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Category: Manufacturing

Microsoft Flexes Supply Chain Muscles in New Partnership with Kraft Heinz


Initiative Involves Demand-focused Analytics, Supply Chain Control Tower, Digital Twins and More

April 27, 2022
SCDigest Editorial Staff

For most of us, “supply chain” is not one of the first terms that come to mind if asked about Microsoft. “Office” maybe, or “Teams” or even “Cloud computing.”

Supply Chain Digest Says...

Another program component will be the creation of so-called “digital twins” for 34 Kraft Heinz-owned manufacturing facilities in North America.

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But if last week’s announcement of Microsoft’s broad partnership with food giant Kraft Heinz is any indication, the association of Microsoft and supply chain may become a lot stronger.

The two companies announced the multi-faceted initiative, under the umbrella of the company’s AGILE@SCALE business strategy.

It sure sounds as if Microsoft is venturing supply chain planning, with the initiative expected to use “real-time predictive analytics to improve inventory transparency and anticipate consumer and channel demand,” Kraft Heinz said in a press release.

Carlos Abrams-Rivera, executive vice president and president, North America, Kraft Heinz, added that “Our collaboration with Microsoft is a critical piece of our transformation strategy, providing us with the machine learning and advanced analytics to drive innovation and efficiencies across the supply chain so we can get products into the market faster, better serve our customers and, ultimately, deliver on the sustained and growing consumer demand our iconic brands continue to experience.”

Running in Microsoft’s Azure Cloud platform, another program element will be the creation of a “Supply Chain Control Tower” for Kraft Heinz. The technology will provide “traffic control” across the company’s supply chain, with real-time visibility into plant operations and distribution network. The control tower will leverage Azure’s AI, IoT and data analytics capabilities.

Another program component will be the creation of so-called “digital twins” for 34 Kraft Heinz-owned manufacturing facilities in North America to help test and perfect solutions and processes before applying them on the plant floor. For example, the technology, using something called Azure Digital Twins, will help predict outcomes that identify optimal product capacity and reduce mechanical interruptions by proactively addressing issues before they occur.

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Finally, as part of the program, Kraft Heinz and Microsoft will create a joint Digital Innovation Office to co-engineer new solutions that will help the company reimagine digital manufacturing and drive efficiencies with the help of hybrid experiences powered by Microsoft AI, machine learning and IoT.

Microsoft as a leading supply chain technology provider? Seems to be a real possibility.

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