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By Denise Byers, Client Executive Partner at Aera Technology

Wicked problems are undermining sales and operations planning (S&OP) and the supply chain. They are characterized by extreme complexity and deep root causes that defy conventional solutions.

As described by the Harvard Business Review, wicked problems are “the opposite of hard but ordinary problems, which people can solve in a finite time period by applying standard techniques. Not only do conventional processes fail to tackle wicked problems, but they may exacerbate situations by generating undesirable consequences.” That’s exactly what’s been happening with S&OP programs at large global companies in CPG, industrial, pharmaceutical and other industries. Companies are falling short in their efforts to fulfill S&OP objectives — to connect back-end supply chain sourcing, production and distribution processes with external-facing sales, marketing and customer management ultimately suffering from low S&OP maturity levels. …


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by Arnaud Morvan, Senior Engagement Director at Aera Technology

Walmart’s announcement last year that it would toughen up its on-time, in-full (OTIF) delivery requirements sent a chill through supply chain executives at CPG companies doing business with the world’s largest retailer.

Under the new requirements, Walmart’s thousands of suppliers may face a 3 percent fine on the cost of goods if they don’t deliver full orders within a specified one- or two-day window 85 percent of the time.

With Walmart being just one of many retailers that impose penalties when OTIF targets aren’t met, millions of dollars in potential fines are on the line. …


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by Stephanie Glass, Head of Product Marketing for Cognitive Skills at Aera Technology

Artificial intelligence is in its infancy. Businesses are eager to hire people who can help them adapt and then move ahead.

Artificial intelligence is already reshaping society as we know it in both business and consumer realms. Early use cases with Alexa, autonomous vehicles and AI-driven supply chains provide just a glimpse of the disruption that AI is poised to deliver in the near future and for years to come.

Yet despite all the AI hype and initial successes, it remains in its infancy. That makes now the ideal time for young people to build the knowledge, skill sets and connections they need to capitalize on the fast-growing market for AI jobs and build a strong AI career. …


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by Kaushal Dave, Vice President of Cognitive (AI) Solutions, Aera Technology

The problems that pervade inventory management are well known: Excess inventory languished in warehouses, tying up millions of dollars in working capital. Stock shortages cut into margins and hurt brand image. Companies face hefty penalties from buyers if they can’t meet thresholds in service level contracts on time and in full.

The solution, however, has remained elusive — and not for lack of effort or investment. …


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by Emily Hallowell, Chief People Officer at Aera Technology

The results of LinkedIn’s latest Emerging Jobs Report in December came as little surprise to those of us in the AI space — machine learning engineers and data scientists are the two fastest-growing new jobs in the U.S.

And that’s not just in the technology industry. LinkedIn’s report tracks the full range of jobs across all sectors, from real estate to health care, retail, manufacturing, and travel. …


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by Shariq Mansoor, CTO and Founder of Aera Technology

You have an appointment in 90 minutes. It’s a simple half-hour drive down the freeway, so you’re in no great rush. Then Google sends a notification to your phone: It’s time to leave. A traffic jam has left your route badly backed up.

Perhaps you’ll depart immediately, or assess Google’s recommendations for alternative routes. Either way, you’re making an informed, intelligent decision based on artificial intelligence. Google’s AI-based cognitive machines learn from your behavior and provide helpful recommendations that make your life easier.

Such innovations from Google and others, are fundamentally reshaping consumer lives. They cut out clutter and let us focus on what’s most important. We’re able to make smarter decisions and better use of our time. …


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by Kaushal Dave, Vice President of Cognitive (AI) Solutions at Aera Technology

The modern global supply chain is defined by scale — billions of transactions and terabytes of data across multiple systems, with businesses generating more every moment. Traditional supply chain management (SCM) practices are quickly being outmatched by the ceaseless onslaught of information.

When a problem arises with inventory costs or availability, financial and demand planners dive into Excel or legacy SCM tools in an attempt to pinpoint the issues. This approach is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. …


by Stephanie Glass, Head of Product Marketing for Cognitive Skills at Aera Technology

Digital transformation has become a critical imperative to address the weak link of ATP/CTP in the pharma supply chain

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Promise dates for delivery of drugs to pharmacies and healthcare providers have traditionally been little more than guesswork. The problem is only worsening as pharmaceutical manufacturers struggle with growing complexity across a highly volatile global supply chain.

The stakes are high. Pharmaceutical companies suffer lost revenue and dissatisfaction among healthcare provider customers when drugs aren’t delivered on time and in full. …


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Digital transformation is a harbinger of active and integral business growth

by Kaushal Dave, Vice President of Cognitive (AI) Solutions at Aera Technology

The global pharmaceutical market has long passed the $1 trillion mark and is projected to grow at 6.3 percent CAGR through 2022. Pharma supply chains are complex, highly regulated, and reach a customer base rivaled by few. The increased access to copious amounts of data and the rise of data-driven technologies­ — including artificial intelligence, IoT, and cognitive computing — are transforming capabilities to manage this massive network of manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies and patients.

The businesses that will ultimately thrive are those at the forefront of digital transformation, capitalizing on these new technologies — while those who do not will lag. For 2018 and beyond, the pharma supply chain will need to venture into the world of digital transformation. …


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by Stephanie Glass, Head of Product Marketing for Cognitive Skills at Aera Technology

The complexities of demand forecasting have bedeviled businesses for decades. Consider these lessons from 1970s and ’80s, at the dawn of enterprise computing, as outlined in the Harvard Business Review:

· U.S. electric utilities lost millions in the 1970s and ’80s after investing in new power plants based on forecasts that demand would rise 7 percent a year. In fact, demand grew a mere 2 percent a year.

· In 1980–81, the petroleum industry invested $500 billion in infrastructure and services, only to suffer massive losses when projections for higher oil demand didn’t materialize, triggering an industry-wide price collapse. …

About

Aera Technology

Aera is the cognitive operating system that enables the Self-Driving Enterprise.

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