Everyone agrees that, in today’s volatile business environment, supply chains need to be digitized — connected in real time, and fed by shared data — to identify exceptions, define intelligent resolutions, and maximize both cost and service outcomes. Meeting these requirements isn’t possible without rich data, and data isn’t useful without a robust data infrastructure, as well as the tools to use it. Digitalization has become an imperative, a cost of doing business in today’s fast-moving omni-channel world.

For years, Blue Yonder has partnered with Microsoft Azure to support real-time, end-to-end connectivity and data-sharing across the supply chain. Blue Yonder’s Luminate(R) Cognitive Platform  — built exclusively on Microsoft Azure — is the industry’s first intelligence-enriched, integrated technology platform that spans supply chain, retail planning, logistics, and delivery in one end-to-end solution. Together, we’re empowering customers to enhance their supply chain with industry-leading artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities, prescriptive recommendations, a single data model and workflow-driven user experiences.

Today, Blue Yonder and Microsoft are working together to redefine the foundational concept of digitalization by helping companies reimagine their supply chains to make them more intelligent, more resilient, and more sustainable. We’re collaborating to make it easier than ever for companies to access real-time data and combine it with advanced technologies like AI, ML and virtual reality (VR) to truly visualize and optimize their supply chain. Leveraging advanced technology and best practices, we’re making it possible for our customers to fulfill purchases instantly, manufacture just-in-time, and adjust supply in response to global events – faster and at scale.

If you watched Mark Kurtz’s presentation at ICON Las Vegas, you got a preview of the kinds of dramatic innovations Blue Yonder and Microsoft are focusing on. While both companies are established leaders, they operate with a startup mentality by constantly looking for new ways to add value and set the bar higher for supply chain optimization. They’re moving fast to not just keep up with innovation, but to lead it. They’re investing billions of dollars to identify and apply incredibly advanced technologies to practical problems across the supply chain.

Taking Real-Time Visibility to the Next Level

Modern supply chains span thousands of miles, involve dozens or even hundreds of partners, and are fraught with risk. If something goes wrong at any node in the extended supply network, it can wreak havoc with plans, profit margins and customer promises. The events of the past several years have clearly revealed the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of the world’s supply chains.

Gaining real-time visibility across this complex, geographically diverse network may seem impossible. But today’s easy access to data places real-time, end-to-end visibility within the reach of every company. Point-of-sale information in retail settings, sensors mounted on factory equipment, mobile devices being used in the warehouse, GPS systems installed in trucks — across the supply chain, real-time data is being generated every second of every day.

Blue Yonder and Microsoft make this data both accessible and actionable for humans and AI-enabled optimization engines, empowering customers to simulate market conditions and make more informed decisions faster with actionable insights at their fingertips. By infusing real-time, end-to-end data with advanced intelligence and sharing it across a cloud platform, we’re not just connecting supply chains — we’re empowering them to deliver exceptional customer experiences, meet financial targets and operate at peak performance, all the time.

A Case in Point: Nestlé Purina Petcare

How exactly are Blue Yonder and Microsoft collaborating to redefine digitalization for our joint customers?

A great example is Nestlé Purina Petcare, which recently presented at Microsoft Inspire 2023 alongside Blue Yonder. Nestlé Purina Petcare is leveraging category management solutions from Blue Yonder, a cloud-based data platform from Microsoft, and 3D virtual reality capabilities from 3DVR Solutions to bring planograms and retail shelves to life for its customers. With this powerful technology, Nestlé Purina Petcare sets shelves in a virtual environment, shares that 3D landscape with customers, and then physically implements the approved plan by moving products accordingly. Inventory, transportation assets and store resources aren’t invested until plans are agreed on by all stakeholders.

Nestlé Purina Petcare can easily impact and manipulate the shelf in real time, customizing assortments for local demand and evolving consumer needs. It’s the kind of leapfrog innovation that’s changing the commerce landscape through digitalization — and it’s enabled by the Blue Yonder-Microsoft partnership.

Imagine the Possibilities

There are many other practical supply chain problems that can be solved via the application of next-generation technologies, including sustainability. AI-enabled engines can be tuned to source products from only ethical, sustainable sources, as well as make decisions that minimize waste, emissions, and other impacts. The real-time connected supply chain makes it easy to trace, track, monitor, and document the sustainability of every action.

Labor shortages, strikes and other workforce issues can be autonomously managed by AI-powered optimization engines that create new schedules in real-time, supplement human labor with robotics, and execute other corrective actions. Blue Yonder’s powerful workforce management solution is now fully integrated with Microsoft Azure, delivering labor planning, mobility, scheduling, and compliance capabilities via the enhanced, intelligent cloud platform to optimize productivity and staffing costs while driving engagement and employee retention.

These are just a few examples of the kind of dynamic, innovative solutions we’re working on as we identify and address the real-world needs of our mutual customers.

A Powerful, Proven Partnership

How committed are Blue Yonder and Microsoft to their joint partnership? Microsoft just named Blue Yonder a winner of the Global Retail & Consumer Goods Partner of the Year Award and a finalist of the Global Independent Software Vendor (ISV) 2023 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award. During the companies’ six-year partnership, Blue Yonder has been a winner or finalist in this awards program nearly every year.

Blue Yonder’s collaboration with Microsoft has been successful for a simple reason: It generates value and makes good business sense for our joint customers. By leveraging the strengths of each company, we’ve delivered some incredible results for our customers — and we’re just getting started. From leveraging cutting-edge technologies like AI, ML and VR to creating real-time, end-to-end supply chain visibility, Blue Yonder and Microsoft are driving innovation — and redefining supply chain digitalization – to help our customers build intelligent, resilient and sustainable supply chains.