Cloud-ing it better

What are the latest technology trends that will benefit supply chain?
There are five key technologies to watch out for. In today’s IT world, cloud is ubiquitous. Software is shifting rapidly to a software as a service (SaaS) paradigm. Supply chain software is no different. A rapid adoption of cloud technologies, both from software vendors and the market, would lead to faster delivery of innovations, agility in reacting to change, and a reduction in TCO (total cost of ownership), which is critical for the Indian market.
Internet of Things (IoT) will potentially have numerous applications in the supply chain, especially in logistics. Starting with integrated transportation and warehouse management solutions with sensors connected in vehicles to containers and warehouses over a network will allow these systems to work on real-time data and take action accordingly. 
An enormous amount of data is being captured every day by supply chain softwares: inventories, demand, supply, shipments and fashion trends. A significant competitive advantage for a company will be to analyse this data and make business decisions based on identified patterns. Pre-determined reports and dashboards are being exported from the database, but there are so many market insights and trends that can still be provided by analysis of big data. Currently, many supply chain solutions can understand patterns and predict future events. Combining these capabilities with advanced ML and AI will lead to what we call the autonomous supply chain. ML and AI can potentially revolutionise end-to-end supply chain processes with the ability to automate decision making, reinvent business models and ecosystems and even reimagine the entire customer experience. Today, information and communication technologies such as tagging, geolocation and blockchain are evolving to provide real time tracking of items within a pallet and determine its place of origin in a trusted process. With sensors and tagging technologies becoming affordable, manufacturers have also started to adopt these solutions that allow them to track goods in both inbound and outbound logistics in real time. 
Decentralised supply chain functions such as smart contracts or traceability and authentication are prime candidates where blockchain can be used potentially.



To what extent predictive analytics has been successful in businesses? 
Predictive analytics is very useful in efficient demand forecasting, based on past and prevailing trends. With a clear picture, manufacturers, retailers and warehouse operators can maintain optimal inventories and eliminate stock outs and over stocking. Pricing and promotions management also benefit from using predictive analytics.
We use IoT, ML and AI across all solution areas. For instance, we take shoppers’ insight, apply data science to target customers better, providing the right product at the right time at the right price. We have control tower software to gather relevant social, news, events and weather data. The demand and supply planning software can use this data to forecast intelligently. This results in both cost saving and reduced environmental impact. 


What is the future of digital supply chain space? How relevant or transformative will it be for India?
It is seen how the traditional supply chain is project-driven and run in silos. However, today many supply chain companies are focused on transforming traditional supply chains to an operating model that is end-to-end cross functional, enabled by technologies like IoT, Cloud, AI, and ML. 
Digital transformation is taking place in India at a faster pace than ever before with disruptive technologies blurring industry boundaries. Automation is increasing at all levels, leading to better market forecasts, better and faster delivery, smart manufacturing and preventive maintenance, besides providing a complete visibility or view of the entire supply chain. India is leapfrogging in terms of technology driven by digital transformation among other key drivers. 
JDA’s recent acquisition, Blue Yonder is the market leader in artificial intelligence solutions for retail and supply chain. Customers across vertical industries will be able to leverage a first of its kind end-to-end supply chain solution with AI/ML intelligence built-in that enables them to better plan, analyse, execute and deliver across their operations on a cognitive, connected platform.
How has been JDA’s journey in India so far? 
In the last 30 years, JDA has invested in supply chain and retail merchandising solutions. JDA’s Centres of Excellence are located in Mexico, Poland, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The Indian centres account for a large part of the global workforce of JDA with over 2,000 professionals. The development team in India significantly supports both the core and emerging product portfolios of the firm. The teams based out of these centres anchor several aspects of supply chain planning, execution and retail solutions, mobility, cognitive demand, and supports cloud operations and all its products. 


What are the new solutions on offer from JDA for the Indian market?
The company is extending capabilities by embedding digital edge technologies such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and advanced analytics within supply chain functions. The three areas in which the company mainly operates such as manufacturing, third party logistics, and retail, are growing rapidly in India. 
However, their requirements are different, with retailers focused on consumer insight, manufacturers focused on cognitive demand and planning using things like weather and social networking data, while third party logistics companies are focused on IoT and big data. Data analytics and cognitive algorithms can help Indian companies completely transform their capabilities. There is a lot of research and innovation taking place in this field globally that Indian companies can easily adopt and transform. The company’s SaaS based offering allows businesses to pilot and then rollout. It aligns with the preferred buying behavior of try-before-you-buy that we usually see. It also allows businesses to experiment with many use cases and ideas and to discover success or failure faster.
 JDA Luminate is a new product offering a SaaS and Edge applications across supply chain, retail planning, execution and delivery areas. For example, JDA Luminate ControlTower builds upon real-time visibility across the extended supply chain, enabling cognitive insights across planning and execution; collaboration across multiple enterprises, combined with machine learning based prescriptive 
issue resolution. This in association with offerings such as Luminate Demand, Luminate Supply, Luminate Strategic Planning, Luminate Factory, Luminate Warehouse, Luminate Transport, Luminate Store Optimiser, and Luminate Assortment stengthen our vision of powering the next-generation supply chain. As one can predict, innovation will drive this shift toward the digital supply chain transformation. 

Assistant Editor