Accelerating digital transformation to future-proof and build resilient supply chains

 |   Singapore News Center

person working in a factory

By: Benson Ang, Manufacturing Program Lead, Microsoft Singapore

The global supply chain is complex and interconnected. In our borderless world, this means that everyone – including businesses, customers, and manufacturers – are not immune to global economic, social and political movements. Coupled with impacts from the pandemic, these disruptions have exposed vulnerabilities in our supply chains, and challenged organizations to adjust to the “new normal” with agility and resilience.

For a trade-dependent economy like Singapore, having stable and resilient supply chains remains key to ensuring that we keep up with changing customer demands and economic conditions. Today, businesses are not only expected to keep their supply chains running, but also to grow and be competitive in the uncertain and complex business environment.

As a leading manufacturer and trusted strategic partner, Microsoft believes that digital transformation is key to helping businesses build resilient supply chains – one that leverages the power of the cloud and machine learning (ML) to help manufacturers optimize their operations and anticipate market shifts through real-time visibility. At the same time, Microsoft works closely with our ecosystem of partners to help businesses improve agility, develop new business models, and reach customers in new ways with Microsoft’s technology.

The power of AI in building resilient supply chains

The future of global supply chains is being reimagined. Slow digitization of the supply chain is significantly inhibiting organizations from quickly responding to changing customer demand and supply challenges.

Through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), businesses can unify real-time data and proactively identify risks, allowing them to deal with issues in a timely manner. An example is global supply chain platform provider, Blue Yonder. Blue Yonder collaborated with Microsoft to launch Luminate Control Tower, a solution that provides customers with end-to-end visibility of their supply chains. Powered by Microsoft Azure, AI, and ML-based forecasting engines, Luminate Control Tower provides companies with the insights to discover, interpret, and act on real-time information from their entire digital ecosystem. This enables businesses to seamlessly predict, pivot and fulfill customer demand and shifts when and before they happen.

The Microsoft Cloud provides end-to-end solutions for industries including manufacturing to help securely connect people, assets, workflows, and business processes, empowering organizations to have more visibility into core processes and requirements for a resilient supply chain.

In Singapore, Microsoft has partnered with Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) to open the Centre for Applied AI (C4AI) to empower SMEs with the platform, tools, and expertise to drive AI adoption. The C4AI solutions are also a boon for manufacturers across industries, especially those involved in Computer Numerical Controlled machining, where accurate monitoring of coolant concentration levels is key in extending a machine’s life and preventing them from overheating. To help manufacturers better monitor these levels, NYP has developed an AI dashboard powered by Microsoft Azure and Power BI to automatically analyze information and present user-friendly data that can accurately determine the condition of a coolant in the manufacturing process.

By leveraging AI to enhance end-to-end operational visibility and improve planning agility, businesses can create a resilient digital supply chain that is resistant to external shifts and disruptions. In the long run, this will help businesses develop competitive advantage and autonomous supply chains that get products to market faster.

Leveraging on our partner ecosystem to drive industry-wide transformation

Singapore is a hotbed for innovation and creativity. This is made possible through partnership as the nation pursues its industrial transformation ambitions and embraces tech intensity to build a resilient, digitally-inclusive economy.

Microsoft sees strong, robust partnerships as a key to building resilience and innovation, and to foster a digitally inclusive nation. We are committed to jointly innovating and creating industry-leading solutions and services with our partners, to help customers realize tangible business outcomes through digital transformation.

We collaborated with Singapore-based SPEEDCARGO Technologies to reimagine the air cargo and logistics industry with advanced 3D vision technologies. Leveraging Microsoft’s Azure Depth Platform, SPEEDCARGO is working to build a digital twin of its physical cargo to digitize its operations and enable optimization across its operating networks. In the long run, this will drive industry transformation across various verticals, including warehousing, freight forwarding, trucking, ground handling and logistics.

Ultimately, we see an opportunity for our partners to move the scope of their business models from being just demand-driven, but to one that includes supply-creation. Healthcare services provider Zuellig Pharma for example, has been focusing on constant innovation to develop new services that address some of the most pressing healthcare needs in Asia. Its decision to upgrade its legacy SAP system in 2019 to a cloud-based infrastructure using Azure has allowed not only the business to glean deeper levels of insight into their operations, but also enable its clients to gain a real-time view of their individual sales and deliveries to track performance and scalability.

Manufacturing a more resilient, digitally inclusive future for Singapore

The Microsoft Cloud unlocks the power of factories through trusted, secure Edge and cloud capabilities to help companies weather global supply chain challenges. We have also seen great value in partnerships within and beyond the supply chain industry, allowing companies to co-innovate and drive tech intensity. At Microsoft, we hope to continue working with key industry partners to accelerate transformation as we build a resilient, digitally inclusive future for all.