Harnessing data for more resilient and sustainable supply chains

  • Posted on January 27, 2023
  • Estimated reading time 5 minutes
Resilient & sustainable supply chain

This article was originally published in Logistics Middle East.

Maintaining operational resilience has long been a challenge for manufacturing companies, further augmented by the exposure of existing supply chains to the unprecedented hurdles driven by the pandemic, natural disasters and extreme weather conditions, road and port closures, and other man-made adversities, as well as strict regulations and government policies.

While many enterprises have invested in boosting their operational capabilities to meet the rising market challenges, developing more resilient supply chains may require a different approach.

By efficiently organizing data and moving from on-premises to modern platforms and deploying advanced analytics to connect with consumers where they live, shop and work, businesses can fully harness the power of data to build more resilient supply chains that can withstand future challenges.

At Avanade, we developed six practical steps to help companies develop data-driven, intelligent, and more sustainable supply chain operations.

  1. Assess your supply chain agility

    Supply chain agility has become increasingly critical – enabling organizations to respond faster to customer needs and market conditions, radically shift production lines, revisit supplier networks, and find new ways of collaboration, among other benefits.

    In recent years, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has transformed into a supply chain nerve center owing to the effective implementation of national logistics plans and digital transformation initiatives supporting the country’s public and private sectors.

    Working with an experienced consultant enables businesses to determine shortfalls along their supply chain and develop approaches to address them.

  2. Consider your supply chain visibility

    Siloed technology platforms, high implementation costs, and the lack of quality data are key factors behind the operational inefficiencies preventing businesses from accurately locating their inventory, determining what is needed, and when.

    In recent years, leading supply chain solution providers in the UAE have undertaken massive digital transformation projects to migrate their supply chain and logistics operations to the Microsoft Azure Cloud.

    By moving ERP platforms to the Microsoft Azure Cloud and digitizing supply chains, firms can tackle disruptions, keep up with the rapidly evolving market requirements and limit their exposure to cyber-security risks.

  3. Embed more supply chain intelligence

    With agility and insights at the ready, businesses can focus on improving their forecasting capabilities.

    Microsoft Azure UAE Regions recently launched a range of services to accelerate post-COVID digital transformation programs in the region. One key service – Azure Machine Learning – enables enterprises to build business-critical, high-quality models while leveraging industry-leading Machine Learning Operations (MLOps) and integrated tools.

    These solutions allow businesses in the UAE to forecast sales, effectively manage inventories, as well as plan supply and risk.

    By utilizing machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) tools to analyze data – companies can visualize a comprehensive view of their business, make data-driven decisions, and bring the information back to their enterprise resource planning (ERP) to execute and deliver seamless supply chain operations.

  4. Out with the old and in with the new

    Most enterprises deal with legacy on-premises platforms which often fail to unify information or provide quick access. Without a single source of truth, organizations can waste valuable time trying to obtain critical information.

    Flexible, modern platforms and AI tools can help companies pivot nimbly to scale AI, quickly access data, and minimize supply chain disruptions.

    In the UAE, we have seen sharp demand for platform migration opportunities where enterprises need to move quickly from old, outdated legacy systems with minimal disruption to business operations.

    Partnering with Avanade’s factory-driven migration teams to analyze the environment as well as to automate the migration process allow businesses to quickly shift to the Microsoft Azure Cloud and start capitalizing on its expanded capabilities.

  5. Governance and data security

    To maintain the privacy of collected personal data and ensure it is safely processed, stored, and used in compliance with data protection regulations – companies need to structurally integrate data security measures into their core processes, technology and analytics, which requires businesses to have ample data management, lineage and transparency capabilities in place.

    Implementing apt data integrity measures allows companies to dramatically improve their customer engagement and lower risks by classifying data, adopting policies to continuously develop their operations, and conducting periodic audits to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.

  6. Supply chain sustainability

    To realize their sustainability goals, businesses must adopt a holistic approach by embedding greener practices into their tools, operating models, processes and policies – an approach which requires a cultural shift within the organization.

    In recent years, the UAE saw an increase in businesses committing to environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices. For example – Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange has committed to spearheading the country’s sustainability efforts within the financial market. Meanwhile, large retailers have set sustainability performance targets (SPTs) to “green” their operations and reduce their environmental footprint.

    At Avanade, our sustainable quick-start solutions help businesses transform their operations into an environment of agile innovation, enabled by advanced cloud and “green” software tools. Moreover, our ready-to-use sustainability technology accelerators help expedite companies’ sustainability journeys and align their digital strategy with the country’s ESG targets.

Find out more about how Avanade has helped organizations embrace continual change with intelligent ERP solutions that power supply chain transformation.

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