Good returns: Users report early dividends from Infosys-Microsoft supply chain solutions
Early adopters of a Microsoft-based supply chain visibility software suite developed by IT services firm Infosys say they are reaping substantial bottom-line benefits.
Early adopters of a Microsoft-based supply chain visibility software suite developed by IT services firm Infosys AMR Research .
In a recent article published on the AMR Web site, analysts Jane Barnett and Noha Tohamy said reports from companies that have deployed the solution are seeing these improvements:
• A major consumer electronics firm slashing on-hand inventory by 20 percent;
• A semiconductor company cutting order lead times in half; and
• An automotive systems manufacturer saving $1 million annually by optimizing its IT infrastructure.
The analysts said the new Infosys suite targets a glaring need in the market for tools that “offer a better supply chain user experience and foster collaboration across the enterprise.”
Infosys and Microsoft announced a formal alliance for marketing the new solution in January. The alliance will focus initially on the high-tech manufacturing sector, but will eventually target all manufacturers, Sanjay Jalona, VP, high-tech manufacturing vertical, Infosys, told Manufacturing Business Technology
Jalona said Infosys was convinced of the need for the solution after a survey of manufacturers in the U.S., Japan, and Germany revealed that a majority of business decision makers within high-tech companies said the
The biggest problem—and the one the joint Infosys-Microsoft solution is designed to tackle—is gaining access to the right data to make timely business decisions, Jalona said. According to the Infosys survey, the average supply chain professional spends 25 percent of his or her time looking for and manipulating supply chain data to make it useful for making decisions.
Jalona said Infosys used Microsoft technology such as SharePoint Server and SQL Server to create a set of solutions that can sit on top of a manufacturers’ ERP and supply chain applications and automate the process of locating and formatting data that supply chain professionals need to make quick business decisions.
To simplify the user experience, Jalona said, Infosys is developing a set of workbenches to help manufacturers tackle specific supply chain functions such as:
• Managing demand;
• Maintaining visibility of inventory;
• Optimizing procurement; and
• Providing after-sales customer service.
The service management and procurement workbenches are on the market, and being used by early adopters, Jalona said. Other workbenches are expected to be released later this year.
The workbenches contain what Jalona described as “pre-built intellectually property” from Infosys that includes process frameworks, analytical tools, and key performance indicator scorecards tailored to specific supply chain roles. He said the solutions also include proprietary connectors developed jointly by Infosys and Microsoft to facilitate integration with a company’s existing ERP and supply chain applications.
In addition to improving internal decision-making, Jalona says the added visibility these systems provide will
Infosys is expected to provide any consulting help customers need in configuring, deploying, and maintaining the solutions.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.