It’s Time to Reimagine the Supply Chain
In May, thousands of Blue Yonder associates, customers and partners met in Las Vegas for ICON 2023, where we collectively discussed the enormous opportunity that’s presented to us right now as supply chain professionals. We’ll continue that discussion at ICON London, coming up on Oct. 11-13 – registration is now open!
For many years, supply chains have operated quietly in the background, given minimal thought or concern unless something went wrong. But after several years of unimaginable change, uncertainty and disruptions, the central importance and the value created by supply chains is unmistakably on everyone’s mind. Supply chains have risen to the top of every company’s boardroom agenda.
The thrilling news is that, thanks to advances in modern technology, supply chains are more than ready for their moment in the spotlight. We’re realizing incredible, breakthrough innovations in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), generative AI, data clouds, edge computing, analytics, robotics, and other areas that are creating new possibilities and bringing our industry to a critical inflection point.
Today we have a rare opportunity to transform not just individual supply chains, but to completely reimagine the traditional, fundamental concept of a supply chain.
Leveraging the Supply Chain to Unlock a Greater Purpose
At Blue Yonder, we’re taking full advantage of that opportunity. Our aim is to transform the world and create positive benefits for society through supply chains that deliver meaningful customer value. As Jeffrey Hammbacher, an early Facebook employee, said in a landmark interview with Business Week, “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads. That sucks.” I share his belief that we should instead focus our best intellectual capital on the common good — on solving hard, consequential problems and addressing real societal needs.
The supply chain is uniquely positioned to turn scarcity into abundance, driving greater productivity, creating cost efficiencies that make goods more accessible, and delivering critical products to the places they’re most needed. Supply chains also play a central role in boosting production and minimizing environmental impacts. As a supply chain industry leader, it’s incumbent on Blue Yonder to champion those efforts.
How real is this commitment? Blue Yonder will invest over $1 billion over the next three years to make our solutions smarter, more powerful, more connected, and more capable of delivering real-world value. We’re also investing in developing and growing our team of smart, talented associates who are passionate and eager to generate customer value that, in turn, produces larger societal benefits.
How Will We Get There? Blue Yonder’s Three-Part Vision
While I could talk at great length about exactly how advanced technologies are revolutionizing the supply chain, at Blue Yonder we’re focused on three critical supply chain capabilities:
1. End-to-end interoperability
One of the greatest limitations of today’s supply chains is that they’re managed within silos by a series of point solutions. To overcome this fragmentation and create end-to-end connectivity, Blue Yonder will deliver full interoperability across all its applications. Our end-to-end solutions will run on a common platform, with a common user interface and a common data model. If a customer is running our transportation or warehouse management, it will be seamless to add planning or commerce solutions — and the benefits will be exponential. The result is fully unifying planning with execution in near real time, and Blue Yonder is the first provider to do it.
2. A single data cloud
Blue Yonder’s second core tenet is that supply chains need to share a single source of truth and a unified set of data. We’ve partnered with Snowflake to help realize this vision by directly embedding the Snowflake Data Cloud into our platform and applications, instead of just using it as a data warehouse that feeds into our software. It’s a revolutionary concept — moving the app to the data to avoid latency. Our vision is an end-to-end ecosystem that runs on a single database infused with super intelligence and connected to all the systems, applications and intelligent devices that make the world move.
3. Infinite intelligence
We’re experiencing a truly historic moment, as technology has evolved in its ability to perform complex reasoning, create new knowledge, and fundamentally reshape the way we interact with software. Sam Altman at OpenAI says the collective knowledge of humanity is doubling every 18 months. At Blue Yonder, our vision is that generative AI and ML will augment the global workforce and multiply the benefits of our applications, unleashing the full potential of supply chains by creating an environment of effortless, continuous improvement — and our R&D investments will help us get there faster.
The Moment Is Now
I truly believe the supply chain community is experiencing its zeitgeist moment, one that we need to collectively seize. We have a unique chance to use the uncertainty and volatility of the past several years as a springboard for amazing, breakthrough innovations. Who knows when such an opportunity will present itself again?
As supply chain professionals, we’re empowered to wake up every morning and reimagine what the world’s supply chains can accomplish. We can play a leadership role in ushering in a new age of abundance. I hope this opportunity excites you, and I invite you to join us on this journey. I look forward to seeing you at ICON London in October – register today!