Competing supply chain networks all around the globe are under scrutiny due to ever-growing demand for service improvement and cost reduction. A major field of action in this respect is the realization of real-time monitoring means for supply chain processes including a constant comparison of the respective progress status with the planning guidelines and the best possible management of deviations and exceptions.
Control towers have been named as the future tool of supply chain monitoring for quite a while. They are defined as decision-support systems merging different data streams from various subordinate levels and displaying the consolidated information at a higher level for the purpose of monitoring and control of processes while pursuing the goal of optimal process operation. Contrary to the technological constraints of the past which prevented a continuous and fully transparent real-time monitoring of supply chain processes, innovative evolving so-called Future Internet technologies enable genuine transparency and the handling of exceptions in a timely and cost-efficient manner nowadays. With the help of such technologies, newly designed and built control towers are supposed to assist actors on the planning and execution levels of their respective supply chain networks in their decision-making in case of relevant deviations or exceptions. This again raises the market acceptance of such control towers.
This paper presents a novel approach to the functional principle of Future-Internet-based control tower solutions and describes the different components therein. Especially, the incorporation of manifold information sources from the Future Internet technologies for the purpose of real-time monitoring and control of supply chain processes is highlighted in the paper.