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The intelligent supply chain – cognitive, touchless, and data-driven

Sandip Sharma | Gaurav Karker
3 Aug 2022

Innovation Nation talks to Capgemini’s Sandip Sharma and Gaurav Karker about the challenges of implementing an intelligent, frictionless, and customer-centric supply chain function to deliver cognitive, touchless operations, and data-driven decision-making.

Innovation Nation: Hello Sandip, Gaurav – thanks for joining me today. I’d like to start by asking you about the current state of the supply chain sector. What are the main challenges supply chain organizations are facing today?

Sandip Sharma: Thanks for having us. There are four main challenges that supply chain companies are having to deal with today – customer service, cost, resilience, and sustainability.

Customers now expect more personalized experiences and customized product services. This is putting pressure on supply chains to provide a unique, some would say, bespoke experience to their customers, which is driving up complexity and cost.

To counter this, supply chain leaders are looking for ways to lower costs, while remaining efficient, in order to stay competitive in today’s market. And with disruptions such as the recent global pandemic becoming more frequent, they need to deploy integrated planning and operations that drives a more resilient supply chain. This has now become critical if they want to increase transparency and hyper-personalization.

Gaurav Karker: On top of this, the adoption of new ways of working continues to be a big challenge and concern for supply chain leaders, and the future will see innovative solutions which are fit for purpose and can be easily adopted by organizations to drive value.

Further, supply chain leaders need to put sustainability front-and-center in their operations by consistently creating new sustainable solutions within a net-zero context that helps them adapt to market changes when they occur.

That’s very clear. How is Capgemini addressing these challenges?

Sandip Sharma: At Capgemini, we put touchless operations at the heart of everything we do in intelligent supply chain. This means we’re injecting more intelligent automation and artificial intelligence (AI) into these operations to deliver a truly frictionless way of working. This improves cost, efficiency, and our clients’ overall responsiveness to challenges as they occur. And by automating repetitive tasks, we give our clients the ability to focus on more business-critical tasks.

In addition, our Digital Global Enterprise Model (D-GEM) transformation platform enables us to deliver more efficient intelligent supply chain services to our clients by enabling them to choose the right technology, location, and services that work for their organization. We also answer the challenges posed by sustainability through our ability to deliver tangible sustainable business outcomes.

There is a need to rethink supply chain processes across plan, source, make, deliver and collect with sustainability as a goal. This could mean launching more sustainable products, making processes more efficient to reduce waste, and creating a dashboard to track progress against sustainability goals. All of this will ultimately result in reduction of carbon footprint, reduction of business waste, better logistics capacity utilization, and sustainable promotions.

Gaurav Karker: To add to this, leveraging our partnerships help our clients run their supply chains much more efficiently. These partnerships are based on expertise gained from working with some of the largest supply chains in the world, which enables us to bring industry best-practices and proven operating models into our clients’ way of working.

We also provide a set of tech solutions that breakdown silos and enable supply chain managers to see their supply chain operations from end to end. This provides a 360-degree data-informed view of their organization’s operations that helps them better plan how to distribute their products.

Finally, return on investment lies at the core of all our partnerships. We marry pain points to outcomes to ensure every problem our clients face is addressed – enabling these weaknesses to become strengths.

What solutions do you deploy to overcome these challenges and deliver frictionless, customer-centric, and intelligent supply chain operations?

Sandip Sharma: Our end-to-end Touchless Supply Chain Planning solution helps our clients generate more smart forecasting and better integrates business planning into their operations. While our Touchless Order Management and Logistics Control Tower solutions make the order-to-delivery process much easier and more efficient – underpinned by a Supply Chain as-a-Service (SCaaS) model.

In addition, our One Operations unlocks value across the enterprise by delivering end-to-end business integration at speed and scale, while our Cognitive Procurement Services solution helps you design, implement, and operate an AI-enabled procurement operating model.

We also handle supply chain data management in a unique way that guarantees data is kept to the highest quality possible and significantly increases the interoperability of this data.

What part does technology play in delivering touchless, data-driven supply chain operations?

Gaurav Karker: Technology plays a big role in driving frictionless supply chain operations. We leverage intelligent automation and AI into our clients’ supply chain operations to break down silos within their current setup. This can be truly achieved by moving to cloud-native solutions, leveraging platforms to run best-in-class supply chain operations, and using hyperscale automation to fill the whitespaces that cannot be addressed by standard platforms. In addition, it will be critical to harness the power of data through advanced analytics to drive automated decision making.

At Capgemini, our touchless supply chain approach has three layers. Human-out-of-the-Loop handles repetitive tasks, while Human-on-the-Loop handles higher supply chain tasks such as checking weekly planning processes. Finally, Human-in-the-Loop involves tasks where team members are needed to complete them such as handling investments.

We have expertise in both big tech and small tech to keep abreast of the latest and greatest technology solutions out there to fuel customer ‘s supply chain operations, addressing a given problem in the best possible way.

What outcomes does Capgemini’s intelligent supply chain approach deliver to our clients?

Sandip Sharma: We offer our clients a true outcomes-based approach to supply chain management by taking joint responsibility for achieving the business outcomes they need. There are four main outcome areas our intelligent supply chain approach covers:

  • Service – improving fill rates, on-time-in-full performance, revenues, delivery lead times, and customer satisfaction (NPR) score across traditional and online channels
  • Cost – reducing cost around inventory, operations, storage, transportation and business waste
  • Cash – decreasing the amount of working capital investment by increasing efficiency
  • Sustainability – minimizing CO2 levels, reducing warehouse space, and generating more energy savings across our clients’ supply chains.

Finally, what do you see as the future of supply chain management?

Gaurav Karker: The focus on customer-centricity and hyper-personalization will grow, and supply chains will become truly frictionless – the days of supply chain silos are numbered. There will be greater focus on driving a more sustainable, net-zero approach to supply chain operations, which will transform supply chains to become more agile and adaptive.

Sandip Sharma: We will also see greater reliance on the AI-augmented workforce, with the human workforce only handling critical supply chain decisions – this will be critical to establishing and maintaining this more agile and adaptive supply chain.

Sandip, Gaurav, thank you both for taking the time to talk to us today.

About authors

Sandip Sharma, Senior Director, SCM Solutions, Capgemini’s Business Services

Sandip Sharma

Senior Director, SCM Solutions, Capgemini’s Business Services
Sandip is a Senior Director and leads Capgemini’s Business Services end-to-end Touchless Supply Chain Planning capability. He also works with clients to create compelling transformation solutions and services to design, run, and evolve their supply chain operations.
Gaurav Karker, Senior Director, Intelligent Supply Chain Operations, Capgemini’s Business Services

Gaurav Karker

Senior Director, Intelligent Supply Chain Operations, Capgemini’s Business Services
Gaurav is passionate about running sustainable supply chain operations and has expertise in supply chain planning, IBP/S&OP, and supply chain control tower.

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