Microsoft and SAS announced a new partnership to integrate SAS’ analytical tools with Microsoft Azure, which is now the preferred provider for the SAS Cloud.
Microsoft and FedEx announced they will form a partnership, that the pair believe could help “transform commerce” through FedEx’s logistics network and Microsoft’s cloud. Read more
Coles has signed a strategic partnership with Microsoft to use cloud-based technology to transform shopping for customers, make life easier for workers and improve productivity across the business.
This is the latest in a series of global partnerships and developments through which Coles is building its technology and digital capability.
The long-term strategic partnership is founded on Microsoft Azure becoming Coles’ cloud platform, which will enable Coles to drive simplicity and efficiency in its operations by migrating its applications to Azure.
Together with Microsoft, Coles is building an enterprise data platform in Azure that will power advanced analytics across Coles and enable the rapid deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to drive innovation in physical stores and through the supply chain.
The use of Azure AI services will improve Coles’ ability to use a variety of customer data to drive decision making and better tailor its range to meet the needs of customers and how they like to shop. These decisions will be based on deeper data analysis from its proprietary research, Flybuys and customer transactions.
In addition to more personalised customer service, a key part of Coles’ Smarter Selling strategy is in its stores, where workers will be provided with a range of new tools that will transform how they work, such as removing manual tasks for repetitive activities like stock management and price markdowns. These changes are designed to boost productivity and allow them to focus on the things that matter most to customers.
Coles’ technology and digital capability
Recent announcements from Coles have included:
Oct 5, 2018: Two new ambient automated distribution centres to be built by German automation specialist Witron as part of the modernisation of Coles’ supply chain.
Feb 12, 2019: Coles implementing SAP systems to transform store support functions in the areas of HR, indirect procurement and financial reporting.
Mar 1, 2019: Coles partners with Optus to rollout a high-speed network, driving store efficiencies and innovation.
Mar 26, 2019: Coles enters partnership with Ocado to bring its online grocery platform, automated fulfilment and home delivery to Australia.
GS1 has announced a collaboration with IBM and Microsoft to leverage GS1 standards in their enterprise blockchain applications for supply chain clients.
GS1’s global standards for identification and structured data enable blockchain network users to scale enterprise adoption and maintain a single, shared version of the truth about supply chain and logistics events — increasing data integrity and trust between parties, and reducing data duplication and reconciliation.
GS1 Australia’s executive director and chief executive officer Maria Palazzolo said: “Blockchain, like any other technology designed to exchange data across organisations, must be established on strong foundations. At its core, any supply chain implementation needs to be based on all involved parties agreeing on a common way to uniquely identify any item, location, shipment, consignment, asset or any other ‘thing’ to which blockchain transactions relate.
“Trading partners must also adhere to common data definitions to ensure all parties in the chain can correctly interpret, and integrate, the ‘meaning’ of data in the blockchain. This is what GS1 has been doing for over 40 years across the globe.”
Data stored or referenced by blockchain networks can be structured for shared communications and interoperability through the use of standards. For example, the GS1 and ISO open standards of Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) and Core Business Vocabulary (CBV) enable standardised exchange of data and item-level tracking.
Peter Carter from Data61 (CSIRO) said: “A blockchain is a generic technology platform. The data we store in the blockchain still needs to follow supply chain data standards, and integrate with existing systems that use those standards. We have already started research into the use of GS1 EPCIS standards on blockchain, and we are exploring how we can integrate smart sensors and packaging into the supply chain on blockchain.”
Global businesses use standards in the supply chain
GS1 standards offer global businesses like Walmart the ability to expand blockchain networks to suppliers, distributors and other ecosystem partners, unlocking the business value of data sharing, transparency, visibility and trust. IBM and Walmart have successfully used blockchain technology in a pilot test to enhance the traceability of two food commodities in two different countries: mangoes in the US and pork in China.
“Our pilot projects in the US and China demonstrated that blockchain can strengthen existing food system safeguards by improving traceability. Using blockchain, we were able to track a product from retail shelf back through every stage of the supply chain, right to the farm gate, in seconds instead of days or weeks,” said Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety at Walmart. “Building blockchain traceability on a common set of standards can help us scale across our complex, global supply chain and build networks based on transparency and trust.”
“One of the key benefits to blockchain in the enterprise is the trust it delivers, which enables more efficient and complete sharing of the critical data that drives enterprise transactions. By removing the barriers that can be caused from disparate entry systems, that trust is solidified even further,” said Brigid McDermott, vice president, blockchain business development, IBM. “That’s why we are working with clients like Walmart and collaborating with other industry leaders to implement GS1 open standards into the work that we do.”
“Leveraging existing GS1 standards to structure event information will enable blockchain-based supply chain implementations to be more interoperable and will simplify the capture and description of events that are written against smart contracts,” said Yorke Rhodes III, global business strategist, Blockchain, Microsoft. “Collaborating with partners to implement solutions on blockchain using standards already in place for item-level tracking is the quickest path to production.”
Online logistics management platform Shippit has appointed Dominic Culbert as its Head of Logistics.
Culbert joins Shippit from his most recent role as the Group Logistics and Delivery Solutions Manager at Mysale Group, where he oversaw the implementation and setup of OzSale’s international and domestic delivery network, comprising of over 65 shipping lanes across 10 countries.
Prior to this, he was Head of Distribution at BCP Marketing Services and developed supply chain solutions for Microsoft, Novell, Cisco, Palm, and Apple.
With over 18 years of experience in ecommerce logistics, Culbert will be responsible for driving the Shippit’s logistics strategy as it strengthens its position in Australia and expands into the APAC market.
“When it comes to managing the end-to-end shipping process, Shippit is doing it better than anyone else in the space, which is what attracted me to the role,” said Culbert. “I’m excited about further developing and growing their platform.
“I see numerous opportunities to drive improvement in ecommerce shipping around tracking, visibility and cost savings, particularly in the Asian markets, which are growing in leaps and bounds.
“Shippit has the ability to fill a niche in this region where customers want cost effective, seamless international solutions. For us that means expanding our offering such as adding new carriers and new capabilities to cater to the needs of global retailers.”
“Locally, a majority of companies aren’t well informed about how to optimise their shipping. A big part of our role will be educating retailers about the variety of shipping options available and then improving and broadening our service to continue to meet our customers’ needs.”
Shippit Co-founder, Will On, said the hire was a strategic part of Shippit’s vision and would help to drive its growth trajectory.
“This marks a major milestone for our business,” said On. “Dominic’s appointment is amongst a number of strategic positions we have created. He was instrumental in the global success of OzSale and his experience is second to none. We couldn’t be more fortunate to have him on board to join us in driving the vision we have set for Shippit.”