Achieving supply chain excellence today requires orchestrating complex global operations with agility, adapting to rapid and continuous change, and navigating economic headwinds and ongoing disruptions. Yet only 22 percent of companies have a proactive supply chain network, meaning disruptions or shifts in supply or demand can quickly escalate into significant issues.1 To truly deliver a proactive, resilient supply chain, Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) need a clear digital transformation strategy that builds on top of existing investments in data to uncover new insights. At the same time, CSCOs must enable the adoption of new productivity tools, such as generative AI, to help organizations rethink the status quo.
At Microsoft, we recently introduced Microsoft Dynamics 365 Copilot to bring next-generation AI to every line of business. It can help CSCOs solidify the strategic importance of supply chain functions and its value as strategic business partners. That’s why on May 8 through 10 in Orlando, Florida, at the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium Xpo™ 2023, we’re presenting a deep dive into the practical ways organizations can unlock supply chain productivity with a copilot approach to AI.
Microsoft Supply Chain Center
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Attendees can also join us at our booth (#443), where we will highlight how supply chain leaders can utilize Microsoft Dynamics 365 to:
- Embrace AI-enabled risk mitigation to deliver better business outcomes while improving customer and employee experiences.
- Generate intelligent insights and rapidly act on recommendations with Microsoft Supply Chain Center.
- Gain agility and deliver world-class fulfillment experiences like accurate available-to-promise (ATP) and direct store delivery (DSD) for direct-to-consumer (DTC) orders.
Generate intelligent insights
At the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium, attendees will see how the Microsoft Supply Chain Center empowers supply chain professionals to use AI copilots to generate actionable insights to increase productivity, shorten lead times, and improve overall supply chain performance.
The Microsoft Supply Chain Platform harmonizes data across legacy and new enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain systems to provide real-time data visibility; facilitate actionable insights; predict supply shortages, potential stockouts, or shipment delays; and improve collaboration across teams and suppliers. The end-to-end visibility possible using Copilot in the Microsoft Supply Chain Center allows leaders to proactively manage supply chain events.
Customers like iFit have leveraged the intelligent insights from Supply Chain Center to reimagine their distribution network, staging products in locations based on customer demand instead of relying on history. In doing so, iFit increased its efficiency from 30 percent to 75 percent in its forward stocking. Before Supply Chain Center, iFit took two weeks to fulfill customer demand far more than the desired two days.
Embrace AI-enabled risk mitigation
For most supply chains, particularly those crossing international borders and using multiple transportation modes, disruptions that risk diminishing the customer experience occur regularly. Such disruptions place immense pressure on operation teams to assess the situation, coordinate with various stakeholders, and maintain production momentum. Even simple delays, such as bad weather requiring load rerouting, can cause disruptions with ripple effects of up to two weeks and effecting multiple tiers. Production planners may lack integrated systems, resulting in limited visibility of inbound shipment issues until they experience a delay. At that point, planners contact suppliers and may discover factors, such as weather, causing a two-week production delay.
The planner now has no choice but to push delivery of sales orders out two weeks, giving the sales team and customers little time to pivot and find solutions. The planner may also spend half a day or more manually evaluating purchase orders to understand the impact on operations. Not to mention any time required to adjust production schedules to accommodate the supplier’s updated delivery windows.
Using Dynamics 365 Copilot to integrate supply chain data and provide critical insights, the planner in the scenario above would receive a real-time alert about weather issues at the supplier’s location. The system would also generate an email listing all purchase orders affected by the production delay, reducing the planner’s workload from hours to minutes.
Copilot can also send the planner a list of suggestions that could minimize the impact of the disruptions. Now the planner has time to evaluate alternatives to meet delivery requirements and reschedule production jobs. The result is proactive management of the event, increased agility within the supply chain, shorter recovery times, and, most importantly, mitigating the customer impact in a way that preserves customer relationships and bolsters customer satisfaction.
The above is one practical application of Copilot, but there is considerably more to share. In our recent blog, Applying next-generation AI to the Microsoft Supply Chain Platform, you can take a deeper dive into how Dynamics 365 Copilot is transforming laborious processes, improving efficiency and responsiveness, and enabling enterprise supply chains to optimize operational agility, reduce cost, and improve customer experiences.
Gain agility and deliver world-class fulfillment experiences
Northern Tool + Equipment, a manufacturing and omnichannel retailer with more than 130 stores across the United States, serves a customer base that heavily relies on their tools for their livelihood. Accurate delivery times and product reliability are of the utmost importance. However, Northern Tool + Equipment faced significant challenges due to a fragmented supply chain technology infrastructure, resulting in four to seven days lead times for their extensive product catalog of 100,000 items. This, combined with the complexities of shipping large items like generators and air compressors, made optimizing shipping routes for cost and sustainability difficult.
To overcome these challenges, Northern Tool + Equipment implemented Microsoft Supply Chain Center, an end-to-end supply chain solution that connects disparate systems and harmonizes data across the supply chain. This solution provides a comprehensive understanding of supply and demand, generating insights using AI to uncover patterns and projections based on historical and real-time inventory and order volumes.
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands like Northern Tool + Equipment face unique challenges in delivering world-class fulfillment experiences to their customers. With an emphasis on speed, accuracy, and reliability, these brands require agile supply chain solutions that can adapt to continuous change and increasing technology clock speed. Microsoft Supply Chain Center enables DTC brands like Northern Tool + Equipment to gain agility and deliver outstanding customer experiences by offering real-time, highly accurate, available-to-promise (ATP) dates for direct store delivery (DSD) and more.
Learn more about Northern Tool + Equipment’s success in our recent case study.
See you at Gartner Supply Chain Symposium Xpo™ 2023
As global supply chains continue reimagining what is possible by applying emerging technologies like AI and Copilot, Microsoft remains dedicated to enabling CSCOs with the solutions and timely insights they need to excel. We hope you can join us at the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium Xpo™ 2023, where you can attend our session using the registration link and engage with our supply chain professionals at our booth. In the meantime, we invite you to check out our guided tour of Dynamics 365 Intelligent Order Management or reach out to learn more today.
Practical ways to copilot with AI and unlock productivity
Location: Northern Hemisphere C, Booth 443
Date and time: May 9, 2023, 11:30 AM EST
Register: Gartner Supply Chain Symposium Xpo™ 2023
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