Achieving A Digital And Predictive Supply Chain

Hans Thalbauer

We’re entering a new era in manufacturing and supply chain.

In part this is being driven by demand for faster response, more personalized products, and better customer experience. In part it’s being driven by emerging technologies like blockchain, 3D printing, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI) that are at the center of a digital economy.

In response, manufacturers and logistics providers have been looking intently at IoT. Connected sensors can capture vast amounts of data to speed processes and move companies closer to customers.

But it’s not enough to simply capture sensor output. Data from the things needs to be intelligently connected with business processes and people to achieve the best business outcomes. And for that, you need a system of intelligence.

New connectivity, new business models

A system of intelligence doesn’t just transform processes. It also enables new business models. For many companies, that can mean moving beyond selling products to offering product-based services — for higher margins and more reliable revenue streams.

But your logistics and maintenance processes also need to be aligned with your new way of doing business. If machinery requires new parts, you need to predict the need and fulfill those items in time to prevent an outage.

To achieve these new capabilities, you need sensors that capture operating conditions like temperature, speed, and vibration. But you also need to combine that data with usage patterns and reliability history. You must analyze the data to predict when maintenance is needed. And you must integrate the resulting insights across functions, because there’s no time to hand off data from one system to another. These are the capabilities a system of intelligence affords you.

Making IoT smart

A system of intelligence changes the way your business functions. Instead of mass production, you can realize mass configuration — making for a market of one. Instead of continuous production lines, you can run intelligent and configurable manufacturing cells — grouping all required resources, including people, machinery, and supplies. In a marketplace where individualized products are expected and customer-centricity is a competitive requirement, you can move production, or at least final assembly, as close to the customer as possible.

For example, a system of intelligence is what we’re achieving with SAP Leonardo. We’re now taking the portfolio a major step further by adding machine learning, blockchain and analytics — all on SAP Cloud Platform.

Why do we believe this is so transformative? Because with IoT, we connect the things and manage Big Data. With machine learning, we make this information intelligent. With blockchain, we automate the processes. And with analytics, we gain full visibility. In short, we’re connecting the things with business processes and people.

With this technology, you can achieve a true system of intelligence — and a digital and predictive supply chain.

Want to learn more about achieving a system of intelligence? Join us for the can’t-miss conference, SAP Leonardo Live, July 11 and 12 at the Kap Europa Congress Center in Frankfurt, Germany. The event will bring together a vibrant global community of up to 1,500 IoT, manufacturing, supply chain, R&D, and operations decision makers, influencers, analysts, and media. Learn firsthand from more than 50 SAP customer showcases how to connect IoT and core business processes to achieve digital transformation.

Hans Thalbauer

About Hans Thalbauer

Hans Thalbauer is globally responsible for solution management and the go-to-market functions for SAP digital supply chain solutions and the SAP Leonardo portfolio of Internet of Things solutions. In this role, he is engaged in creative dialogues with businesses and operations worldwide, addressing customer needs and introducing innovative business processes, including the vision of creating a live business environment for everyone working in operations. Hans has more than 17 years with SAP and is based out of Palo Alto, CA, USA. He has held positions in development, product and solution management, and the go-to-market organization. Hans holds a degree in Business Information Systems from the University Vienna, Austria.