Helping companies manage their supply chains with AI


February 1, 2024By Sourcing Journal and Heidi Benko | Vice President of Product Marketing and Strategy, Infor Nexus

Note: This article first appeared in Sourcing Journal and can be found in the 2023 Fall Summit Companion Report

Artificial intelligence (AI) is taking over the fashion industry, and supply chain management company Infor Nexus is getting in on the action. In fact, its AI-driven approach is helping “revolutionize supply chain visibility” by equipping businesses with predictive insights, prescriptive solutions and enhanced data quality. Here, Heidi Benko, vice president of product marketing and strategy at Infor Nexus, tells Sourcing Journal how the company helps businesses diversify their sourcing strategies and gain forward-looking insights for more proactive decisions.

Sourcing Journal: How is Infor Nexus leveraging AI to improve supply chain visibility? 

Heidi Benko: Leveraging machine learning trained on years of global network data, we provide more precise estimated time of arrivals (ETAs), enabling streamlined downstream processes, including improved management at ports and terminals, efficient distribution center activities and driving more accurate available to promise and delivery dates. Furthermore, our system issues proactive alerts for potential late arrivals, enabling proactive measures to mitigate supply chain disruptions.

Additionally, our predictive capabilities highlight delays and late arrivals by analyzing network flows, identifying idle processes and issuing “no-event” alerts that serve as early warnings for potential disruptions and shortages. To ensure the effectiveness of visibility, we prioritize data quality by employing models to detect, cleanse and enhance incoming data and ensure completeness by consolidating information from various sources. Continuous AI-powered monitoring detects anomalies in both customer data and global supply chain flows, benefiting all parties within our network and beyond when addressing issues with carrier or logistics provider data.

As companies aim to diversify their sourcing, what do they need to know? 

H.B.: Infor Nexus supports businesses in diversifying their sourcing strategies by offering key capabilities that promote adaptability, compliance, risk mitigation and data-driven decision-making.

Our multi-enterprise supply chain network platform streamlines connections with new suppliers, enhancing supply chain management efficiency. This adaptability enables companies to pivot their sourcing strategies to meet evolving business demands, including geographical sourcing market expansion or product line diversification.

We provide comprehensive solutions for vetting new suppliers, encompassing capability and compliance assessments. Our global onboarding and support services expedite the onboarding process, ensuring swift collaboration initiation.

Our platform also facilitates supplier performance assessments, environmental, social and governance (ESG) compliance and sustainability programs, ensuring alignment with corporate objectives while reducing reputational risks.

Additionally, Infor Nexus provides financial supply chain solutions that help companies shift sourcing locations without the need for costly measures like letters of credit, enabling smoother transitions in diversification efforts. 

Lastly, our advanced analytics and reporting capabilities enable companies to monitor and analyze their sourcing activities, identifying trends, bottlenecks and diversification opportunities for more effective sourcing strategies.

Inventory flexibility is key, especially in uncertain times. How can Infor Nexus help companies achieve this? 

H.B.: Infor Nexus helps companies enable greater inventory flexibility by providing comprehensive visibility and predictive capabilities across their supply chain network. We enable real-time visibility into inventory at rest and in transit, including items stored in distribution centers, third-party managed warehouses, and inventory in production or ready to ship at suppliers and contract manufacturers. 

Our platform’s insights into inventory status across the supply chain facilitate dynamic routing, allowing for efficient adjustments based on demand fluctuations, including dynamically allocating inventory in transit and enabling the postponement of final destination decisions for shipments coming from suppliers. This optimization enhances the supply chain’s responsiveness to changing conditions.

Through machine-learning-based predictive inventory arrivals and supply-demand matching, we empower companies to anticipate product availability at various locations and foresee potential shortages or excess inventory. Additionally, our predictive alerts for future shortages enable proactive responses, such as transferring available inventory from other locations, re-routing shipments or expediting shipments from suppliers to prevent disruptions.

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