Improving Supply Chain Resiliency with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Aug 09, 2021

After more than a year of global supply chain disruption­­­–COVID-19, the Suez Canal blockage, severe weather in Texas, and microchip shortages, among others—smart middle market companies are re-thinking their supply chain strategies and looking for a more modern, data-driven approach.

The primary driver behind the disruption was the lack of a reliable workforce caused by mandated shutdowns, illness and worker concerns. At the same time, two trends that have dominated supply chain management over the past several decades were contributing factors.
The first is lean manufacturing, which relies on just-in-time inventory management. The second is globalization, which sent manufacturers on a world-wide search for the lowest possible costs.

While highly efficient in stable times, both of these trends have made supply chains highly vulnerable to disruption, leaving manufacturers around the globe to re-think decades of strategy. They realize that new models must account for the growing risk of disruption in the most cost-effective manner possible.

But how? 

The path toward supply chain resilience

It has become clear that supply chains need to be efficient and resilient. Resilience boils down to reliability–ensuring that supply chains are shielded from disruption and speed–the ability to pivot quickly to changes in demand and/or supply. Smart manufacturers are looking at dual sourcing, that is, using two suppliers for a component, raw material, product or service, as well as near-shoring and other strategies to choose suppliers closer to areas of demand or located in regions with reduced political and geographic risk.

But these important steps are just the beginning. Manufacturers also need a technology platform that supports efficient supply chain management with end-to-end visibility and data sharing among multiple purpose-built applications.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 fits the bill.

Visibility. Key to any supply chain strategy success is visibility across the value chain, from supplier operations on through customer behavior. Siloed solutions, a lack of connectivity with suppliers and limited demand data has manufacturers operating blind.

A modern cloud-based enterprise platform like Microsoft Dynamics 365 can improve supply visibility with real-time data from suppliers, transportation, inventory and shop floor. It can improve forecast accuracy with advanced analytics capable of processing huge volumes of rich customer behavior and market data.

Integration. This level of data visibility requires a high degree of integration across multiple systems to avoid manual processes and data duplication. Microsoft Dynamics 365 can serve as a powerful data-sharing platform that connects critical applications such as transportation management or warehouse management. It can also drive customer-facing systems such as CRM and e-commerce to open new business models such as direct-to-consumer. 

Unchain your supply chain with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a powerful cloud-based business platform that combines components of customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) with productivity applications, low-code customization capabilities and artificial intelligence (AI) tools.

The Dynamics 365 platform runs an integrated set of applications that cover sales, marketing, customer service, field service, finance, supply chain management, project operations, human resources and e-commerce while also providing out-of-the-box connectivity to leading third-party applications in every area of business.

Dynamics 365’s built-in supply chain capabilities empower your organization to:

  • Accelerate time to market and resolve quality issues. Gain a competitive advantage by centrally managing product information across global sites and subsidiaries. Empower customers to easily customize their orders.  Provide a platform for engineers to effectively collaborate with planners in the manufacturing process. Ensure efficient production lines by effectively managing product revisions and predicting and resolving quality issues with engineering change management.
  • Gain planning agility to fulfill customer demand. Use AI-enriched demand forecasting, scenario planning and streamlined sales and operations planning for on-time delivery to customers with the right product. Plan production and distribution in near-real time with in-memory services, helping to ensure that the right inventory is in the right place at the right time. Automate and streamline production scheduling and resource allocation while minimizing overtime and improving equipment utilization.

There are a number of actions a middle market company can take to insulate its supply chain from disruption, but without true digital transformation, these solutions will be short-lived. RSM can help you transform demand forecasting into demand planning and shaping.

You’ll be able to plan scenarios and simulations to help you create a more automated supply chain that reduces friction and touch-points.

You can even leverage Dynamics 365 to create new, profit-generating business models thanks to its flexible scalability, connectivity and intelligent automation, as well as an always-up-to-date cloud architecture that doesn’t require routine maintenance by your IT team.