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Amazon cloud computing unit rolls out supply chain application

Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), the cloud computing arm of Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) launched on Tuesday a supply chain management application it said will eliminate the need for businesses to use multiple systems and vendors to access critical network data.

The application, called AWS Supply Chain, was introduced at the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. According to AWS, the machine learning-powered application automatically combines and analyzes data across multiple supply chain systems, creating what it calls a “unified data lake.”

Currently, businesses seeking real-time visibility into their network must build custom integrations across a range of supply chain and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. These projects require expensive third-party engagements and long-term development cycles, AWS said. In addition, these disparate systems struggle to detect patterns that reveal supply chain problems as they occur, AWS said.

“Without real-time context, businesses rely on outdated information or best guesses that make it difficult to respond effectively to unexpected issues. Even when a business has identified the most impactful problems and decided what to do next, supply chain teams often coordinate the resolution across multiple phone calls and emails — without all the needed information to resolve the issue,” AWS said in a statement announcing the rollout.

The new application enables users to extract and aggregate data from multiple ERP and supply chain management systems, according to AWS. The application then maps the information, highlighting current inventory selection and quantity at each location, the Amazon unit said.

“Inventory managers, demand planners, and supply chain leaders can view machine learning-generated insights for potential inventory shortages or delays, and create watchlists to receive alerts to take action as risks appear,” AWS said. Once a risk is identified, the application will provide recommended actions such as moving inventory between locations, the unit said.

The application will calculate the effectiveness of remedial steps based on risk, the distance between facilities and the sustainability impact, AWS said.

The traditional approach of connecting data between different supply chain solutions has “inhibited [users’] ability to quickly see and respond to potential supply chain disruptions,” said Diego Pantoja-Navajas, vice president of AWS Supply Chain, in the statement. The new application “aggregates this data and provides visual, interactive dashboards that provide the insights and recommendations customers need to take actions toward more resilient supply chains,” he said.