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CE & Appliance Distributors To Get Supply Chain Help From Microsoft

Microsoft is looking to muscle in on the local distribution scene with new software that delivers better tracking of goods and supply chain data for both retailers and distributors.

By combining data from its own programs and tools from rivals such as SAP and Oracle Microsoft are looking to fix logistical problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and local disasters such as flooding interruptions to the supply chain.

Microsoft has released a preview, which delivers centralised intelligence of information from customers’ existing applications, from Microsoft and other vendors all into one window.

Bloomberg claims that Microsoft’s supply-and-demand insights modules will use artificial intelligence to predict shortages and supply constraints, while a tool for order management will help local retailers get on top of orders

The software integrates with Microsoft’s Teams chat and conferencing software to ease communication with outside suppliers and will include features and services from partners such as FedEx and DHL.

From consumer electronics, appliances, and game consoles, supply-chain snags have upended industries around the world since 2020, costing companies billions in lost revenue.

Microsoft claims that this has accelerated the demand for a better way to track which goods are likely to be in short supply, and when — and how to plan around the challenges.

Many companies, especially in the consumer electronics industry, were badly caught out by their lack of insight into the supply chain, particularly of fundamental components such as semiconductors.

“The business need has honestly probably never been as acute as it is right now,” Charles Lamanna, a Microsoft vice president, said in an interview. “Everything is kind of changing and that’s the state of global trade.”

Locally distributors are reporting that the cost of freight is falling however there appears to still be problems in the supply chain due to factory closures in China.

Supply chains that are considered “resilient” aren’t as flexible as they seem, he said.

That’s because companies often think they have been careful to procure from more than one supplier, only to discover that further down the chain several vendors are also relying on the same piece of equipment or goods that are delayed, Lamanna said.

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