Why you Should Automate your Supply Chain Analytics

Oracle is a leader in supply chain automation. Picture: Oracle
Supply Chain Digital takes a look at some key vendors to consider when your business is automating its supply chain analytics

All manner of reasons exist as to why companies go about automating their supply chain analytics. 

Automation is primarily aimed at increasing efficiency, with further benefits following as a direct impact. It can streamline processes, reduce manual intervention and, ultimately, complete tasks such as inventory management and shipment tracking more quickly and accurately than humans.

As a result, firms stand to achieve significant cost savings, mainly due to the reduced need for manual labour. Automation also helps to minimise errors, which can often cause costly disruptions. 

What’s more, this reduction in human error in tasks like data entry, order fulfilment and inventory management inevitably leads to more accurate forecasting, better inventory control and fewer mistakes throughout the supply chain.

Another benefit businesses stand to gain from automating their supply chains is access to real-time data and analytics, allowing them to track the status of their supply chain at any moment. This increased visibility serves as a big advantage when it comes to making informed decisions and improving supply chain responsiveness.

Then there is scalability which, in supply chain terms, translates as the ability to easily scale up or down based on demand – without the need for significant changes to infrastructure or the workforce. This flexibility is particularly important for companies experiencing growth or seasonal fluctuations.

Key vendors in supply chain automation

Numerous vendors specialise in, among other things, supply chain automation.

These firms offer a variety of solutions catering to different aspects of the supply chain, from procurement right the way through to delivery. 

Here, Supply Chain Digital looks at just some of the prominent vendors known for their contributions to supply chain automation.

Companies can transform their supply chains with automation from SAP. Picture: SAP

SAP

With integrated supply chain solutions from SAP, companies can transform their supply chains with AI-driven insights, recommendations and automation.

Using SAP Business AI, firms are well positioned to predict events, make better-informed decisions and modernise functions from design to operate.

SAP’s supply chain solutions, including SAP Integrated Business Planning and SAP Ariba Supply Chain Collaboration, enable a remarkable increase in quality through automation.

“Traditional supply chain management processes are not fit for purpose to address the volume and variety of disruption that exists today,” says Ryan Poggi, Managing Director of SAP UKI.

“Future AI innovation, especially generative AI, will change this and is the greatest opportunity since the rise of the cloud.”

Oracle

Oracle offers a comprehensive suite of supply chain management solutions, such as Oracle Supply Chain Planning, Oracle Transportation Management and Oracle Warehouse Management. 

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Each helps firms optimise supply chain processes, enhance visibility and improve operational efficiency.

Oracle’s take is that the organisations of today need an integrated platform that enables AI and automation to be embedded in supply chain processes.

Jon Chorley, SVP of Supply Chain Applications and CSO at Oracle, says the company’s complete suite of integrated applications “creates an environment where AI and automation can flourish to help businesses drive efficiencies and achieve more with less."

IBM

The IBM Sterling Supply Chain Intelligence Suite is an AI-based optimisation and automation solution designed for organisations struggling to solve supply chain disruptions through traditional transformation. 

Products in the suite are designed to facilitate a digital supply chain transformation, improve supplier network resiliency and sustainability, increase agility and accelerate time-to-value through actionable insights, smarter workflows and intelligent automation.

Jonathan Wright, Global Managing Partner, Sustainability Services and Global Business Transformation at IBM Consulting, comments: “To effectively combat unprecedented supply chain stressors like inflation, it's imperative that CSCOs focus on using analytics, AI and automation initiatives to build intelligent, resilient and sustainable supply chains.”

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Blue Yonder

Blue Yonder offers a comprehensive suite of supply chain solutions powered by AI and machine learning, focusing primarily on demand forecasting, inventory optimisation and warehouse management.

The organisation’s ‘Connected Edge’ is ushering in a new era of intelligence and automation driven by IoT, directly informing supply chain and retail decisions.

Among the big-name partners with which Blue Yonder has been working to revolutionise supply chain management and demand planning are Panasonic and Heineken

In April, the firm agreed a deal to purchase One Network Enterprises for more than US$800m. 

Manhattan Associates

Manhattan Associates offers supply chain solutions covering areas like order management, inventory optimisation, transportation and warehouse management.

Manhattan Associates works closely with clients in the area of warehouse management

The latter, Manhattan Active Warehouse Management, has the capacity to control demand, supply, labour and automation across a company’s network.

This industry-leading cloud-native, evergreen, extensible WMS offers:

  • Seamless automation connecting: Connect any automation from any vendor to reduce point-to-point integrations
  • Faster connectivity: Pre-certified plug-in connectivity for automation
  • Easy automation coordination: Coordinate orchestration across any kind of automation or robotics.

Schneider Electric recently chose Manhattan Associates to supercharge its global distribution and transportation network.

SS&C Blue Prism

SS&C Blue Prism is a leading provider of robotic process automation (RPA) software. 

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Blue Prism’s RPA enables a connected supply chain that dynamically updates forecasts and can intelligently react to maintain schedules.

By connecting information from internal data sources, customers, suppliers and other data sources like weather alerts or government reports by using cognitive technologies like Natural Language Processing, supply chain forecasts are furnished with the up-to-date information necessary to make the best data-driven decisions at all times.

Bill Stone, Chairman and CEO at SS&C Technologies, comments: “With SS&C Blue Prism at the leading edge of the RPA market, we’re well positioned to help our customers optimise their processes and transform their organisations.”

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