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11/15/2022

Kraft Heinz Bets (Even) Bigger On Supply Chain Visibility

Liz Dominguez
Managing Editor
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Heinz ketchup bottle on shelf

Kraft Heinz is moving forward with its Microsoft partnership, now previewing the solution provider’s new Supply Chain Center, expected to provide AI-backed visibility and the flexibility to adopt capabilities meeting the consumer goods company's specific needs.

A part of Microsoft’s new Supply Chain Platform, the center enables custom workflows, data reporting, and applications that connect to existing supply chain systems.

Kraft Heinz first tapped into Microsoft technology in April to migrate much of its global data center assets to Azure and its ERP software to SAP on Azure. Through this new platform, Kraft Heinz can integrate and centralize these solutions for a more cohesive view of its supply chain efforts.

“Our collaboration with Microsoft is a critical piece of our supply chain transformation. The platform gives our team the ability to be more agile — assessing risk and opportunities faster than ever before,” said Mitch Arends, SVP, head of operations, Kraft Heinz North America. “Simply put, it provides the end-to-end visibility we need to keep our products on people’s tables across North America, and there’s nothing more important.” 

Microsoft has announced several preview partners, including consumer electronics company iFit, cheese and dairy brand Tillamook, and Mexican multinational company Grupo Bimbo. 

Robert Critchley, iFit VP of transportation and warehousing, said it's optimizing transportation costs by leveraging the AI-fueled capabilities, particularly with inventory allocation. “The actionable insights from the Supply Chain Platform trigger freight planning and execution to support order fulfillment for our customers,” he added.

Tapping Into AI-Powered Tech

Among the new capabilities are pre-built modules (for existing Dynamics 235 Supply Chain Management customers) that will help Kraft Heinz tackle obstacles across supply and order fulfillment. These include supply and demand insights where AI models predict constraints and shortages to prepare for or avoid out-of-stock situations. Additionally, Kraft Heinz will be able to access smart news insights — historical data and real-world information related to product demand. 

The tech’s order management module automates the fulfillment process, tapping into real-time inventory data, AI, and machine learning. And with Teams integration, Kraft Heinz can work gauge when it needs to secure new supply sources or discuss options with existing external suppliers due to constraints. All capabilities run off Dataverse, which centralizes analytics and will help Kraft Heinz drive informed actions across the supply chain.

Additional solutions can be accessed through the platform’s partner modules as well. 

“Businesses are dealing with petabytes of data spread across legacy systems, ERP, supply chain management, and point solutions, resulting in a fragmented view of the supply chain,” said Charles Lamanna, corporate VP, Microsoft Business Applications and Platform. “Supply chain agility and resilience are directly tied to how well organizations connect and orchestrate their data across all relevant systems. The Microsoft Supply Chain Platform and Supply Chain Center enable organizations to make the most of their existing investments to gain insights and act quickly.”

Editor’s Take

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AI-powered supply chain

Kraft Heinz’s investment in Microsoft technology is one of its largest to date and the company has already seen results across promotions, planning, and innovation, according to Miguel Patricio, Kraft Heinz CEO.

The company’s supply chain transformation ties into a larger strategy to improve data visibility and communication across its departments. In order to reduce fragmented efforts, the company recently created a new head of R&D role to lead the brand’s innovation strategy.

Using a hub-and-spoke approach to the supply chain will help Kraft Heinz centralize all of its data and efforts to make more informed, streamlined decisions backed by the power of artificial intelligence. 

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