AWS Supply Chain launches into general availability with new features

AWS Supply Chain launches into general availability with new features

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Amazon Web Services Inc. launched AWS Supply Chain, its cloud-based inventory monitoring and forecasting application, into general availability Monday after the application made its debut at cloud giant’s re:Invent conference last December.

Retailers must avoid situations where a store has insufficient merchandise in stock to meet customer demand. At the same time, they must also ensure that store managers don’t purchase more of a given item than necessary. Excess inventory has to be discarded in some cases, which can erode a retailer’s profit margins. 

AWS Supply Chain is designed to help companies avoid such issues. It’s a cloud-based application that can generate a map of a retailer’s stores, distribution centers and other logistics facilities. Clicking on a facility brings up a panel that shows if there’s a risk of product shortages or overstocking.

Behind the scenes, AWS Supply Chain tracks product availability by collecting inventory data from a retailer’s logistics applications. Such applications often store records in different formats. To address the challenge, AWS Supply Chain includes machine learning models that automatically organize inventory records in a unified format that lends itself to analysis.

According to AWS, the models also create a data lake for storing the collected information. Using that data lake, they can spot supply chain issues and also generate remediation suggestions.

If a store is about to run out of a certain product, the application can point out a nearby logistics hub where the item is in stock. In some cases, it generates not one but multiple suggestions for addressing supply chain issues. The application ranks the recommendations to help supply chain teams identify the optimal course of action.

“Recommendation options are scored by the percentage of risk resolved, the distance between facilities, and the sustainability impact,” Danilo Poccia, AWS’ chief evangelist for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, wrote in a blog post. “Supply chain managers can also drill down to review the impact each option will have on other distribution centers across the network.”

Besides helping retailers address inventory challenges, AWS Supply Chain can also predicts future product availability. It includes a forecasting tool that anticipates customer demand based on historical sales logs and other data. Using the application’s forecasts, a retailer can evaluate if it has enough merchandise in stock to meet future demand and order more when necessary. 

AWS Supply Chain is launching into general availability with several enhancements that weren’t included in the preview version.

The company has made it easier to integrate the application with SAP SE’s S/4HANA enterprise resource planning system. At many companies, S/4HANA stores inventory data that AWS Supply Chain can use to track product availability. The application is also receiving interface improvements, as well as an automation feature that will speed up some data preparation tasks for customers.

Image: AWS

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