Blue Yonder’s Chief Product Officer Shares Insights Into Innovative Solutions to Revolutionize Your Supply Chain Performance
Following ICON 2023 in Las Vegas, Blue Yonder’s Chief Product Officer Gurdip Singh shared the key product innovation takeaways from the event during a Blue Yonder Live session. He shared his views on how to apply innovations to solve deep-rooted supply chain challenges and insights into the $1 billion investment in research and development. With ICON London a few short weeks away, we thought we would recap his conversation. Here is Part 1 of the conversation.
Market Opportunities That Motivate Significant Investments
Terence: To enable customers to take supply chain and business performance to the next level and tackle disruptions, Blue Yonder is investing $1 billion over the next three years. What are the key market opportunities that would motivate this significant spending?
Gurdip: Our company’s goal is to become the supply chain operating system for the world. What this investment does for us is accelerate that journey. Supply chain is truly having its zeitgeist moment.
If there was ever a time when uncertainty ruled the world, it is now. I will just name three reasons. First and foremost, the geopolitical situation has never been more unstable. We all lived through COVID-19 over the last few years. In addition, there is instability in the financial marketplace. This instability is causing uncertainty, as well as impacting the entire supply chain,
Second, the role of e-commerce in changing what supply chain is expected to support. This has been going on for about a decade and in many ways accelerated in certain industries and in certain geographies. For the longest time, people thought it was just the front end of e-commerce that was important. Many businesses over the last decade have realized that fulfillment of the customer order ultimately is what this game is about. E-commerce has become a major factor influencing how many of our customers are now trying to think about their supply chain.
Finally, increasingly important is the role that sustainability has come to play in changing what is expected of the supply chain. Two to three decades ago, supply chains were all about achieving the lowest cost and there was not that much attention paid to sustainability. Today, many of our customers are honed-in on this aspect.
Terence: Please share with us some examples about the impact to the supply chain.
Gurdip: With fundamental changes resulting from the three reasons I mentioned, a key set of assumptions has changed:
- What used to be static in the supply chain such as the flow of information and long lead times are all history.
- It is no longer okay for an event to occur and there to be significant latency before a supply chain is able to respond to it.
- The thinking that it is acceptable to have a bad cycle that may take place every few hours or perhaps even once a day – it isn’t acceptable anymore.
- The fundamental aspects of flow paths, lead times, constraints, execution capacity – be it in the warehouse or in the logistics center – are all unknown.
Supply Chain Operating System
Terence: What is our path going forward to help customers continue to perform well?
Gurdip: The Blue Yonder goal is to become the supply chain operating system for the world. The $1 billion investment allows us to bring a whole new class of cognitive applications on top of a ubiquitous cloud native data platform. These applications are not just predictive in nature but are leveraging the true capabilities of a cloud native, multi-tenant service to bring infinite intelligence to bear. Then we will marry it to a truly revolutionary user experience that is powered by Large Language Models and generative AI.
Terence: What is the approach?
Gurdip: The approach is to have a combination of platform and domain services that, when combined, can deliver a composable set of solutions for a given industry. The platform is not a monolithic one; rather, the platform is a collection of services tied to data experience and extensibility.
The domain business services are, for example, order, inventory, load building forecast, cross stock, and flow through. When they get deployed at a customer, it is the platform – together with the domain services – that are preconfigured or pre-engineered for the particular industry needs. The added advantage is that you can now extend it to meet specific nuances even within a given sub-industry vertical.
A New Generation of Supply Chain Execution Capabilities
Terence: Let’s drill deeper. How would supply chain execution be different from now on?
Gurdip: We are breaking down silos and allowing companies to make globally good decisions. In the past, it was perhaps because of technology limitations that you could only process so much data at a certain speed. So decisions were made in silos and people were afraid to bring things together because, frankly, technology did not permit it.
Think of yourself as a Logistics Service Provider that is serving customers in many industries. What each and every customer will ask you is, “Please tell me what happened to my order?” They are not just asking you what is happening in the warehouse and what is happening in the logistics network. They are asking you, “Can you track the order end-to-end and give me an update on where that order is?”
What this means in today’s vernacular is that you have to bring your order management system, warehouse management system, and transportation management system all together. And in many, many cases, it’s almost an impossible task because of how companies have gone about doing things. When was the last time anyone ripped and replaced an entire warehouse or order management system?
Terence: The risk is very significant if you are replacing such systems. What is a better way?
Gurdip: The approach that Blue Yonder has taken is not only having a common platform, but this platform does not force you to rip and replace existing systems because of the microservices constructs that have been adopted ubiquitously.
We are now able to, for instance, for your warehouse solution, add two microservices, one for inventory availability and the other for decisioning around where you should source inventory from. Now all of a sudden your existing order management system has the smarts to not just understand the latest real-time picture of where inventory lies within your supply chain, but the optimal way for you to source it, taking into account cost, ESG, inventory, and capacity availability.
Similarly, on the logistics end, in order to actually have a great load plan, you no longer have to go about deploying the entirety of a transportation management system. You can now leverage SaaS transportation optimization capabilities for rating, scheduling, and routes that would otherwise have asked for you to rip and replace your system.
Terence: What about working with existing systems?
Gurdip: We can now put in microservices around existing systems such that we can bring tremendous business value for you. And these microservices work with each other on the Blue Yonder platform and much more easily integrate into your existing systems. This is an example of where we can unlock tremendous value for our customers that may not even be using all of our execution systems today.
More Insights to Come
In an upcoming Part 2 article, we will continue to discuss the roadmap and benefits of the supply chain operating systems.
Join us in London 11-13 October 2023 to hear more insights from Gurdip and Blue Yonder’s leadership team. Register today at blueyonder.com/iconlondon.