Leveling the Playing Field: Supply Chain in the Age of Amazon

Ethan Stine

The โ€œAge of Amazonโ€

Ready. Set. Shop. The second annual Amazon Prime Day is set for July 11th, and Amazon has big expectations for this yearโ€™s event. With last yearโ€™s Prime Day bringing in as much revenue as Black Friday and resulting in worldwide members ordering 398 items per second, itโ€™s impressive that expectations are even higher this year.

In the span of two decades, Amazon has progressed from an online bookseller to the most dominant force in retail, delivering millions of items to customers at the right price and faster than anyone else. Amazon has even progressed beyond retail and has begun disrupting (and dominating) other industries, from cloud-based web hosting (AWS) to groceries (Whole Foods). But what is the key to Amazonโ€™s success that allows it to pull off monstrous feats like moving such massive volume of product on Prime Day?

Supply chain efficiency has turned Amazon into a disruptive juggernaut

One of the biggest components to Amazonโ€™s success is extreme supply chain efficiency. Standardized processes, flexibility, and high levels of automation serve to reduce manual effort and lead to impressively short throughput times, which ultimately serve customers better.

Driven by commitment to operational excellence and focusing on the customer experience, Amazon spent millions on research and development over 20 years to perfect its supply chain process. The bad news for your company: you probably donโ€™t have the same resources as Amazon to catch up. The good news: your IT systems already contain all the data you need to help you streamline your processes. To compete with supply chain juggernauts in the digital age, businesses need to embrace the latest technological supply chain advancements, or face extinction. Organizations looking to level the playing field and catch up to Amazonโ€™s degree of efficiency finally have a solution: Process Mining.

Supply chain professionals are desperate for visibility. While there are copious amounts of data available across supply chain functions, there is a severe lack of transparency because thereโ€™s just too much to weed through and process owners donโ€™t know where to look. Identifying issues within core processes can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Thatโ€™s where Process Mining technology comes into play, effectively removing the blinders and giving businesses unbiased visibility and proactive recommendations for their processes to improve margins and business agility while reducing operational costs.

What is Process Mining?

Process Mining is a big-data analytics approach that leverages the digital event logs in a companyโ€™s existing IT systems to create a visual reconstruction of an organizationโ€™s supply chain, and more importantly, the business processes within it.This allows decision makers to easily visualize and analyze cross-departmental processes like purchase-to-pay, order-to-cash, production and logistics, to achieve complete transparency into how these processes are working in real life. On top of the data visualization component of Process Mining, the latest machine learning algorithms work to make proactive recommendations for improvement within processes, building on past use cases and acting as an automated business consultant. Think of the technology as a combination of a MRI and doctor for your supply chain, providing unbiased visibility and diagnostic capability, in real-time.

Leveling the playing field and staying competitive

Amazon has been a stormcloud on the horizon for retailers for years, and now that the storm has arrived, itโ€™s not just retailers who need to worry. Supply chain efficiency has been key to Amazonโ€™s success, and that same success threatens to drive other businesses into extinction.

If you think that making your supply chain as efficient as Amazonโ€™s is an unattainable feat, itโ€™s not. Process Mining empowers your organization to uncover and repair hidden inefficiencies, working in real-time to provide visibility in your supply chain. The technology uncovers inefficiencies, provides solutions, and ensures that โ€œas designedโ€ processes function as they are intended.

Your business is existing in the โ€œAge of Amazon,โ€ and itโ€™s time to level the playing field.

Want to learn more about how Process Mining can help your business? Click here to request a demo!

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