Supply chain management automation

The current need to supply consumers has never been greater. The swift spread of Covid-19 has left markets in flux and created wildly fluctuating demand for goods and services across the globe.

It’s safe to say that Covid-19 has made its mark on supply chains. Some manufacturers are running production lines 24/7 to keep up with demand. Others have switched focus to create new products, such as face masks, hand sanitiser and ventilators.

Many manufacturers are pushed to the limit, but those using technology to automate and improve supply chain operations will emerge stronger and more agile. These organisations will be the first to adapt to the inevitable new shape of supply chains of the future.

These are undoubtedly challenging times and, and for many, it’s time to rethink the future to minimise risk and ensure business continuity. Below are three trends that are emerging in the supply chain industry – trends that are emerging to transition supply chains from old ways of working to new ways – to help them build resilience when subjected to critical disruptions.

Manufacturing moves onshore

The last few decades have all been around the globalisation of supply chains. Manufacturers are now starting to go back to the old days of manufacture – putting a strong focus on indigenous manufacturing, rather than relying on offshore production.

Bringing manufacturing onshore can help organisations maintain control over supply chains, increase speed to market and mitigate changing and volatile market conditions. The myriad of stockpiling and supply chain challenges that the industry is currently witnessing was unforeseen, onshoring will help protect against similar events. Onshoring gives manufacturers much better control and visibility of operations and means they can rely more on their native country to meet production quotas amid a crisis.

Intelligent supply chain automation

Using supply chain automation is a compelling reason to onshore and shift production back home. Automation allows organisations to offset some of the costs of onshoring using robotics and intelligent capabilities that automate machines and tools. These intelligent systems can complete tasks quicker and more accurately than humans, without the required expenditure on human capital.

Intelligent technologies built for automating the supply chain, such as Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, can assist manufacturers in onshoring production. Manufacturers can effectively manage materials and finished goods using configurable machine-learning-based guidance. Also, getting predictive insights across planning, production, stock and warehouses helps manufacturers to maximise operational efficiency and reduce costs.

Cloud adoption

With many employees working from home, the benefits of cloud-based technologies are clear. While some manufacturers have been considering cloud adoption for a while, they are now appreciating that the cloud offers many benefits, including seamless remote access.

When sustaining business growth is more important than ever, cloud-based intelligent technologies such as Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management and Azure Data Services give manufacturers the ability to build an agile, connected and resilient supply chain. Azure Data Services enables manufacturers to build dashboards and provide a clear view of their full supply chain across planning, orders, inventory, logistics, personnel, equipment, quality and cost. The power and scale of Azure enables vast amounts of data to be processed, analysed and to create ‘what-if’ scenarios – powerful capabilities in these volatile times.


As supply chain disruptions persist, manufacturers need to urgently assess their operations and look to intelligent automation to build a more resilient supply chain.

By adopting an intelligent automation technology like Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, manufacturers can proactively transform every aspect of their supply chain operations.

To delve deeper into some of these intelligent supply chain capabilities, read our guide ‘Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management’.