Who hasn’t walked into a retail store recently and found a favorite product out of stock? Transportation bottlenecks, labor and materials shortages, rising fuel costs and other factors have made 2021 one of the most challenging times to operate a global supply chain with any degree of control and predictability.

In a recent Bloomberg article, Sunny Tan, Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, aptly summarized the frustration manufacturers, retailers and logistics providers are experiencing: “I wish when shoppers see our product they give it a kiss when they realize how difficult it was just to get it to the shelf.”

The Promise of Platform: Increasing Certainty in an Uncertain World

Over 3,000 companies around the world leverage Blue Yonder solutions to help mitigate the effects of uncertainty on both the demand and supply sides during these difficult times. Increasingly, customers running single solutions are asking us how they can improve their visibility, agility and responsiveness by implementing a broader and more extensive platform-based approach.

In a recent blog by Blue Yonder CEO Girish Rishi, he outlined the real-world benefits of Blue Yonder’s digital supply chain solution, Luminate™ Platform, to provide transparency, resilience and business continuity in today’s unpredictable landscape.

Imagine a system that proactively senses a transportation disruption, identifies alternative inventory, recommends replenishment options to best meet demand, initiates new network-optimized routes, kicks off a load re-balance for trucks at impacted warehouses, re-plans workforce needs, optimizes price and category management settings, and triggers collaborative activities with trading partners to head off further disruption — all instantaneously and in sync with top-level customer service, operational and financial objectives.

That’s the power of Luminate Platform, and it’s no surprise that many of the world’s leading companies are investing in this connected, synchronous, collaborative approach to supply chain optimization. While a platform approach can’t eliminate port closures and driver shortages, it can sense early signs of deviation and intelligently, autonomously work to bring the end-to-end supply chain back into alignment with pre-defined targets and objectives.

An Industry-Leading Platform, Built Around Three Principles

Luminate Platform transforms customer supply chains from a traditional, nodal, siloed configuration to a vertically integrated, edge-aware, intelligent operating network in which all stakeholders are focused not on discrete tasks, but on outcome-oriented, connected workflows. Supported by Luminate Platform, companies will be able to sense supply disruptions, demand variances and network events at the point of impact ― and then harmoniously orchestrate an end-to-end strategic response in real-time.

In designing Luminate Platform, Blue Yonder incorporated three key principles that enable organizations to effectively predict, prevent and resolve supply chain disruptions.

  1. The creation of a seamless E2E supply chain environment.

Executing a rapid, concerted response across the global supply network means bridging functional boundaries, as well as the traditional walls between trading partners, via advanced technology that supports real-time, end-to-end (E2E) orchestration. Luminate Platform spans the entire supply chain, providing a seamless and connected environment in which stakeholders share common visibility, collaborate to identify issues and develop scenarios to resolve exceptions. Using Luminate Platform, Blue Yonder customers utilize a single, unified data pipeline to ingest, cleanse, enrich, and curate data for all Blue Yonder solutions. Data is ingested once, then seamlessly distributed and synchronized between all Blue Yonder and partner applications. Luminate Platform preserves historical data and provides rich analytical capabilities, enabling customers and partners to use pre-built and custom business intelligence. With seamless drill-down directly to specific applications, users can take immediate action based on tailored analytical insights.

  • Making AI and other innovative technologies more accessible.

In today’s environment of extreme volatility on both the supply and demand sides, artificial intelligence (AI) is the preferred way to quickly flag and respond to ongoing changes. AI decision engines support sophisticated approaches to rapidly process enormous volumes of data, apply analytical and proprietary algorithms, detect anomalies, and predict the right response across the supply chain. Blue Yonder designed Luminate Platform to make AI accessible via machine learning model operationalization management (MLOps) tooling and processes that promote customer machine learning (ML) innovation, training and operation directly on the platform. Customer-developed AI that complements Blue Yonder AI effortlessly becomes a part of customers’ end-to-end supply chain solutions, integrating fluidly with other supply chain tools, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, trading partner systems, and internal and external data sources. Because it’s built on the Microsoft Azure public cloud, Luminate Platform has the proven security, scalability and reliability required to support mission-critical applications. Luminate Platform is also highly extensible, structured to deliver flexibility, customization and ease of configuration. Customers and partners can extend any aspect, from user interfaces and data models to APIs, workflows, ML, and computation. Finally, Luminate Platform is designed for a fast rollout and rapid time-to-value.

  • An intelligent, intuitive and consistent user experience.

Backed by advanced technologies like AI and automation, Luminate Platform works hard ― so supply chain employees don’t have to. On-demand, self-service capabilities in Luminate Platform enable users across the supply chain to access the data they need, when they need it, and control their interactions with the underlying technology. Blue Yonder’s industry-leading user experience (UX) is persona-based and intuitive, combining a consumer-grade look and feel with enterprise-scale interactivity. All employees share a common portal and a consistent user experience, supported by standardized tooling and shared metadata.  Multi-channel capabilities facilitate each company’s use of web-, mobile- and voice-based tools, delivering uncompromising privacy and security in each channel. As execution decisions are made via one-touch automation, employees can transition from tedious, manual work to higher-level strategic contributions.

There’s no question that manufacturers, retailers and logistics providers are operating in an extremely unpredictable business landscape, and there’s no telling what the future will bring. However, guided by these three foundational principles, Luminate Platform can prepare the world’s supply chains for that future by leveraging advanced AI to identify disruptions at the earliest opportunity, create a collaborative response and immediately bring the E2E supply chain back on course.