The creation of "cross-chain control centers," where companies could band together and share valuable technological expertise, would allow manufacturers, retailers, and others to get the greatest benefit from today's supply chain software applications. That suggestion came from Jan Fransoo, a professor of operations management and logistics in the School of Industrial Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. Fransoo, who spoke at the CSCMP Europe 2010 Conference, is involved in Dutch government efforts to create such a center.
According to Fransoo, as global supply chains have become more complex, they require specialists to run the various software applications for advanced planning, forecasting, and finance. Because there's a talent shortage of these experts today, companies have a hard time finding trained personnel in those areas. By establishing a cross-chain control center, companies would be able to share in a talent pool of supply chain specialists. Such a center, Fransoo said, might prove particularly useful in helping smaller companies gain access to this type of expertise.
In January 2010, the government-backed Dutch Institute for Advanced Logistics (DinaLog) put out requests for proposals to run a pilot cross-chain control center beginning in mid-year. The center would be involved in a range of supply chain planning activities that could include matching supply and demand, transport utilization, and intercompany collaboration. DinaLog plans to make a decision regarding that project soon.