Your Guide Microsoft Copilot for Supply Chain Management

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    Given the challenging state of today’s global supply chains and the fast-moving digital landscape, it makes sense that more supply chain leaders now see AI as more than just a smart solution. They know their survival could depend on it, and it’s here to stay.

    IBM recently surveyed more than 1,600 Chief Operating Officers (COOs), Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) and executives of product development, procurement, and manufacturing about their current views on AI and cognitive computing, their priorities, and the value that they expect to derive. Out of the 1,600, IBM identified a group of more than 700 outperformers with stronger financial performance than their peers. These companies, across many industries, report annual revenue growth and profit increases of more than five percent over the past three years. Eighty-eight percent of the highest-performing organizations surveyed report that AI is inevitable in their industry. Among those polled, fully 95 percent of the highest-performing organizations see AI as central to their innovation success.

    COOs and CSCOs are looking to AI and cognitive computing to resolve many of their end-to-end supply chain process challenges, and financial outperformers are investing in AI even more.

    How is AI Transforming Supply Chain Management?

    According to a recent Forbes article, companies that are quick to implement AI for supplier discovery and intelligence should be the ones that flourish in the future. The ones that don’t are in danger of drifting into a long-term AI disadvantage. Implementing AI in the supply chain allows for progress in these five areas:

    1. Actionable Insights: Although organizations have invested millions of dollars in data and business intelligence systems, many of these solutions don’t talk to each other—resulting in a fragmented data landscape. Procurement professionals still don’t have the insights needed to make timely decisions, particularly in times of supply chain disruption. AI can process vast amounts of data to establish patterns and predict implications light years ahead of what humans are capable of.
    2. More Informed Decision-Making: AI can make predictions and recommendations on the best actions to take to improve supply chain performance and resilience. Since AI is always learning, it can continuously improve over time, resulting in better recommendations as conditions fluctuate.
    3. End-To-End Visibility: As global supply chains grow ever more complex, AI can carry out constant data crawling to create a single data layer that shows cause and effect, where potential bottlenecks might be lurking and areas for improvement—and all of this with data that is pretty much real time.
    4. Reducing Manual Labor: Procurement professionals spend innumerable hours gathering data from disconnected systems and outmoded technologies like spreadsheets to make plans. In today’s fast-changing world, there’s simply too much data, too many systems and too many unknowns to consider. AI can take some of the time-consuming weight off procurement teams’ shoulders.
    5. Staff Augmentation: Especially with our current widespread labor shortage and predicted smaller workforce once the Baby Boomers retire, AI can help combat the labor shortage and enhance workforce performance by augmenting human talent. AI can also enhance employees’ abilities to complete tasks faster.

    How Organizations Can Adopt AI In Their Supply Chains

    AI-assisted supply-chain analysis may open possibilities no one could have imagined before, yielding creative new insights and strategies that existing procedures could not reveal. But where do you start? Here are some ways you can jump in.

    • Examine the best cases in your industry to establish if, and where, AI makes sense for your organization.
    • Stay up to date on the best practices for using AI technology, get cross-disciplinary teams involved in strategic planning and seek external expert support if needed.
    • Help employees understand the advantages and disadvantages of AI technology as well as how to assess it against the company’s business, values, and strategy.
    • Track and report progress over time to provide openness on adoption and levels of success.

    More than anything else, think about the ways in which AI can automate the dull, menial, and transactional work that consumes an enormous amount of low value add time for your supply chain professionals. Far from eliminating human value, AI elevates the role of people and empowers them to run the business on a predictive, proactive, and forward-looking basis to increase operational efficiency.

    Microsoft’s Response to AI in the Supply Chain

    With Dynamics 365 Copilot, Microsoft introduced the world’s first AI copilot natively built-in to both CRM and ERP applications. Integrating the power of large language models (LLMs) directly into the productivity applications you work with regularly, Microsoft empowers employees and organizations to reimage what it means to be productive. In addition, by allowing AI to streamline tedious tasks, Copilot will enable your workforce to be more strategic, creative, and profitable.

    Copilot brings tasks and next-generation AI capabilities and natural language processing to Dynamics 365, working alongside business professionals to help them create ideas and content faster, complete time-consuming tasks, and gain insights and next best actions—just by describing what’s needed. The business value of Copilot is that you can further unlock the potential of ERP by bringing together data and AI to reduce time spent on unfulfilling tasks and accelerate the speed of execution and business outcomes.

    We recently published a series of Blogs covering Microsoft Copilot abilities for supply chain management. We’ve rounded them up here in a guide to Microsoft Copilot for Supply Chain.

    Copilot for Inventory Optimization

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 Copilot offers CSCOs and other supply chain professionals something new: artificial intelligence (AI) designed to be the perfect supply chain assistant. This innovation can:

    • Mitigate risk
    • Provide in-depth analysis and predictive insights
    • Handle some communications, such as sending vendors alerts

    Copilot can help inventory managers optimize their inventory levels by providing forecasts and alerts based on demand patterns, seasonality factors, and supply chain constraints. It can also generate purchase orders and replenishment plans based on inventory data and vendor information. Copilot will suggest relevant vendors, items, and prices. This can help users complete tasks more efficiently and accurately.

    Boost Visibility into your Supply Chain with AI

    In recent years, many businesses discovered that their current supply chain technologies are ill-equipped for an environment characterized by ongoing disruptions, constraints, and shortages. AI-enabled supply chain management can provide unprecedented visibility and insights, helping to solve disruptions before they happen.

    New Copilot capabilities for Microsoft Supply Chain Center, available to Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management customers, better predict and act on disruptions that occur across suppliers, weather, and geographies. Copilot uses up-to-the-minute intelligence from the news module to proactively flag external issues such as weather, financial, and geo-political news that may impact key supply chain processes. Predictive insights surface impacted orders across materials, inventory, carrier, distribution network, and more.

    Copilot turns these insights into action with contextual email outreach generated by Azure OpenAI Service to help solve problems in real-time. With a custom and contextual reply, supply chain managers can save time and collaborate with impacted suppliers to quickly identify new ETAs and re-route purchase orders based on an identified disruption, like a weather event. They can also fulfill high-priority customer orders via an alternate distribution center to ensure they can meet customer demand in full and on time.

    How Microsoft Copilot Helps with Supply Chain Risk Assessment

    Supply chain managers can use Copilot within Microsoft’s Supply Chain Center platform to track potential risks such as weather, and then generate predictive insights. Once Copilot flags an external risk, supply chain planners can then draft an email to suppliers using AI to send alerts and mitigate potential disruptions.

    First, the AI algorithm scans news articles and takes other steps to identify any potential risk that may impact suppliers or partners across a network, such as geopolitical or financial risk. From there, an AI-drafted message can be sent to suppliers asking whether they expect any disruption and to confirm if purchase orders will be impacted. For example, if there’s a weather event in the Pacific Northwest, AI will determine which of your suppliers and customers will be affected and will generate an email for you alerting all affected parties. You simply review the email and click send.

    Copilot Supplier Relationship Management

    Copilot improves communication, data entry, note taking, and content generation so that it improves aspects of all your business applications.

    Copilot in Dynamics 365 offers tools to simplify numerous tedious and time-consuming processes using natural language. Having clear records of emails and calls with suppliers is essential for customer satisfaction and maintaining customer relationships. Those records also contain information and data that can offer valuable insights into your overall business.

    One example is the ability of the software to monitor news that may impact key supply chain processes, such as weather events, and automatically send alerts to vendors and partners that may be affected. All you need to do is review the email and click send.

    How Microsoft Copilot Helps with Supply Chain Traceability

    When paired with Copilot, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management becomes even more powerful. Copilot makes it possible for users to efficiently handle large amounts of changes to purchase orders, assess the impact and risk of those changes, and optimize sourcing decisions. Using a conversational chat experience, supply chain managers can ask Copilot to trace products, discover resolutions, and summarize draft responses to suppliers with the right tone—across all communication channels. With a custom and contextual reply, supply chain managers can save time and collaborate with impacted suppliers to quickly identify new product ETAs and re-route purchase orders based on an identified disruption or product recall.

    Imagine you are a food or drug manufacturer, and you need to recall a product quickly. Without a second to spare, you can ask Copilot to track their products’ journey from the point of origin to the destination, and the system will pull up a list and even draft an email for you to send to suppliers, so they are informed of the risk. Products in route can be cancelled and returned to you. And Copilot continues to evolve over time based on your prompts and changes to the emails, and more.

    Let Velosio Be Your Copilot

    Velosio is here to help you navigate Copilot, explore its capabilities, and maximize its value to your organization. We’re leveraging our elite status with Microsoft and deep AI and supply chain expertise to stay out in front of the technology and help you better understand its capabilities and how to incorporate them into your business. Our experienced consultants can answer your questions, provide in-depth demonstrations, and help you discover how this powerful tool can transform your business.

    Don’t miss this opportunity to take your organization to the next level. Contact Velosio today to learn how Microsoft Copilot can take your supply chain operation to the next level.