SAP: the importance of real-time data
In the third of four articles, we zone in on the importance of real-time data.
Made possible by the advancement and combination of several key technologies, including cloud, IoT (internet of things) and data analytics, real-time data has the potential to be a revelation for supply chain optimisation. Dispensing with the need to store and analyse data at a later stage, modern data streams are becoming increasingly dynamic, allowing for in-situ updates that can hasten the remediation of problems as and when they arise.
The advantages of real-time insights include:
- Enhanced resilience
- Greater customer-centricity
- Scaled operational efficiency
- Superior visibility across the entire supply chain
- Seamless collaboration with other functions, partners and suppliers
Supply Chain Leaders are consistently better able to reap the rewards mentioned above, despite their supply chain needs being far more complex than other companies in the sector. Over 50% of Leaders say their manufacturing processes are highly complex, with almost as many stating that their geographic footprint is similarly complicated.
In addition, Leaders are more likely than others to have highly complex design processes, quality control and sustainability metrics. However, this isn’t necessarily a stumbling block for them, as they need to be able to leverage data from these widely dispersed and complex processes to streamline their organisations and increase resiliency.
Almost all Leaders in the survey, 84%, confirmed that they have been successful in breaking down organisational silos across the entire product value chain, in comparison with two-thirds of other respondents. This equates to an improved collaboration with internal functions across the value chain, with over two-thirds of Leaders reporting seamless collaboration with manufacturing, half reporting seamless collaboration with R&D and 33% with Risk Management. However, Leaders do have room to grow as they’re less likely than other respondents to report high levels of collaboration with the Customer Service, Finance and HR functions.
Acting effectively on the insights gained through this collaboration necessitates a fast-paced approach. This was verified by British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), where its journey to becoming supply chain-centric has demonstrated a significant boost in operational efficiency. “The flow of information is much quicker because there’s less rungs for it to go through,” says Gareth Richardson, VP of Supply Chain Services. Therefore, GSK has been able to transition quickly, address unforeseen issues in the supply chain and increase the speed of decision-making.
Quick decision-making requires a lean and agile mindset among employees that are ready to respond quickly. Real-time data is also vital to maintaining visibility across the supply chain. While Leaders generally report greater visibility across all aspects of the supply chain, including supplier and sub-supplier, this is still an area where Leaders need to improve, particularly as they look further down their supply chains. Without developing this, companies increase their exposure to supply chain risks and become less resilient. While over three-quarters of respondents recognise the importance of visibility into the sustainability practices of their organisation and suppliers, few have full visibility into either.
It is clear, then, that in order to be successful at making their organisations future-proof and economically sustainable, Leaders must invest both time and money to the development of their real-time data capabilities.
Expo 2020: SAP Ariba to Digitise and Automate Procurement
Expo 2020, a World Expo that is set to be hosted by Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was originally scheduled to run from 20th October 2020 until 10th April 2021, but, as with just about everything in the world of supply chain, the COVID-19 pandemic forced event organisers to postpone the highly-anticipated get-together. The new date for the Expo, which will be hosted in the Dubai Exhibition Centre, spanning across a 438-hectare space, is Friday 1st October, until 31st March 2022. But, there will be limitations to who can and cannot attend the event, so SAP has stepped in to fix the problem.
What is Expo 2020?
‘Expo 2020 and SAP have run a series of onboarding summits for Expo’s valued supply chain network. As Expo’s procurement needs shift from construction to interior fit-outs, facilities management and technology services, Expo 2020 and SAP will continue to provide ongoing one-on-one support, including a dedicated helpdesk, to guide suppliers throughout the evolution to digital transactions and processes.
Expo 2020 Dubai, which will open its doors to the world from 1st October 2021 to 31st March 2022, is the first World Expo and only the second mega-event to secure a Procurement Excellence Award from the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply.’
SAP Ariba’s Solution
In a recent announcement, it was told that more than 25,000 of Expo 2020 Dubai’s local and global suppliers would benefit from a real-time, unified digital procurement and payment platform, thanks to technology provided by SAP, the events Innovative Enterprise Software Partner.
The solution, provided by SAP Ariba, will supposedly fully digitise and automate the procure-to-pay lifecycle, providing a streamlined digital experience for Expo 2020’s suppliers while simultaneously enhancing transparency and efficiency across the event’s global supply chain. ‘The global technology company’s cloud-based SAP Ariba procurement solutions run on its UAE public cloud data centre and connect to Ariba Network enabling buyers and suppliers to connect and transact’, according to SAP.
Mohammed AlHashmi, Chief Technology Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: ‘Expo 2020 is a long-term investment in the future that aims to enhance opportunities for sustainable business connectivity and growth in both domestic and international economies. Our partnership with SAP is an example of what can be achieved with the invaluable support of our technology partners to host one of the most digitally advanced World Expos ever. The implementation of SAP Ariba solutions has transformed our end-to-end procure-to-pay cycle and helped set new standards of procurement automation for projects of this scale.’
Through SAP Ariba’s collaborative and mobile-friendly platform, any registered suppliers at Expo 2020 will be able to participate in sourcing events and the negotiation and signing of contracts; users will also be able to submit invoices and track payments in real-time. According to the platform, Expo 2020 has already transacted in excess of AED 1 billion on the platform, ‘highlighting its commitment to driving long-term business growth in the region and beyond, with a particular focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs).’
Claudio Muruzabal, President of EMEA South, SAP, said: ‘Expo 2020 Dubai is demonstrating global best practices in digitising its procurement process with SAP Ariba solutions to help gain visibility into its spend, tighten collaboration with its suppliers, and achieve process automation, including completely paperless invoicing. Expo 2020 has already brought more than AED 1 billion in spend under management with SAP Ariba solutions.’