As the pace of the business world continues its upward spiral, there is no room left for delays. Products and services must find their way to customers when they need it. This puts pressure on companies to find ways and means to accelerate their go-to-market. In a dynamic business environment, it is imperative to stay agile and take advantage of innovations for enhancing business process execution.
The focus of this article is on supply chain business processes and how successful enterprises are transforming their supply chain function using the latest technologies.
Unplugging the supply chain loopholes
Supply chain is a complex network of multiple suppliers, contract manufacturers, OEMs and distributors. Until recently, the management of this network was carried out with piecemeal SCM applications and traditional ERP co-existing in an environment involving heavy integration and maintenance efforts. This method barely met expectations, causing run-time delays and lack of information from business silos.
In a scenario where there are multiple third party suppliers, production lines and warehouses, there are cost overruns in maintaining inventory levels despite deploying applications that forecast demand, manage inventory, plan production, etc. Synchronizing information from numerous supply chain nodes not only gets cumbersome but also involves analog errors, undervaluing the supply chain design.
Supply chain process transformation
Wouldn’t it be remarkable if real-time updates could provide better visibility of your supply chain network? Platforms such as SAP S/4HANA, IBP and SAP Leonardo are instrumental in facilitating innovation for organizations by enabling digital value chains to improve service levels and customer satisfaction levels.
SAP S/4HANA, a powerful digital core with an inbuilt in-memory data platform, makes applications perform much faster, removing traditional ERP systems’ limitation of slow batch processing. That’s not all - it also promises process transformation with real-time reporting and analytics, faster supply heuristics and rapid constraint-based production planning and material requirements planning.
SAP Integrated Business Planning (SAP IBP), powered by S/4HANA, enhances inventory management and material requirement planning, with planning embedded in each SAP S/4HANA Material Requirement Planning (MRP) instance. Since the business processes are delivered inside the core S/4HANA platform, inventory optimization and production optimization are much smarter now, aiding quicker, more accurate and effective operations. Constraint based what-if scenarios that took weeks to put together, can now be completed in a matter of a few minutes.
Supply chain management in intelligent enterprises
Innovations leveraging the likes of Blockchain, IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), are the game changers in the commercial world. SAP Leonardo, a stack that combines the power of these technologies on SAP Cloud Platform, is a thriving technology facilitator of intelligent enterprises. Smart Applications, powered by SAP Leonardo, improves customer engagement and service levels by enhancing visibility and traceability across the supply chain. Smart Applications use cases discussed in the following section can be applied to all businesses/industries.
In a multi echelon value network, the combined power of AI and advanced analytics can enhance the planning system with automated decision-making capabilities. This will make the planner’s role very strategic and endowed with dynamic operational capabilities.
Blockchain digital ledgers can be deployed to synchronize all the transactions across networks in a matter of minutes, and these transactions can be verified by all the parties involved, providing complete transparency across transactions taking place in production, warehouses, shipping, etc.
IoT enables connectivity and collaboration, bringing in an open culture and opening venues for new business models. Availability of anything, anywhere in a controlled environment assures real-time information sharing and end-to-end visibility.
Value Oriented supply chain network
Noticeably, intelligent enterprises are surging ahead with a clear agenda of exploring new ways of engaging with customers, suppliers and distributors, insights driven decision making, and production on-demand. With better responsiveness to customer demand and expectations they are undoubtedly able to leverage insights and vital business information from their network. If speed is everything for your business, it is time to simplify, rethink and invest in proven enablers of supply chain management that can transform your business.