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How to build an intelligent supply chain

Jörg Junghanns
3 Aug 2022

Leveraging the right building blocks, partnerships, and technology enables organizations to create integrated, intelligent, and frictionless supply chain operations that deliver superior, reliable, and repeatable business outcomes.

There are so many elements to supply chain management. In addition to building and maintaining what are often large and complex networks of suppliers and logistics providers, organizations need to integrate and align their operating model with profound business architecture, enabling technologies, their supply network stakeholders, and operations.

Getting there is not easy. But sometimes, the benefits of taking action outweigh the effort involved, and this is one such instance. What’s more, a knowledgeable and trusted advisor can reduce the hassle considerably.

Creating an integrated operations platform

Working with Capgemini is a case in point. In partnership with our clients, we build a base of standards, including methodology and approach, expertise, and our process and technology capabilities. We call this standard environment the Capgemini Integrated Operations Platform (CIOP).

CIOP complements our One Operations offering. It enables us to form an integrated, end-to-end process platform, supported through enabling technologies and talent, which help us to create unique, tailor-made solutions. Its building blocks can be used across functions in various configurations:

  • The frictionless supply chain – removing the boundaries between traditional supply chain functions to create seamlessly integrated operations, with reduced touchpoints for improved efficiency and customer satisfaction
  • D-GEM-driven digital assets – Capgemini’s own Digital Global Enterprise Model (D-GEM) platform is built on years of experience and sector best practice. It provides standards, blueprints, and trusted methodologies for process reengineering and digitalization that supply chains need – which, when knowledgeably applied, deliver the best possible business outcomes
  • Digital twins – virtual business transformation models provide a secure and safe environment to try out operational scenarios, to make supply chains more resilient and flexible, and to mitigate risk
  • Co-innovation Lab – Capgemini professionals can be brought to bear wherever their talent, supply chain experience, and knowledge will be of most use to a given process, function, or technology, enabling open discussion and experimentation
  • Proprietary assets and partner ecosystem – Capgemini’s strategic partners complement our own “small tech” proprietary tooling across all supply chain processes, including customer and employee experience digital accelerators. Our partner ecosystem provides the necessary support from specialist expertise or technology; and even goes beyond to further vertically integrated expert supply chain orchestration capabilities.

Macro-, micro-, and nano-services

The specialist supply chain expertise and technologies furnished by ourselves and our partners include:

  • Macroservices – monolithic applications such as an ERP, which streamline and digitalize not only supply chain operations, but also enterprise services
  • Microservices – smaller applications that deliver specialized functionality for individual functions, such as order fulfillment or planning
  • Nanoservices – applications that tackle individual pain points within macro- or microservices functions, such as order validation.

  • Digitalization through small tech significantly accelerates the value unlock within the supply chain:
    1. ML-based planning tool
    2. Order processing/acceleration tool
    3. AI helpdesk
    4. Document AI
    5. Demand sensing forecasting tool
    6. Demand planning algorithms portfolio
    7. Order capture, validation, and allocation
    8. Return order management
    9. Request management system
    10. Truck route optimization

Layering these nanoservices on top of the standard CIOP platform enables organizations to be flexible, helping them choose the right tools for the right task, and scaling up or down as necessary.

The key is to integrate the solutions with the right methodology, talent, and organization. Some regions or countries will need to wait for macro-/micro-technology availability, but they can use the waiting time to prepare, so they can deliver and unlock value at as early a stage as possible. They can build up from the most detailed nano-service to deliver tailor-made solutions for individual “nano challenges,” without having to commit to big micro tech too early. It’s about choosing the right macro- and micro-tools for general operations such as functions, business rule driven validation, and sector-specific algorithms.

In my introduction, I said that building an integrated supply chain management network was a challenge, but that it’s worth it. The same is true here, in implementations at nanoservice level. It involves effort,, but the immediate value it creates makes it worth it.

A supply chain platform for a smart, flexible future

The CIOP on which a supply chain operations architecture is built integrates functions, identifying and addressing friction points through transformation, and making the most of the digital strengths of our clients’ organizations.

It’s the base upon which stand the six pillars we have identified as integral to an intelligent, integrated, and flexible supply chain model.

  • The six pillars of the independent supply chain:
    1. Intelligent network design and risk management
    2. Smart forecasting and integrated business planning
    3. 360° sourcing analysis and supplier collaboration
    4. Touchless and agile order to delivery
    5. Supply chain as a service
    6. Supply chain control tower and end-to-end performance management

About author

Jörg Junghanns

K+N Partnership Lead, Intelligent Supply Chain Operations, Capgemini’s Business Services
Jörg is Capgemini’s VP Europe for Intelligent Supply Chain Operations, driving transformative solutions across industries. He employs innovation and strategic thinking to empower supply chain growth, utilizing Capgemini’s Digital Services for planning, order management, procurement, and automation. With a global background, he excels in digital strategy, shared services, process design, and project management.

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