and TMS, or a TMS solution that includes the execution of limited scope freight management, or in some cases simply cloud based data storage.  In a nutshell, the Unyson Network Control Tower is similar to all of the core business visibility that we offer to our managed transportation customers. The key difference is that it involves activity that we’re not engaged in managing. If we are already managing your transportation, you already receive a high level of visibility to the transportation activity, and all the data and metrics that go with it.  However, while some clients may not be in the market for a managed transportation solution, Network Control Tower can provide a level of visibility to fill gaps in other areas of the business.

 

One aspect that makes the Unyson solution unique is that our platform is not only technology centric, but also includes expert supply chain analysts who clean and scrub the unstructured data and turn it into meaningful business intelligence.  The reality is that data exist almost everywhere today, but the old adage “garbage in-garbage out” still applies.  Our control tower analysts are engaged in identifying outliers or missing data and replacing the data elements with the correct values, as well as investigating the root cause, so that all the data processes become stronger over time.  With sufficiently quality controlled data, the platform becomes a launching pad for an endless stream of continuous improvement and supply chain analytics.  Whether the goal is simply tracking KPIs to measure process improvement, or producing a baseline of activity to run a bid or conduct a network design analysis, the platform is extremely flexible in the usage.

 

One key point is that our Network Control Tower is not simply an out-of-the-box solution. It’s a very customized platform based on our client’s specific needs, capabilities, data sources, and desired outputs. As part of that, we support both integrated data feeds (EDI, API, etc.) as well as non-technical integrations, if the client data only exists on a desktop spreadsheet, we’ll load that into the data warehouse, establish a loading cadence and fully support that data source.  No data is unwelcome in the control tower.

 

In many ways our Network Control Tower can be considered disruptive because it changed a broken process. The global and cohesive visibility it provides our clients will be long lasting because it will be at the center of our clients’ supply chain transformation. Even though there are quite a few technologies to watch for in 2017, I look most forward to seeing the changes that will disrupt the status quo that are derived from our clients’ that subscribe to our Network Control Tower service.

 

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, as I’d love to hear from you and learn from your insights. I also encourage you to subscribe to our Executive Vice President’s newsletter by emailing info@unyson.com. Thanks for reading.

 

Keeping a watchful eye out for our clients!

 

 

Michael Sciaroni

Director, Strategic Operations and Analytics

msciaroni@unyson.com