Supply chain management has become increasingly complex. More and more organizations are relying on deeply interconnected supplier networks that span multiple continents. At the same time, consumers have come to expect higher quality products to go to market faster than ever. Meeting this demand, while keeping costs down, is difficult, especially when using legacy IT and processes.
That’s why so many IT leaders are excited about how the cloud transforms supply chain management. The cloud not only eliminates the burden of having to manage IT on-prem, but it also opens up new avenues for value creation and collaboration amongst many stakeholders. This is exactly what companies need to improve supply chain performance while keeping operational complexity at bay.
In this blog post, we touch on several ways that the cloud makes managing supply chains easier. We highlight one Amazon Web Services (AWS) solution, in particular, that’s designed to support modern supply chains. Last, we touch on how ClearScale supports cloud adoption for supply chain management.
The End of Siloed Supply Chain Operations
One of the most significant ways that the cloud transforms supply chain management is by improving operational visibility across the board. On the cloud, supply chain leaders have the ability to set up robust ecosystems for collecting, analyzing, and sharing data with external partners. It’s this opening up of the supply chain that creates countless opportunities for various teams to work together and solve difficult problems.
ML Analytics in Supply Chain Management
Machine learning (ML)-powered analytics are vital for next-gen supply chains. As alluded to, our supply chains now involve more vendors who are managing more materials to serve more customers. Supply chain operators have to track countless metrics and coordinate activity across many distributed functions. This is where the cloud comes in.
The cloud enables organizations to gather enormous volumes of data in near real-time from a wide range of sources. Platforms like AWS make it easy to set up flexible data pipelines and scalable data lakes for consolidating all of this information. Data engineers can then train ML models to identify subtle market trends and discover untapped opportunities.
What’s more, cloud users can easily share these insights with key stakeholders both inside and outside of the business. In other words, the cloud helps break down silos that have historically dominated supply chain management. From raw material processors to retailers, teams across the supply chain can now collaborate more openly and make informed decisions.
To give specific examples, logistics personnel can use insights from ML models to determine how to re-route shipments given some type of disruption in the marketplace. They can track products, shipments, containers, and orders more closely. And they can build stronger relationships with suppliers and manufacturers who ultimately want to move more product.
IoT in Supply Chain Management
On a related note, the cloud also enables efficient IoT application management, which has major implications for today’s supply chains. With smart sensors, companies can now extract rich insights at every stage of the supply chain.
For example, those who work with raw materials can directly track data points like soil quality, crop condition, oil reserve composition, and more. Manufacturers can study asset utilization and machine performance in greater detail, paving the way for predictive maintenance and sustainable operation. And organizations that handle finished goods, like brick-and-mortar retailers, can track inventory levels more closely.
To summarize, IoT devices empower supply chain personnel to “see” much more of what’s happening across physical environments. As a result, they can act faster and respond better to ever-changing market conditions. The key to taking advantage of this is having a cloud service provider that understands the opportunities that exist in supply chain management.
AWS Supply Chain
AWS offers a tool specifically for supply chain management – AWS Supply Chain. This service improves transparency and integration-related supply chain operations. For instance, teams can use the tool to unify data across many sources – enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs), supply chain point solutions, IoT devices, and more. Practically, this means it’s easier for businesses to do things like avoid overstocking or understocking inventory, as well as improve demand planning and forecasting.
On top of that, AWS Supply Chain integrates seamlessly into existing supply chain management ecosystems, which means companies don’t have to replatform existing applications or enter into rigid licensing agreements. Instead, they can focus on accelerating distribution and delivering exceptional experiences to customers. However, even with AWS Supply Chain, it can be difficult to know exactly how best to leverage the cloud to optimize supply chain management. Enter ClearScale.
How ClearScale Supports Organizations All Across the Supply Chain
ClearScale is an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner that has helped companies leverage the AWS cloud since 2011. We’ve earned 11 AWS Competencies, including the Machine Learning Competency. Organizations in every industry rely on our expertise to solve difficult business problems on the cloud, including those that operate on the supply chain side.
For instance, we worked with a developer of mobile supply chain technology that wanted to go serverless. Doing so would enable the business to provide better services to customers worldwide. Our team created a new AWS environment and implemented automation using tools like AWS CodeDeploy and AWS CodePipeline. The client is now serverless and can add, modify, or update cloud resources quickly to achieve business goals.
We also worked with an organization that aims to promote the responsible sourcing of minerals across the globe. The company wanted to build a user platform with nuanced access controls and data security for tracking grievances. We helped the team set its interface up on AWS with services like AWS Cognito to boost cybersecurity. Today, organizations all over the world use the organization’s platform to keep mineral sourcing groups in check.
If your organization operates within the supply chain, we’d love to help you think through how the cloud can benefit your business. Schedule a call with one of our cloud engineers today to get started.