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The Intelligent Enterprise and the Digital Supply Chain of One

SAPinsider, Volume 20, Issue 1

October 22, 2018

This third article in a series of five on the Intelligent Enterprise shows how apps and extensions to SAP Cloud Platform can benefit vendors building solutions and products to help their customers optimize their manufacturing and supply chain operations.

Manufacturers taking advantage of the latest technological advances are using the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and augmented reality to transform their businesses more rapidly and quickly turn ideas into innovations that give them a competitive edge. The cloud is the key to taking advantage of this window of opportunity for transforming the manufacturing and supply chain. Vendors building solutions and products are using the digital and supply chain capabilities provided by the Intelligent Enterprise to optimize manufacturing and supply chain operations.

For example, In Mind Cloud, a provider of manufacturing sales platforms, helps companies do away with the siloed data practices that prevent sales teams from providing accurate and fast quotes to customers. Using SAP Cloud Platform and the data capabilities of SAP HANA, In Mind Cloud CPQ Express transforms the configure, price, and quote process (CPQ) so sales teams can keep up with the speed of the smart factory technology revolution. In Mind Cloud technology connects back-end data such as production costs and margins with live data about the specific requirements of the customer, resulting in a quote that is competitive, yet profitable for the company. This integrated approach to data is especially useful in creating quotes for the complex and customized products that are the goal of the digital supply chain of one.

Minuteman International, a leading manufacturer of cleaning equipment ranging from auto scrubbers to carpet vacuums, wanted to optimize its supply chain and expedite partial orders. It implemented a supply chain analytics solution, the oVo Lighthouse app from Reveal on SAP Cloud Platform. Employees now can make quicker and more accurate supply chain decisions, and the company was able to reduce inventory by 34 percent within nine months, while at the same time keeping its dealers happy. 

Customer-First Approach

The Intelligent Enterprise enables the move from mass production to a customer-first, mass-customization approach, from selling products to providing end-to-end services, and from employees performing repetitive tasks to orchestrating value-added processes and managing exceptions.

SAP’s concept of “the supply chain of one” places the customer as the starting point for the differentiation of products that are tailored to its needs. The former engineer-to-order process for single customers, which was not cost-effective for many products, is replaced with mass customization, providing new revenue opportunities. Machines take over rote actions from employees and monitor themselves for needed maintenance, freeing staff.

The digital capabilities of SAP Leonardo allow companies to move to new business models, such as changing from the one-time selling of a product to selling by subscription to open up an aftermarket. Invoicing for consumption changes the customer expenditure from a capital to an operating expense, providing a continuous revenue flow.

And throughout the manufacturing and supply chain processes, apps built on SAP Data Network provide data visibility and transparency to customers, delivering analytics from live data to fuel innovation. Embedded analytics are accessible to all levels of expertise, including business users, who can follow guided workflows to obtain predictive insights.

Sentiment analysis, predictive processes, automation, visibility, and increased collaboration among the manufacturer, suppliers, and go-to-market partners are among the benefits provided by their use of the extensions. For example, companies have provided better access to sales information and transactions to their sales teams, compiled data from social media channels to access consumer feedback, eased customers’ online experience by giving them access to online booking, and standardized planning processes, leading to improved execution of projects.

For more examples of partners that are innovating in the manufacturing and supply chain space, visit Additional SAP PartnerEdge Build information can be found here or by following @SAPPartnerBuild

For other articles in this series go to:

The Intelligent Enterprise and the Workforce of the Future

The SAP Customer Experience and Connecting with Purpose

Transforming Business in the Era of Intelligence

Data is the Key to the Intelligent Enterprise

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