An Expert Take on Supply Chain Visibility and Agility

FEATURED On-Demand Webinar

Executive Panel on Supply Chain Agility & Automation: Microsoft & Hitachi Solutions

Our free one-hour webinar will bring agility and visibility to the forefront of your supply chain, along with some essential insights from Microsoft experts.

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Microsoft and Hitachi Solutions Panel Discuss Challenges and Solutions

Did you know only 11% of executives have a modern, integrated digital solution for their supply chain, while 65% of executives cite a lack of real-time data access as a major obstacle? So, it’s not really surprising to learn that, according to Gartner, 82% of CEOs are looking at investing in digital supply chain transformation.

From the pandemic to runaway inflation to material shortages, it is clear today’s retailers and manufacturers continue to face endless supply chain woes. To mitigate risks and shortfalls of future disruptions, supply chains need to be as resilient as possible. Visibility, agility, and automation are key — yet often this requires new approaches and strategies and modern data and business solutions. For many, it can be difficult to know where, or even how, to start.

This is why Hitachi Solutions and Microsoft recently brought leading supply chain experts together to discuss how to achieve future-proofed, intelligent supply chain management. The panel provided valuable insights into the current state of supply chain management and the role of technology in driving agility and resilience. They emphasized the importance of end-to-end visibility, real-time data access, and automation in improving supply chain efficiency and reducing costs.

We encourage you to view the on-demand webinar, Executive Panel on Supply Chain Agility & Automation: Microsoft & Hitachi Solutions, to hear all the great information they shared on how to bring agility and visibility to the forefront of your supply chain strategy. For those who aren’t able to watch, below are some of the top takeaways from the event.

Challenges Seen on the Streets

Although a high percentage of executives are looking at supply chain modernization, many are struggling to figure out how to get the most value from the investment. We asked the panel what their customers have been experiencing and what they are seeing in the industry. Here are some of their answers:

  • According to Hitachi Solutions Vice President of Digital Advisory Jim MacLellan, he’s seeing aggressive adoption of internet platforms, e-commerce, and automation, especially in smaller B2B companies since the pandemic. And, the trend of connected supply chains is spreading to transportation management, offshore manufacturing, compliance, and more — regardless of industry or size.
  • Microsoft’s Director of Business Strategy for Supply Chain Ali Akstut is seeing customers emerging from transit visibility issues and now looking for more long-term visibility from suppliers to help them better predict production and scheduling delays and inventory shortages. Customers are struggling with how to turn the insights they do get into actions to help them overcome whatever disruptions they are facing.
  • When asked, Microsoft Solution Specialist Pritraj Singh feels complexity and tracking all the players makes supply chain visibility difficult, especially when spread across geographies. Also, the fact that everyone is on a different digital journey makes it hard to integrate data and gain a view of the entire supply chain. Then, because many suppliers are relying on manual processes and outdated technology, getting accurate and timely data is a challenge as well.

76% of supply chain executives are actually seeing higher disruptions in their supply chains than three years ago — which was the height of the pandemic. And, those disruptions can represent as much as 30% of an organization’s EBITDA according to McKinsey. So, it’s really important for companies to be able to adjust to vulnerabilities and disruptions going forward. Here’s how our panel sees customers transforming to be more agile and resilient.

  • Jim is seeing more of his customers put human performance at the forefront of agility. They are cross training their teams to better understand how they fit within the whole process to drive transactional discipline and accuracy. Also, conducting daily stand-up meetings to review dashboards and see numbers and facts in real time helps keep things balanced right at the point of impact.

    “The more we involve the people that make up the details of your supply chain, the human element, where folks really do understand how things fit together, that’s going to build a business that is very resilient,” said Jim.
  • Ali’s customers are leaning into data visibility, actionable insights, collaboration, and orchestrated processes to gain agility. They are trying to connect the silos — planning, production, control, inventory, logistics — from across the enterprise. They are looking for solutions to make these virtual connections.

    “Nobody is going back to pre-covid days, that world is over. This is the new normal because every day there’s a new kind of disruption materializing,” said Ali.
  • Pritraj notes that ChatGPT is new, but along with other natural language processing technologies will eventually be used to analyze data and provide virtual assistants to improve performance, identify potential risks, provide cognitive demand planning, and more.

    “This is where the autonomous supply chain of the future will be — it is an exciting space,” said Pritraj.

Solutions to Accelerate Agility

Several technologies are discussed during the webinar. However, the Microsoft Supply Chain Platform is the main approach to supply chain modernization recommended by our panel of experts. Attendees were treated to an informative live demo from Microsoft on the solution that can help turn an outdated supply chain into a true competitive advantage.

Microsoft Supply Chain Platform is an open, flexible, orchestration “command center” that brings the best of Microsoft AI, collaboration, low-code, security, and SaaS applications together. It works natively within your existing supply chain data and applications, with built-in collaboration, supply and demand insights, and order management. It makes the most of existing supply chain investments to accelerate agility and resiliency and help you gain the data and insights you need to act quickly.

Connect With Hitachi Solutions for Your Supply Chain Goals

These are just some of the valuable highlights from our experts. View the on-demand webinar to hear even more discussion around end-to-end visibility, how to use automation to onboard suppliers and vendors, the benefits of a modern data estate, and sustainability and compliance — everything you need to start your journey to supply chain modernization and improvement. 

As the Microsoft Supply Chain Management Partner of the Year, Hitachi Solutions brings deep industry, technology, and advisory expertise to create integrated solutions leveraging Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Azure, Teams, and Power Platform for our customers. We also incorporate our own Empower data and analytics platform to help our supply chain customers be truly agile and resilient, and provide visibility across all data sources.

If you’d like to read more from Hitachi Solutions supply chain thought leaders, be sure and check out:

Look for more resources like these on our website, or contact us to talk to one of our supply chain professionals today.