Microsoft aiming to combat global supply chain disruptions with new initiative

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What you need to know

  • Ongoing supply chain disruptions around the world are affecting the availability of products in various industries.
  • On Monday, Microsoft announced the Supply Chain Platform, an initiative to help combat these disruptions.
  • The Supply Chain Platform leverages AI and machine learning, Microsoft Azure, Dynamics 365, and more to provide a plethora of tools to companies.
  • The service aims to support companies in intelligently avoiding disruptions with agility and sustainability.

Multiple industries have experienced tumultuous seasons in years past, due to cascading effects leading to supply chain disruptions and difficulties. Effectively and efficiently managing a supply chain from end-to-end is vital for any company, but it's also a monumental task that requires peerless communication, foresight, and a constant overview of an absurd amount of data. On Monday, Microsoft announced its latest enterprise-centric service to aid companies with all of this and more.

The Microsoft Supply Chain Platform (opens in new tab) leverages AI and machine learning capabilities, Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure, data management and syncing, Dynamics 365 tools and resources, Microsoft Teams communications, and more to help companies be smarter, more agile, and more sustainable when managing their supply chains. In addition to combining and elevating various services Microsoft already offers to its partners, the Supply Chain Platform is also backed by the Supply Chain Center at its core, which will make it significantly easier for partners to use the initiative's various resources alongside their existing supply chain systems.

Companies like Kraft-Heinz and FedEx, which are launch partners for Microsoft's latest service, will be able sync and manage all of the data for their supply chain from one system, without fear of outdated reports or missing information. Advanced AI will be able to predict upcoming disruptions, constraints, and shortages using historical data, current events, and simulations. Volume orders and supply chain tasks can be automated to avoid oversight. Teams can be used to confer with suppliers and partners with ease. Supply Chain Platform partners can create custom supply chain solutions for customers, while modules can integrate existing custom solutions into the wider platform.

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The Supply Chain Platform aims to alleviate the consequences of lapsed communication, incomplete data, simple human error, and the layered effects of outdated systems running on top of outdated systems. When considering the complexity of supply chains, even the smallest mistake can lead to cascading consequences down the line, resulting in shortages, delays, and more. Microsoft's latest services wants to empower companies using existing Microsoft technologies to be more efficient and intelligent.

The initiative also takes into account sustainability, with customers able to leverage the platform to make decisions on more efficient routing and transportation, more sustainable package and processes, automation for warehouses and transportation, better product sourcing, and more. Microsoft is continuing to focus heavily on sustainability and productivity, as outlined by CEO Satya Nadella, and the Supply Chain Platform continues to lean into that objective.

The Supply Chain Center is now entering preview with Microsoft's partners, and will likely roll out to more companies over the coming months and years. Managing supply chains has long been one of the greatest challenges facing companies, and the Supply Chain Platform will, hopefully, reduce the hardship of that challenge. Ordering that new Windows laptop could be easier and more painless, should Microsoft succeed in its goal.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer primarily focused on covering the latest news, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life, and have been with Windows Central and its sister sites since 2019. While originally brought on to write about all things Minecraft, Zachary has since expanded to write about practically everything that Windows Central covers. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.