Supply Chain

AI for Supply Chain Professionals – A Force for Change

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All customers expect their purchase to show up as expected and on time. But if you’re a supply chain professional, like so many we work with, you know there are thousands of things that have to be executed perfectly for that customer to have their anticipated experience. And we know things can, and do, go wrong. So, supply chain teams by necessity build contingency plans, and cushion. But what if you had greater visibility into your supply chain data and processes? What if that visibility included robust AI and cognitive capabilities that could help you predict and mitigate risks? You’d be a supply chain Jedi with the Force at your command to drive additional value to your business.

Meet Watson, Your Trusted Advisor

Imagine being an ever-learning Jedi Master, with this Force at your command – observing things on your behalf, scanning the horizon (and beyond) for possible incoming trouble, alerting you when specific situations arise and helping you drill down into the data to understand the context to take action. This expert becomes a trusted advisor – pulling specific people together to resolve problems and even offering recommendations and confidence levels of each alternative. This expert’s ability to analyze a broad range of data makes it unique. It can consider SNEWS (social, news, events like traffic, weather, etc.) on a global basis, plus supplier and manufacturer processes and industry specific domain information. This expert is IBM Watson – correlating all the data in real-time – anticipating issues and opportunities and offering recommendations and advice to you and your team 24 hours a day.

Let’s take a quick look at how IBM and Watson are already helping businesses more effectively manage their supply chains today.

RS Components Embraces an Automated Approach to Partner Integration

Every day RS Components Ltd. offers more than 500,000 products that are sourced from 2,500 suppliers to more than one million customers in more than 32 countries and ships around 44,000 parcels. That is a lot of moving parts that need to work flawlessly.

RS Components worked with IBM to construct a business case around building a Control Tower that will provide B2B integration, real-time messaging and visibility for their top logistics partners (including Parcel Force, DHL and TNT/Fedex). With Watson Supply Chain solutions, RS Components will offer real-time visibility, “Where is My Parcel” capabilities and 100% Track and Trace functionality.

Additionally, they created an automated approach to partner integration in the cloud—enabling them to feed up-to-date supplier information on product availability and shipping dates to their e-commerce site. Through this approach, they can communicate delivery estimates quickly and effectively online—letting customers know exactly when they can expect their orders to arrive and helping boost sales.

Coastal Pacific Prepares for Growth with a Fresh Platform

Today, Coastal Pacific uses IBM Watson Supply Chain to process EDI-based business transactions for all of its military partners—totaling more than 3.5 million transactions per year. Thanks to the new platform, the company is achieving its aim of delivering self-service capabilities to prepare for future growth.

Pat Ranga, Vice President EDI/E-Commerce, Coast Pacific Food Distributors shared, “Every 15 days, we send out 14,000 invoice transactions to our manufacturers, which enables them to invoice the commissaries for the products that we have delivered. The total billing volumes can reach several million dollars, and we are liable for a financial penalty in excess of one hundred dollars for each invoice that is not sent out in time—so ensuring that our clients can send their invoices in a timely manner is vital. With IBM Watson Supply Chain solutions driving our EDI processes, we can continue to manage multi-billion dollar EDI transactions like clockwork—enabling us to keep our fill-rates high and maintain our market-leading competitiveness.”

Visibility and Automation with IBM Watson Supply Chain

In each of these organizations, IBM Watson Supply Chain is serving as the force for change by offering better visibility and greater automation across key B2B partnerships, helping mitigate risks and make faster decisions, and extending digital connections with partners to drive collaboration and innovation, while reducing costs.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can leverage this force for change, please visit: ibm.com/watson/supply-chain.

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