How do you take a collection of different partners, spanning across large distances and varying in areas of expertise and sophistication, and allow them to behave as a single cohesive entity? This is the challenge that network orchestration solves using a variety of tools, techniques, and technologies to provide rich insights that can be used in a number of ways.
- Key benefits to network orchestration: with network orchestration, you may not own certain assets, whether that’s a warehouse or trucks, but you can act like you do
- Orchestration helps to solve numerous key challenges
- How insight, foresight, and oversight work to orchestrate your network
What is Network Orchestration?
The modern supply chain is more complex than ever before, often being composed of a multitude of different partners around the world. In order to have a network that runs smoothly and efficiently, it is crucial to orchestrate your network using data from today and predictions for tomorrow, all while retaining a necessary level of compliance at scale and at a distance. Network orchestration is all about balance and alignment, ensuring a holistic approach to supply chain management where each step sets up the next for success.
The ultimate goal of network orchestration is to improve visibility along the entire chain, providing every necessary party with real-time data, providing a deep understanding of their processes today, while also allowing them to make informed, predictive decisions for the future.
What are the Benefits of Network Orchestration?
With network orchestration, you may not own certain assets, whether that’s a warehouse or trucks, but you can act like you do. Creating valuable partnerships gives you access to assets or data that you wouldn’t normally have access to.
With improved visibility comes better control of your supply chain. Deep insights into your operation allow you to make better-informed decisions both in the present and for the future. With all this, along with faster decision-making made possible by real-time data, customer satisfaction is greatly improved.
Common Problems from Lack of Orchestration
Without network orchestration, supply chains can suffer from a lack of visibility, control, and strategic competitiveness, all resulting in late or incomplete orders, picking errors, and an overall decrease in customer satisfaction.
Another common problem that can arise is the inability to scale. Poor orchestration can put your business in a position where scaling becomes a major concern. The partners you’ve chosen may be unequipped to scale along with your business, leaving you scrambling to find new or additional partners capable of managing your current and projected volumes.
How Orchestration is Achieved
As we have discussed, orchestration is made possible by utilizing a variety of tools and techniques that provide real-time insightfulness, predictability, and compliance. At Routeique, these three pillars are referred to as Insight, Foresight, and Oversight.
Insight is seeing through walls, in other words, gaining visibility, accuracy, and completeness, and leveraging data to gain efficiency, savings, and customer satisfaction. Insights can be achieved through the implementation of tools such as sensors, combined with a supply chain management platform such as Routeique that eases the process of tracking and analyzing data as it is collected.
There are a number of different key technologies and techniques a business can utilize in order to achieve deeper insights into their network. These can include:
Pieces of technology that workers can wear as they complete their duties, identifying areas of inefficiency with physical processes and allowing for a greater level of safety compliance as well.
Sensors that can be placed on a variety of different equipment throughout the supply chain in order to track performance, wear and tear, and levels of efficiency.
You can also stay one step ahead at all times, ensuring no disruptions if a piece of equipment were to malfunction.
Scanning of barcodes and RFID tags create a more accurate picture of inventory within your facility at any given time and in real-time.
Not only can you see what you have, but you can also see where it is or where it’s going. By setting up a system of scanners at various checkpoints, you can easily track the movement of your inventory both internally and externally.
Digital Control Tower (DTC)
A DTC is one easy-to-navigate dashboard, containing all of the data and information collected through the entirety of your supply chain.
Once inside, you can analyze this information and decode what it means about the current operations of your businesses, identifying points of vulnerability, but also points of success.
When it comes to foresight and forecasting, many of the technologies and processes mentioned above in the insight section are important for this stage as well. Foresight is the next step up from insight, taking the data collected, adding context to it, and using it to predict future activities, as well as improve risk management in case of possible disruptions.
Forecasting allows you and your team to plan better, improving areas such as:
Your business will be better prepared for a number of different scenarios, whether that be natural disaster, equipment failure, or even seasonality changes.
More predictive planning sets up the order fulfillment process for success. Ensuring orders are picked and packed more accurately, and that orders are shipped faster.
With order fulfillment becoming much more streamlined and efficient through forecasting, the overall customer experience improves. Orders are fulfilled more accurately and shipped to customers in a more timely manner, making them happier, and increasing the odds of them purchasing again in the future.
Having an outlined set of processes and procedures doesn’t equate to success unless compliance to these standard practices is met. Oversight along your supply chain breaks down barriers, creating a transparent flow of product and process from end to end.
Certain regulations or guidelines a business must comply with can come from a variety of different sources, such as:
- Internal standards and policy
- Mandatory government regulations
- Contractual agreements between partners
- Industry standards
Two of the biggest challenges that come with compliance across a network are:
- “How do we collect the information we need”
- “How do we communicate this information to our network partners and ensure compliance?”
The previous combination of insight and foresight answers these questions by giving you access to software that collects and consolidates information that can then be disseminated to the rest of your partners effortlessly. Therefore, providing your business and your partners the tools and technology to greatly improve visibility, transparency, and accountability across your network. This allows you to provide context to the data and make informed decisions to mitigate future risks.
How Routeique Helps Businesses Achieve Orchestration
Routeique is a platform designed to connect supply chains, eliminating gaps, and giving x-ray vision to supply chain professionals.
With an emphasis on the three pillars mentioned above, we allow companies to save time and money, innovate faster, be more competitive, avoid costly mistakes, de-risk decisions and satisfy ever-growing customer expectations.
Get In Touch With Our Team
Are you ready to orchestrate your supply chain? Get in touch with our team to learn more, and stay tuned for our future blogs about supply chain orchestration.
Up next week: learn about how supply chain and network orchestration can solve many common issues. Follow us on LinkedIn or sign up for our newsletter to stay in the loop.