Nucleus Research: SMBs Snap Up Supply Chain Control Towers

October 7, 2021

Supply chain issues continue to be central to the operational challenges of 2021. As a result, organizations of all sizes have found more value in end-to-end Control Tower solutions that leverage an abundance of real time data sources to impart resilience across the entire supply chain, according to Nucleus Research’s Control Tower Value Matrix 2021.

Nucleus defines a Control Tower solution as software that connects customer and partner operations to provide extended visibility of a user’s supply chain with informed situation planning and adaptive execution capabilities.

As we jumped out of the proverbial frying pan that was 2020, businesses continue to feel the heat of mounting supply chain issues this year. Lingering COVID-19 restrictions, material shortages across virtually all industries, extreme weather, and unforeseen geopolitical events place increased pressure on suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors, alike. Traditionally, large enterprises leverage Control Tower solutions; however, Nucleus found increased demand among medium-sized organizations as they require greater visibility and agility across production and transportation to remain competitive.

The annual assessment of Control Tower Technology Solutions from Nucleus Research lists Blue Yonder, E2open, Infor, Kinaxis, and One Network Enterprises as leaders.

“With the SaaS market trending toward a platform approach, there has been increased consolidation within the supply chain solutions space,” said Research Manager Isaac Gould. “Vendors are acquiring complementary solutions to develop holistic platforms with the functionality to manage customers’ entire supply chains, from planning to last-mile delivery.”

“Supply Chain Control Towers hold the promise to sit over all operations, with clear, perfect visibility to all plans, products, partners, and events affecting costs and customer satisfaction,” said Heidi Benko, VP of Product Management at Infor. “From this vantage point, your company can detect risks early and trigger swift resolution between all impacted parties. This will keep costs low and customers happy.”

Nucleus has identified four primary ways in which Control Tower vendors differentiate their solutions to drive speed and accuracy in predicting and responding to disruptions: network scale, tailored geographic and industry focus, IoT-enabled granular sensing and digital twins, and automated optimization of supply and demand matching with Machine Learning (ML) algorithms.

To create the 2021 Control Tower Solutions Value Matrix, Nucleus Research evaluated vendors based on their ability to deliver value to customers through the functionality and usability of its Control Tower solution providing a snapshot of the market. The Value Matrix also shows the direction vendors are heading relative to the general market-based expectations regarding developing new or improved features.

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