Technology Record - Issue 23: Winter 21/22

110 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om F E ATUR E Global pandemic, geopolitical tension, severe weather events – these are just some of the factors disrupting supply chains that once seemed cost effective and reliable. As a result, manufacturing firms are re-examining their strategies for supporting resilient production. “What the pandemic revealed was a clear need for a digitally connected ecosystem with realtime visibility and the removal of silos across functions,” says Indranil Sircar, chief technology officer of manufacturing and supply chain industry at Microsoft. “Rapidly changing markets, demand and supply imbalance, materials and labour shortages and the need for remote working – all while ensuring the health and safety of those onsite – have caused companies to reassess how they can create resiliency in their operations.” As manufacturers step up their investment in cloud, the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and collaboration technologies, they also need to know they can securely analyse, predict and understand behaviour across the entire ecosystem. “Data generated within and outside of organisations – not just in supply chain management systems – is critical to understanding and developing optimisation techniques across the supply chain,” Sircar says. “Any disruption in the supplier base will also interrupt broader supply chain operations, so it’s crucial that companies can predict risks and develop mitigation strategies well in advance of possible issues across the enterprise and the edges – including, for instance, IoT device in warehouses, factories and other facilities.” supply chain Doing Manufacturers are investing in cloud capabilities to create agile, competitive and insightful supply chains. Microsoft’s Indranil Sircar tells us more BY J ACQU I GR I F F I THS differently