Amazon is adding four new capabilities to its Amazon Web Services Supply Chain in 2024 cloud application to further expand its existing data lake, demand planning and machine learning-powered insights, according to a Nov. 28 press release.
The features aim to support upstream supply chain processes, including supplier orders, material and inventory forecasts, and supplier communications. They also will benefit manufacturers and other customers using raw materials that are “prone to variable pricing and availability,” the company said.
- AWS Supply Chain Supply Planning uses data to help forecast, plan, position, and replenish components and finished goods to reduce inventory costs and quickly respond to demand variations and supply disruptions. This can help determine how many units to order, when to order, and where to position inventory.
- AWS Supply Chain N-Tier Visibility streamlines communication and collaboration between customers and multiple tiers of suppliers to more accurately respond to supply plans and manage demand changes. Customers can share purchase orders and demand forecasts with partners and track the status of those POs or changing inventory levels to help detect possible sourcing risks or shortages.
- AWS Supply Chain Sustainability is a central repository that enables customers to request, collect, and audit sustainability data. Customers can also upload their own data for their suppliers to document any sustainability issues and establish a standardized work flow process for supplier reminders.
- Amazon Q provides a generative AI assistant that can offer a summarized view of key risks around inventory levels, demand variability, and visualizes the tradeoffs between different possible scenarios based on customer queries. The feature can also help identify causal relationships, like fluctuations in demand or supply disruptions, to inform supply chain decision making.
AWS Supply Chain’s new features aim to pool together previously siloed data to help supply planners reduce the time spent reconciling forecasts, order confirmations, shipment quantities, collaborating with suppliers, according to the press release.
“Managing compliance artifacts like carbon emissions and hazardous material disclosures at scale is similarly challenging, and has traditionally been done via email, fax, and messaging apps, without formal tracking and auditing mechanisms,” according to the post.
“As a result, many organizations struggle to ensure appropriate quantities of goods are in the right place at the right time to efficiently meet demand or to meet increasingly stringent regulatory requirements.”
AWS Supply Chain users include global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group, material-handling equipment supplier and rental source Equipment Depot, as well as global energy company Woodside.
“AWS Supply Chain will transform our planning process, improve inventory levels, and increase our ability to make data-driven supply decisions,” Joakim Langkaas, director of operations at Equipment Depot, said in the release. “Demand Planning, Supply Planning, and Insights will anticipate low inventory and original equipment manufacturer delays, and provide real-time recommendations to increase speed of service, improve customer experience, and decrease equipment downtime.”
AWS Supply Chain was initially launched in November 2022 to help boost visibility and pool data into a centralized “supply chain data late” that shares and stores the information in real time.
Cloud applications and other technology solutions have been on the rise as companies look to leverage forecasting and AI benefits to make more informed supply chain decisions. Microsoft, for instance, recently added new capabilities to its Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management product which also uses artificial intelligence and machine learning models to predict and respond to demand shifts.