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In pursuit of the Self-Driving Supply Chain

Redefining agility through cognitive automation

In their path towards more digitized ways of working, many organizations have been on a run for decades towards implementing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Advanced Planning Systems (APS). Over the last decade however, these organizations have realized that these systems have - next to their merit as systems of records - their flaws: they indeed struggle to completely take away repetitive, labor-intensive tasks and, most importantly, they most often fail to support effective, decision-making. With that, Industry leaders are now seeking to augment the strengths of their ERP (and the rest of their application landscape) by scaling up solution around task automation (referred as “Robotic Process Automation”) and decision automation (referred as “Cognitive Automation”).

In particular, we will see in this paper how the shift towards Cognitive Automation capabilities is expected to radically accelerate the transition from "people doing the work supported by machine", to "machine doing the work guided by people". We will also see "Cognitive Command Centers" have the potential to transform the way supply chains will be designed, operated and managed in the near future.

What happens when (supply chain) planning does not match with reality?

As a company's supply chain expands in size and complexity, efficient planning and execution becomes crucial to their success. Disruptions or delays in production or product deliveries need to be detected and resolved quickly to mitigate any negative impact to the business and their customers.

The ability to make timely, accurate decisions related to sourcing and routing of products requires data to be gathered, processed and analyzed. As more data and business rules are added to the process, the cost of managing the information in a comprehensive, harmonized and action-oriented way drastically increases. As a response to that challenge, organizations are forced to automate their supply chain in order to reduce manual efforts and speedup the time-to-action.

As companies have massively invested in planning systems and transactional automation, the next step for the best-of-breed supply chain is to start developing new capabilities around automated decision-making, hence pushing the boundary of agility and responsiveness to unprecedented territories.

Any plan won't survive its first encounter with reality. The reality will always be different. It will never be the plan.

Jeff Bezos

The emergence of “Cognitive Automation”, applied to your Supply Chain

The power of automation is the ability to re-imagine the way organizations do things. Deloitte refers to this as the ‘Age of With’: a world where humans are aided and augmented by machines.

Advances in technology — including cloud computing, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things, and robotics — enable highly responsive supply chains that orchestrate continuous collaboration between supply and demand, planning and fulfillment, expectations, and customer satisfaction.

Watch now how Deloitte envisions the future of Supply Chains:

Industry deep-dives: what implications and use case for your industry?

Deloitte has developed a series of 3 articles for the Life Science & Healthcare, Chemicals industry, and FMCG industries. Each article will feature a series of industry use cases as well as the technological answers to typical (and emerging) challenges that we observe in these industries.

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