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For entrepreneurs still feeling the sting of global supply chain turbulence, there is a new tool coming to market. Amazon Web Services is delving into supply chain management with a new cloud-based application to help businesses manage their inventory and coordinate their networks of manufacturers, suppliers, distribution facilities, and transportation providers.
The machine learning-powered software, which is now available in preview, offers a real-time visual map of a company’s entire supply chain network and aggregates data from other enterprise applications and suppliers into a single system. Based on that information, the application offers automated alerts and recommendations about inventory rebalancing, lead times, and potential risks, such as backlogs or stocks that are running low.
AWS CEO Adam Selipsky announced AWS Supply Chain during the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas last week. “The past two years have highlighted the importance of supply chain resilience. From baby formula shortages to ships circling ports unable to unload, the disruptions have been widespread and deeply felt,” said Selipsky during his keynote speech. “AWS Supply Chain helps you mitigate risks and lower costs.”
While congestion in the global supply chain has improved from the worst levels seen during the height of the pandemic, managing logistics remains a pressing problem facing entrepreneurs. In November, the global supply chain pressure index increased for the second straight month. The New York Federal Reserve, which calculates the measure, said that China was the biggest contributing factor.
The manufacturing superpower, which produces nearly 30 percent of products worldwide, spent much of the past month under strict Covid-19 lockdowns, and that nationwide halt has slowed the global supply chain’s march back to normal. Small-business owners have felt the impact. Nearly a third of business owners report that supply chain disruptions have had a significant impact on their business, according to the most recent monthly report from the National Federation of Independent Business.
Of those surveyed, only one out of 10 said that their business had not been impacted by recent supply chain disruptions. Fixing that pain point has become a major opportunity for the B2B market, and AWS is not the first company to make a leap into the sector. Logistics and supply chain management grew into a $20.24 billion industry this year, according to the research and consulting firm Gartner–making it the fastest-growing market within enterprise software applications.
Even Selipsky’s rollout at the AWS re:Invent conference came less than a month after Microsoft unveiled its own supply chain management platform in mid-November. Still, Amazon, which ships 1.6 million packages a day, could be uniquely situated to solve the supply chain crunch for other businesses, because the homegrown tool harnesses Amazon’s own expertise and data.
“It combines nearly three decades of Amazon.com’s innovation and learning and experience with its own supply chain as we’ve modeled and built it over the years,” said Tariq Choudry, manager of new products and strategy for AWS. He spoke during a breakout session at the conference that discussed applying machine learning to the supply chain and detailed more of the functionality of AWS Supply Chain.
Be warned: Business owners should prepare to keep dealing with logistical problems in the new year, because the AWS CEO made it clear that its foray into supply chain management is a long-term play. “This is just the beginning,” said Selipsky in his keynote speech. “We’re going to continue to invest here.”
Source: Why Amazon Web Services Is Making the Leap Into Supply Chain Management | Inc.com
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