Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Infor control centre creates data-driven supply chain

Steve Rogerson
October 3, 2018
New York software company Infor has introduced a control centre to make data-driven supply chain a reality. Using the GT Nexus commerce network, it can help ensure reliability based on end-to-end visibility and prescriptive intelligence.
The aim is to let supply chains be data-driven, self-learning and consistently reliable.
The control centre combines data from the GT Nexus commerce network – a cloud-based, multi-enterprise commerce network for global trade and supply chain management – with Infor's Coleman artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to empower supply chain leaders to break down organisational silos and act at the speed of business.
It delivers end-to-end visibility, with deep data science, to help supply chain staff filter through everyday noise, bring into context the right information for faster decisions, and execute rapidly using predictive and prescriptive intelligence. The control centre's end-to-end visibility, together with its machine learning capabilities, can predict future supply chain issues and help companies react earlier.
Ultimately, the control centre lets enterprises take a step towards self-orchestration of their supply chains by empowering users, automating mundane tasks and delivering network intelligence.
"Supply chain leaders are urgently calling for greater intelligence and insights, delivered earlier and faster to mitigate risk and ensure reliability for customers,” said Rod Johnson, executive vice president at Infor. “The control centre brings reliability and certainty to a world that historically has been volatile and fraught with risk. For the first time, supply chain organisations are empowered to deliver service-level consistency that is a competitive differentiator."
Increasingly, rigorous customer demands require supply chains to operate more proactively. The average supply chain rate of change is 50 times per second on the Infor GT Nexus commerce network. However, current products struggle to deliver timely insights, because of latency, lack of in-network connectivity and the inability to get the right information to supply chain leaders in time. As a result, supply chain staff face data overload and find it hard to access and process data fast enough to take action.
"Inventory visibility across the entire supply network, combined with logistical visibility and deep data science that can spot and predict issues early, are requisite elements of a foundation for proactive supply chain execution,” said Ann Grackin, CEO of ChainLink Research, a specialist in inter-enterprise supply chain research. “In today's fast-moving supply chains, it's not enough to know where inventory resides. Supply chain leaders need advanced visibility and predictive intelligence that informs day-to-day decisions to identify and mitigate potential problems early in the cycle, thereby protecting revenue and maximising margins."
The control centre continuously monitors the flow of products, materials, orders, demand and capital throughout the supply network and separates opportunities from noise. It applies AI and machine learning to understand the context of each opportunity and prescribe the best resolution.
It is built on GT Nexus, which leverages the intelligence of 20 years of global supply chain data across industries. The commerce network is built to orchestrate multi-enterprise processes and flows. Its applications are network-native, and day-to-day execution happens within the network, providing data that are live, accurate and context-rich.
"No other provider offers the data context and trading partner direct connectivity to enable rapid execution that proactively addresses shifts in business conditions," Johnson said.
The centre measures a constant pulse of the supply chain. This is the difference between an in-network application and a stitched-together, hardwired system that delivers visibility that is outdated within seconds. It delivers native data intelligence, which is the foundation of a data-driven supply chain.
It senses network flow through a series of live-control points. Whereas most supply chain systems are configured to rely on a transaction to know there is an issue, such as a stock situation, the control centre runs on dynamic observation. It can sense if things are moving or not moving. It calculates and knows the state of normal, and constantly observes flow movement to recognise pattern shifts.
Even before a problem appears, the system knows that something isn't right and determines if action is necessary. If so, it prescribes action and measures results to learn and improve over time.
"The control centre puts the right information, in-context, for users to deliver optimal decisions that are intelligence-driven," said Johnson.
More than 60,000 businesses across industry verticals, including Adidas, Caterpillar, Columbia Sportswear, DHL, Electrolux, Levi Strauss, Nestlé and Puma, use GT Nexus as their standard, multi-enterprise collaboration platform. This enables all network participants to operate with a core, real-time and always-on set of information across multiple supply chain functions. The platform helps users optimise the flow of goods, funds and trade information, from the point of order through to final payment.