Supply chain complexities continue to fundamentally change the way business is done. Improving productivity and resiliency, and fostering innovation amidst rising cost and labor pressures remain key priorities for supply chain leaders. Organizations are forced to adapt to new technologies and new business models. These changes are disrupting the way companies sell products and services, which blur industry lines and transform the employee and customer experiences.
At Microsoft, we are committed to bringing new supply chain innovations to the market. We help our customers through our open, flexible, and collaborative Microsoft platform, with a focus on delivering AI-first capabilities to mitigate risk, managing inventory, planning with agility, and making informed decisions quickly across the entire supply chain. With the rise of generative AI capabilities this past year, we’ve seen the amazing potential for Microsoft Copilot capabilities to reinvent every business process. We shipped our first set of Copilot capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management in June, and today we’re pleased to announce a new set of Copilot capabilities that we’ll preview this fall alongside our new demand planning capabilities.
Meet customer demand on time effectively with new agile planning capabilities
It’s crucial now more than ever for organizations to accurately predict demand and quickly adapt to demand shifts in a timely, sustainable, and cost-effective manner. If a product is not in stock when a customer needs it, they will order it from a competitor.
The new demand planning capability for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, now available in public preview, enables organizations to predict demand with AI and machine learning models that also use external data sources. The AI-powered forecast model automatically selects the best algorithms and parameters for every product, and planners can fine-tune the parameters based on their bespoke business needs.
By easily tailoring forecast inputs, users can plan with confidence using a guided no-code approach and can simulate the impacts of changing the forecast models before application. Customers can also plug in their own machine-learning models that are custom-built for their business needs.
The new demand planning capabilities create a more flexible, simplified, and intuitive user experience. Planners have an increased level of trust and can rely more on the forecast, knowing how it’s generated. The demand planning capabilities reduce excess inventory and increase working capital.
Let’s see how one of our customers, Domino’s Pizza UK and Ireland is planning to use the demand planning capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics 365.
Domino’s Pizza UK and Ireland is innovating to enhance its sustainability journey. This underpins its ambition to deliver a better future through food people love. They’re using AI to optimize their end-to-end operations and reduce food wastage, all while ensuring they have the ingredients they need in their stores for every single order.
With constant demand changes, Domino’s Pizza UK and Ireland needed to forecast daily and its current manual processes with spreadsheets did not provide flexibility and intelligence. Now, it’s implementing demand planning for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management to review the latest forecasts determined by incredibly powerful algorithms chosen by our AI models.
“It allows us to step back from what were maybe emotionally driven human instinct decisions and just know that the decision we’re making is bang on.“—Darren O’Keefe, Head of Inventory, Domino’s Pizza UK and Ireland
They can filter and slice the forecasts and perform a whole host of what-if simulations to allow planners to focus on the areas that will have the most impact on demand and wastage first.
It’s important that they can aggregate and disaggregate data instantly and make changes at any level, easily incorporating “the human factor”. For example, when there is a weather-related disruption in the UK that will strongly impact consumer demand, Domino’s Pizza UK and Ireland can react fast and quickly update the demand figures. The solution will automatically spread that additional demand across the right warehouses at a speed that cannot be achieved otherwise.
“We’re not just rapidly moving to any technology that’s available. The demand planning app will help the business make right decisions that will lower wastage, avoid unnecessary deliveries, reduce the carbon footprint, and is cyber safe.“—Neha Batra, Head of Business Solutions, Domino’s Pizza UK and Ireland
Effective planning further requires the ability to unify data, and flexibility to shape it. The modeling and import capabilities allow planners to define their own planning model and ingest data from a variety of different data sources without writing any code, increasing the accuracy of the planning and, in turn, reducing food wastage.
The new demand planning capabilities also help narrow the time that planners spend collaborating with stakeholders in the flow of work with Microsoft Teams. Planners are now able to gain consensus on a demand plan in a shorter amount of time. Now, they will be able to capture every edit and comment in the solution, communicating with their teammates, and they can revert to any previous version of the forecast in just a few clicks. The continuous supply planning process will complete material resource planning (MRP) run in minutes to respond to demand changes in near real time. This will ensure faster replenishment cycles and shorter delivery lead times.
We plan to further enhance our demand planning capabilities with Copilot that will help planners explain how a forecast was created and assist them in identifying patterns and anomalies. It will further help them understand complex correlations across datasets using natural language interactions. It will also automate the mundane tasks of preparing demand review reports, saving the planners precious time to focus on high-impact activities.
New Copilot capabilities to improve productivity and act proactively to mitigate disruptions
The latest Microsoft Copilot capability for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management enables supply chain teams to take actions based on insights with conversational help while in the flow of work. This ensures an increase in productivity and improved collaboration among employees across supply chain and other cross-functional teams. This capability will be available in public preview on November 15 and it will allow users across different functions to proactively mitigate disruptions and further automate their workflows.
This will also improve user experience significantly, resulting in wider adoption of systems and processes among both new and existing users. Users no longer have to leave their workspace or toggle between multiple tabs to act on an insight.
Let’s take a look.
We are also adding new Copilot capabilities that will enhance inventory visibility and enable businesses to promise orders with improved accuracy. These will be available in public preview on November 15 and will significantly help brands elevate their consumers’ buying experiences.
Earlier in June, we also introduced Copilot capabilities for procurement teams to handle purchase order changes in a scalable and efficient manner and assess the impact of changes downstream to production and distribution before making the right decision. This will be generally available on December 1.
Generative AI and Copilot capabilities have opened the door for us to reimagine how workers and employees engage with their everyday tools and workflows. Empowering workers is no longer just about building new workspaces to work from, like control towers or command centers, but rather about how we surface relevant information and enable quicker decision making in the flow of work. Copilot is redefining the art of the possible and with that we are setting out to revolutionize how enterprise resource planning (ERP) workers engage with technology every day. Given this, we are ending our preview for Microsoft Supply Chain Center on October 31, 2023. Going forward, we’ll be mainstreaming these data management and integration capabilities into Microsoft Power Platform, enabling customers and their partners to use the full capabilities of the platform for a wider range of use cases.
“Supply chain solutions have become more critical than ever. Our early assessment of Copilot capabilities in Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management suggests a significant improvement of the user experience, enabling organizations to unlock efficiencies and drive productivity gains. These desirable outcomes can be delivered in combination with the demand planning capabilities, positioning Microsoft as an industry leader in implementing generative AI into tools able to increase productivity, collaboration, and performance of employees across all levels of their organizations.”—Daniel Newman, CEO, The Futurum Group
Take control of your supply chain with Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management
Supply chains are incredibly complex. But now, with the use of Copilot and demand planning for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, your teams have the tools to navigate every challenge along the way without needing to rip and replace the legacy systems all at once. The composability of Dynamics 365 enables agile manufacturing and distribution processes to improve throughput, quality, uptime, and sustainability. Our world-leading security solutions ensure that the customers, suppliers, and your data are more secure. Dynamics 365 also extends through Microsoft Power Platform and empowers end users to customize solutions and build apps with modern user experiences working the way they want and to innovate faster.
Take complete control of all your supply chain processes now with Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.
Learn more about the demand planning capabilities for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management and about the Copilot capabilities for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.
Contact us to learn more about the new capabilities for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.
Already using Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management? Get started now with demand planning and Copilot. Enable demand planning for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.