Mega-retailer Amazon.com today launched a cloud-based application for logistics companies that it says can help users to improve supply chain visibility, mitigate supply chain risks, and lower costs.
The “AWS Supply Chain” product is a unit of the firm’s Amazon Web Services arm, which—along with competitors like Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud—rents computer server space to companies that operate cloud-based software products.
Running software in the cloud has gained popularity in recent years in contrast to running each application “on premises” at the location where users work. Supporters say the cloud approach enables better cyber security, more frequent updates, and access to larger data storage and processing tools than most users could provide from their own private IT departments.
Examples of other logistics sector deployments on cloud platforms—all on Google Cloud—include the material handling systems integrator Dematic, freight transportation service provider XPO Logistics, supply chain visibility provider Blume Global, and freight broker and transportation provider J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc.
In Amazon’s view, its new product offers a faster, cheaper way to gain supply chain visibility than the current approach of building custom integrations that can access data across an array of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management systems.
Amazon says its AWS Supply Chain provides a unified data lake, machine-learning-powered insights, recommended actions, and in-application collaboration capabilities. By applying those tools, companies can improve their supply chain resiliency in the face of recent trends toward supply and demand volatility accelerated by widespread resource shortages, geopolitics, and natural events, the company said.
AWS Supply Chain is intended for inventory managers, demand planners, and supply chain leaders, who can use it to view machine learning-generated insights for potential inventory shortages or delays, and create watchlists to receive alerts to take action as risks appear. Once a risk is identified, AWS Supply Chain will automatically provide recommended actions to take, such as moving inventory between locations, based on the percentage of risk resolved, the distance between facilities, and the sustainability impact.
“Customers tell us that the undifferentiated heavy lifting required in connecting data between different supply chain solutions has inhibited their ability to quickly see and respond to potential supply chain disruptions,” Diego Pantoja-Navajas, vice president of AWS Supply Chain at AWS, said in a release. “AWS Supply Chain aggregates this data and provides visual, interactive dashboards that provide the insights and recommendations customers need to take actions toward more resilient supply chains.”