Digital Supply Chain Microsoft Dynamics Microsoft

Est. reading time: 6 minutes
Author: Steph Locke

Manufacturers can adapt to disruptions successfully, ensuring business continuity during distress, by building a resilient supply chain based on Microsoft tech. By modernising your supply chain you can optimise your workforce, build agile planning and distribution processes, enhance supply chain visibility, and maximise asset uptime and efficiency.

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Steph Locke

Technologist and consultant with a track record of delivering transformation of businesses into data science and AI companies.


Manufacturers can adapt to disruptions successfully and ensure business continuity by building a resilient digital supply chain based on Microsoft technologies. This is a critical priority for many manufacturers since COVID, Brexit, and shipping lane blockages have highlighted the problems of a global supply chain.

With outdated technology stack manufacturers suffer from wasted time, inaccurate or missing information, and inefficient processes. By modernising your supply chain you can optimise your workforce, build agile planning and distribution processes, enhance supply chain visibility, and maximise asset uptime and efficiency. Investing in your technology now will lower operating costs in future.

The problems of a legacy supply chain

If you don’t have the right systems and data in place to be proactive, disruptions in your supply chain may cause planning nightmares. We have talked before about how the uptake of planning and scheduling technology has been slow across manufacturing leaving the sector lagging when it comes to modernisation.

Working with outdated technologies might discourage staff from bringing in applications that have made an impression on other organisations or suggesting cutting-edge technologies like AI. The separate, on-premises systems make it difficult to pass information instantly and frequently lead to duplicate effort across multiple workers.

For businesses, maintaining a consistent customer experience is critical. However, the lack of a single dataset across the company makes it hard to identify emerging trends among your consumers or detect new trends in potential clients. Keeping everything in email means that account executives can’t establish relationships consistently and effectively to provide a high-quality experience.

With older and poorly linked systems, it’s tough to right-size your inventory, which means you always have too much or not enough. To compensate for margin loss from digital competitors and distribution channels, improving operational processes might be difficult in older systems. Fraudulent claims and rejections/quality concerns create expenses and labour that are difficult to track and manage in old systems.

Moving to the cloud can improve your supply chain

Using Microsoft technologies you can maintain business continuity in the event of a disaster by establishing a robust supply chain. Moving to the cloud gives you always online, extendable business solutions that de-risk potential disruptions on-site so that you can return to normal and ramp up faster, as well as optimise resources, stay profitable, retain market share, and compete effectively.

These tech tools can help you:

  • Optimise your workforce to automate key processes and make intelligent decisions with analytics
  • Build agile planning and distribution processes to deliver the right products on time in the right quantity, right place, at the right time
  • Enhance supply chain visibility to achieve better team alignment and more accurately predict impacts upstream and downstream
  • Maximise asset uptime and efficiency to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency across the board.

Help your workforce

One of the biggest parts of reducing supply chain disruption is having well-equipped people. You can better support your staff with the right technology tools and training, helping them make better decisions using data if they can provide a single source of truth. We regularly help surface data from the entire manufacturing process in Power BI.

You can replace manual business processes with AI-powered no-code tools to give staff more time to focus on the important stuff. We use Azure Logic Apps and Microsoft Power Automate to streamline repetitive tasks and help businesses go paperless.

You may increase productivity by better organising your teams and shifts through improved planning using Dynamics 365 and enhanced communication via Microsoft Teams. Staff may be trained through Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, which allows them to work together from various sites while also utilising Dynamics 365 Guides on HoloLens devices to learn new skills more quickly.

Microsoft InTune and Microsoft 365 Digital Rights Management can help you minimise operational risks associated with remote work. Finally, Microsoft Dynamics 365 HR may help you reduce the difficulty of hiring remotely.

Change your planning and distribution processes

Connected factories and optimising supply and manufacturing planning in real time may help you improve the on-time delivery of orders. Using Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, you can increase operational efficiency, product quality, and profitability. You may also take advantage of Dynamics 365 Business Central to streamline your operations, make more informed decisions, and speed up growth.

To improve supply chain coordination, connect to your data in Dynamics 365. Work with your logistics providers to ensure that stores have the correct product at the right time in the right quantity using data sharing. Fast and sophisticated supplier qualification methods that employ intelligent distributed order management and agile product fulfilment alternatives can help you save money on-demand fulfilment costs. You may use pre-built solutions from Dynamics 365 or Power Apps to quickly develop low-code apps to address your problems.

Gain visibility of the supply chain

Use Power BI and Azure data services to gain insight into both upstream and downstream effects of disruptions, which can be used to predict supply chain impact and cross-channel visibility.

By calculating and visualising patterns and connections among people, places, and devices with digital twins, you can improve your cash flow by reducing inventory and adjusting forecasting.

You may improve your demand planning by better integrating your operations and business teams using Dynamics 365 Project Ops.

Cut downtime and boost efficiency

You can minimise costly downtime by preventing production mistakes. Using Azure IoT Central and Azure Digital Twins to view and manage data from the factory floor may help you identify the source of faults faster. You may use Azure Metrics Advisor for complex anomaly detection and root cause analysis.

Reducing errors across procurement, submitting proposals, invoicing, and planning can help give you an edge. The combination of no-code tools like Azure Logic Apps and AI can really help here.

Finally, you can extend the longevity of assets by performing predictive maintenance through better asset management using Dynamics 365 and Azure Machine Learning capabilities to build bespoke models.

Our goal

At Nightingale HQ, we create all of our GoSmarter tools using the Microsoft technology stack because we believe it is good value for money, provides strong capabilities, and has excellent cyber-security features. We have the capacity and a long-term service provider network to assist enterprises to take advantage of these amazing cloud services.

  • Our GoSmarter platform lets manufacturers self-manage the adoption of these technologies with ready-to-deploy tools using one or more of these different techs.
  • Our GoSmarter In A Day workshops deliver a solution and staff training to accelerate adoption and enable you to maintain and create solutions longer term
  • We run pilot projects with manufacturers to solve specific challenges that will later become tools for others to use.
  • We can help you get started and run in the cloud with our Cloud Solution Provider status with Microsoft and our ability to run managed services means you can save on hiring additional IT staff.

All of these different capabilities are designed to make it easy for manufacturers to adopt modern and emerging technologies to operate better.

Further reading

Boost resiliency

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