Technology Record - Issue 23: Winter 21/22

112 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om F E ATUR E Crucially, these tools have the empowerment of people at their heart. “Organisations across the supply chain were already battling talent and skills shortages and now they face the challenge of supporting new ways of working too,” Sircar says. “Remote working and the remote management of operations are the new reality introduced by the pandemic. That brings a need for seamless collaboration between remote teams and frontline workers who need to be on site. Solutions like the Microsoft Viva employee experience platform and the Loop flexible canvas app bring that capability, supporting the workforce while enabling remote management of operations.” As they establish new ways of working, companies must also identify skills gaps and reskill their workforce. “As new digital technologies are introduced, frontline workers need tools that help them to work more effectively,” Sircar says. “Companies are supporting this development with cloud-based capabilities like Microsoft 365 for Frontline Workers, virtual reality and mixed reality training tools, and AI-based knowledge management and bot capabilities that assist their people. Microsoft Power Platform allows end users to build apps in a low-code/no-code environment, and that’s empowering worker across the supply chain. And tools like Dynamics 365 HR and LinkedIn are helping companies to attract and manage new talent.” People, planning, analysis, risk management, intelligence – today’s supply chains must integrate all these areas and more if they are to provide the agility and resilience for competitive business. Microsoft’s continued investment in the industry’s transformation continues to accelerate the shift towards that connected ecosystem. It’s an investment in a community of industry expertise, as well as a suite of technology solutions. “With a vast cloud-native partner ecosystem covering the spectrum of supply chain management functionality, Microsoft can provide the widest choice of capabilities to its customers,” Sircar says. “Our customers are making long-term investments in a platform that will support their business today and in the future. We’re already seeing digitally connected supply chains with real-time insights contributing to sustainability requirements like carbon reduction, for instance. As companies seek to develop circular economy models across design, manufacturing, distribution and reuse of materials, these capabilities will have an even bigger part to play.” Syed Fahad Vice President of Industry Solutions at Quisitive “Quisitive’s MazikThings MES solution leverages Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform to bring digital transformation to manufacturing companies through a secure, scalable, connected solution. This technology integrates seamlessly to other business applications to connect data, machines and people to promote an intelligent order management system. Through a connected factory that shares information with real-time visibility on order status, inventory and shop floor metrics, it promotes supply chain insights to help businesses make proactive customer-centric decisions to meet customer demands and changing expectations. Through remote internet of things management, efficiency and productivity are improved with real-time monitoring. Machine-tomachine cloud platform integration analyses data and generates trend reports. Asset management tools track fleet departures and arrival times to ensure cargo deliverables. MazikThings, built on Microsoft Azure cloud, provides operational resiliency and enables always-on service for the customer ’s internal stakeholders and their end-user customers.” Cloud capabilities are enabling manufacturers to transform their supply chain strategy and develop vital workforce skills. We asked a selection of Microsoft partners and analysts how cloud technologies are helping companies to grow competitive and resilient supply chains Partner perspectives