The rise of digital transformation has led to an increased demand for automation and efficiency in business processes.
Microsoft Power Platform, a low-code development environment, has emerged as a popular tool for businesses to build custom applications and automate workflows. In this article, we will explore how the suite of Power Platform applications are replacing Excel and automating supply chain processes in a cost-effective way.
Excel has been a trusted tool for businesses to manage data and perform calculations for decades. However, as businesses have grown in complexity, Excel has started to show its limitations. Excel requires manual data entry, and as the volume of data grows, it becomes more challenging to manage and process the data accurately. Additionally, Excel lacks the ability to automate workflows and integrate with other systems, leading to inefficiencies and errors.
The Microsoft Power Platform suite of applications, including Power Apps and Power Automate, provide a solution to these limitations by allowing businesses to build custom applications that can automate workflows, integrate with other systems, and manage data effectively. With Power Apps, businesses can create customised forms, dashboards, and reports that can be accessed by users across the organisation. Power Apps enable businesses to digitise manual processes and improve visibility into their operations, leading to better decision-making and increased efficiency.
Supply chain processes are an area where Microsoft Power Apps can provide significant benefits.
Supply chain management involves the coordination of activities from procurement to delivery, and often involves multiple parties, such as suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. These processes are often complex, and require accurate and timely data to ensure the efficient movement of goods.
Power Platform can help automate and streamline supply chain processes by digitising manual processes and integrating with other systems. For example, businesses can use Power Pages to create custom forms for suppliers to submit purchase orders, which can then be automatically routed to the appropriate departments for approval. Power Apps can also integrate with other systems, such as inventory management and transportation management systems, to provide real-time data and visibility into the supply chain.
Power Platform and supply chain analytics.
Power BI can be used to create custom dashboards and reports that provide insights into key performance indicators (KPIs) such as inventory levels, lead times, and on-time delivery rates. These KPIs can be used to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to optimise supply chain processes.
Power Automate and Dataverse are replacing Excel as a tool for managing data and automating workflows. Together with Power BI, they provide businesses with the ability to digitise manual processes, integrate with other systems, and provide real-time data and visibility into their operations. In the context of supply chain management, Power Applications can provide significant benefits by automating and streamlining processes, providing analytics and insights, and improving decision-making.
Power Automate and Demand Planning & Replenishment
Microsoft Power Automate is a powerful tool that enables businesses to automate repetitive tasks and processes. In the context of demand planning and replenishment, Power Automate can be used to replace Excel and provide more efficient and accurate processes. Let's explore how Power Automate can be used in demand planning and replenishment.
Demand planning is the process of forecasting customer demand for a product or service. The objective of demand planning is to ensure that the business has the right amount of inventory to meet customer demand without overstocking. In many organisations, demand planning is still performed using Excel, copying and pasting data from multiple systems. However, as the volume of data has grown, the limitations of Excel have become more apparent. Excel requires manual data entry and is prone to errors, leading to inaccurate forecasts.
Power Automate can automate the demand planning process by integrating with other systems and automating data entry. For example, Power Automate can be used to automatically import sales data from a point-of-sale system, eliminating the need for manual data entry. Power Automate can also be used to automate the process of updating forecasts, reducing the risk of errors and ensuring that the business has accurate forecasts. From a replenishment perspective, Power Automate can be used to automatically generate purchase orders based on a set of pre-defined business rules, improving the efficiency of the process and allowing planning team members to concentrate efforts on more important products.
Power Pages ability to capture and automate external data capture and reporting
Another component of Power Platform is Power Pages, which allows users to create customised, low-code websites that can capture data from external stakeholders, such as suppliers and customers, and generate automated communications and reporting. For example, a custom Power Page can be created to capture data from suppliers regarding purchase orders, delivery dates, and inventory levels. The data can be automatically integrated with other internal systems, such as inventory management or transportation management systems, to provide real-time data and visibility into the supply chain.
Once the data has been captured, Power Pages can generate automated communications, such as purchase order confirmations, shipping notifications, and invoices. These communications can be customised to meet the specific needs of the business and can be sent automatically to the appropriate teams, reducing the need for manual data entry and communication.
Low-code applications to improve supply chain processes will continue to grow
With current high levels of inflation and uncertainty, businesses have become more cautious with investments, including large, expensive IT upgrades. However, staying stagnant creates its own risks, including becoming unproductive and falling behind the competition. In this environment, low-code environments such as Microsoft Power Platform provide an opportunity for businesses to keep improving their supply chain processes without significant investment in time and effort to implement proprietary software or upgrade ERP systems.