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5 Ways Cognitive Technologies can Optimize Your B2B Network

By Lori Angalich | Thu, May 31, 2018

If you aren’t already leveraging cognitive technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) in your business network, you may be missing out on critical supply chain improvements.

Cognitive and AI systems use natural language processing and machine learning to understand, reason, learn about and analyze all types of data. Also, they can interact with users in a more natural, conversational manner.

For B2B networks and supply chains, these capabilities can be leveraged for a wide variety of improvements including:

  • Providing greater visibility and insight—from high level to granular detail
  • Enabling split-second decision making based on the best data available
  • Increasing awareness of critical issues
  • Suggesting the best courses of action 
  • Fostering collaboration among departments and partners

With these capabilities like these, you can plan for (or avoid) disruptions, proactively handle potential issues with suppliers, and ensure you can meet or exceed customer expectations (among many other benefits). Let’s take a closer look at some of the AI and cognitive capabilities available for B2B operations and supply chains today.

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How Artificial Intelligence Can Transform Supply Chains

By Lori Angalich | Mon, Mar 19, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer the province of science fiction: it’s here, and it can be leveraged by your supply chain to transform the way your company sources materials and delivers finished products.

For many companies, AI and cognitive computing are becoming necessities in their supply chain operations, as these capabilities can help them overcome significant barriers to success.

First, we collect a plethora of data in our supply chains, but often, we miss important opportunities for cost savings and efficiency because we aren’t using that data effectively. 

Additionally, artificial intelligence and cognitive capabilities in the supply chain become even more important as Baby Boomers—with their wealth of supply chain knowledge retire. The new Millennial workforce is packed with tech-savvy workers, but they often do not have the supply chain experience of their senior counterparts, nor do they tend to stay in one position for decades, as previous generations did. 

Globalization also presents new challenges to the supply chain. As companies continue to grow, they generate and collect even more data, implement more policies and processes, and add many new employees, suppliers, customers, and locations. Consequently, they struggle with analyzing all of this data, bringing new supply chain employees up to speed on policies and best practices, deciding what actions to take when issues arise, and getting relevant insights into the right hands at the right time. 

While AI and cognitive capabilities can help companies overcome these challenges and many others, they can also help companies improveeven transformtheir supply chains. Let's explore how. 

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Unleashing 3 Key Benefits of Greater Supply Chain Visibility

By Lori Angalich | Tue, Feb 27, 2018

 It’s 11:00 p.m. Do you know where that critical shipment is?

When an important shipment containing parts essential to your flagship product is delayed in transit, the delay can resonate throughout your manufacturing process and impact orders. If you don’t know the problem exists in your supply chain, you’re left scrambling to fulfill orders and maintain production levels. Lack of supply chain visibility puts your business at risk, affecting not only your bottom line but also your company’s reputation.

According to research firm Gartner, supply chain visibility is a top priority among supply chain leaders and Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) across a wide range of industries and geographies. And for good reasons: visibility into your supply chain not only lets you mitigate late shipment scenarios but also helps you proactively mitigate these problems. Supply chain visibility can also help you identify risks and potential savings.

When visibility is combined with business intelligence, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI)—organizations can gain unprecedented supply chain insights that can transform their operations.

While there are too many benefits to cover in a single blog post, let’s explore three benefits of supply chain visibility that are top-of-mind. 

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Stop Driving Blind: Why Supply Chain Visibility is so Critical for Growth

By Mike Warvel | Fri, Oct 06, 2017

Have you ever driven your car with your eyes closed—for just a second?  Pretty scary, right? The same goes for driving your business.

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Getting a visibility cloak for invisible order management processes

By Lightwell | Mon, Mar 16, 2015

While it might be good for a superhero or a wizard, invisibility is an unwelcome condition in supply chains. Order management, in its slow, manual-based state, often suffers from a crisis of invisibility, with large gaps forming where processes and personnel are operating under the radar. But without the proper tools to illuminate these dark corners of order management processes, it was difficult to imagine a better way. 

Invisibility in inventory and order management causes productivity problems, availability issues and accountability gray areas, which can translate into headaches at the B2B and B2C levels. But there are solutions available now that have arrived only recently. They can form something of a visibility cloak for enterprises, a way of eliminating shadows and saving money in the process.

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Doing more with less: IT challenges in the manufacturing sector

By Lightwell | Thu, Mar 05, 2015

Using technology to save on labor costs and resource expenses is a top investment priority for nearly every company, particularly those in the manufacturing industry. More cost-efficient facilities, automated order management and data-driven customer fulfillment can reduce the amount of money and time that must be poured into these areas. However, in some cases, the increasing use of technology is bringing about a rise in overall IT costs. Many companies have experienced firsthand the issue of a technological innovation that hasn't significantly decreased labor costs or sped up operations, because the staff and resources needed to maintain expansive IT environments ends up outweighing many of the promised benefits.

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Post-holiday supply chain management: Challenges and opportunities

By Lightwell | Tue, Jan 06, 2015

As the holiday season comes to a close, many retailers are looking forward to breathing a sigh of relief. With holiday orders completed and items shipped off, supply chain managers may think their stressors are all out of the way for the year. However, the end of the year - specifically the week between Christmas and New Years - can bring a number of new challenges, as well as some key opportunities.

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Problems in Apple supply chain

By Lori Angalich | Fri, Dec 28, 2012

Supply chains are susceptible to a number of problems or glitches that can occur throughout production and delivery of items. Companies can find themselves in financial trouble when changes and disruptions in operations lead to expensive oversights or miscommunications.

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