Microsoft Touts Supply Chain Reinvention

Peter Breen
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Microsoft Corp. is reinventing its complex supply chain to ensure that product supply keeps up with demand for its most popular products. 

The consumer goods area of the technology giant has been publicizing the work it's been doing recently with SAP Ariba and Intrigo Systems to "create a scalable, modern platform to support the efficient, cost-effective manufacturing of its most popular products" such as Microsoft Xbox and Surface.

“At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. And our strategy to achieve this is to build best-in-class systems and platforms and productivity systems,” said Ali Khaki, principal PM of supply chain engineering for Microsoft. “When we looked at our supply chain, it was clear we needed to build a flexible, scalable platform that could support the complexity of our hardware business.”

And it is using SAP Ariba solutions for direct spend to do it. “The Ariba Network is the backbone for Xbox and Surface line of products supply chain,” Khaki said.

Through the Ariba Network and the cloud-based applications delivered on it, Microsoft has created a platform from which it can safely and easily collaborate with multiple tiers of contract manufacturers and suppliers across key planning and execution processes, including sharing production forecasts, orders, quality, and inventory information; anticipating and resolving supply assurance problems; and onboarding suppliers.

Since implementing the solutions with support from Intrigo, Microsoft has:

  • Enabled multi-tier planning and collaboration with contract manufacturers and suppliers.
  • Reduced the supplier commit process from three days to 30 minutes.
  • Cut the time it takes to onboard suppliers from four months to four days.
  • Standardized vendor engagement flat files and a web-user interface.

“It’s a very clear and transparent process because of all the communication that happens within the SAP Ariba system itself,” Khaki said. “It has allowed us to create a very positive user experience for everyone involved.”

An SAP partner, Intrigo Systems provides advisory, implementation, and managed services. The company's leadership team collectively has roughly 120 successful SAP software implementations to its credit. Clients include Dolby, Nike, Clorox and Albemarle.