The manufacturing supply chain is, by definition, the epitome of complexity. There are changing demands for product, varying levels of lead times for supplies, the balancing of production capacity, and logistical bottlenecks. Add in a global pandemic, a raw materials shortage, and a ship wedged across the Suez Canal and global supply chain operations can become a real business quagmire.
“It’s a big Rubik’s cube,” says Adrian Wood, director of strategy and marketing for Dassault Systemes’ Delmia software brand. “Companies are trying to get the best forecast of supply and demand and crunch that into a strategic plan. It’s an optimization problem that companies today normally solve through Excel and manual processes.”
But there’s an evolution taking place as companies wake up to the fact that they must move away from manual processes and start automating aspects of their supply chain. That doesn’t mean throwing a robot into the mix; rather, it requires the creation of a virtual replica of operations to predict outcomes that can be preemptively acted upon.
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