How Blue Yonder is reshaping the supply chain

(Source: Bigstock.)

Digital supply chain and omnichannel commerce fulfilment provider Blue Yonder is making strong moves to drive innovation and shape the future of retail supply chains with its plans to further leverage generative artificial intelligence (AI), the data cloud, and infinite computing power into its systems.

As the company hits 25 years since its incorporation in Australia (originally as JDA Software Group) – and in the wake of its announcement earlier this year of plans to invest up to US$1 billion in product innovations over the next three years – the global company is now preparing to onboard 1000 employees within the next 12–18 months to help bring its vision to life.

“What makes us unique is our complete end-to-end capability, tying consumer insights into executable plans,” says Brett Egglestone, Blue Yonder’s senior director of retail strategy for Asia Pacific. “We are utilising our platform, data cloud and generative AI to unify supply chain data, accelerate decision making and enhance visibility across the ecosystem. We are also partnering with our parent company Panasonic Connect to further enhance our capabilities by weaving edge data to challenge the paradigm. In addition, our investment in Microsoft Azure allows us to host our solutions in a pure native SaaS environment. 

“It’s a combination of technical investment and making tweaks and adjustments to our functional roadmap, so the capacities within our solutions will be extremely strong and rich. Predominantly, it’s moving to real-time digital twin supply chain in the cloud, providing the users with a guided experience on how to deliver optimal business outcomes, while reducing total cost of ownership and accelerating time to value.”

On the generative AI front, Blue Yonder is bringing together the natural language capabilities of LLMs and the depth of its supply chain solvers to address supply chain challenges, delivering dynamic decision-making and orchestration. Integrated within the Luminate Platform, Blue Yonder’s AI assistant tool will allow users to query in natural language, then pull data from all relevant and permissible sources, determine correlations, and serve up in an easy-to-consume format all relevant data along with insights and recommendations to guide the next steps and decision making.

Blue Yonder is partnering with data cloud company Snowflake to enable joint customers to access, share and consume live governed data, industry-specific datasets and data services at scale – without the latency, cost and effort required with technical integrations across applications or with traditional data marketplaces. Bringing together Blue Yonder’s Luminate Platform and the Snowflake Data Cloud empowers joint customers with end-to-end visibility into their supply chain for faster, more accurate and informed decision making. And Blue Yonder’s advanced solutions can easily ingest this data to facilitate upstream and downstream visibility, control and responsiveness across the entire supply chain in near real time.

Indications are that Blue Yonder will continue to enhance its proprietary AI, ML and predictive analytics. Tapping into the infinite computing power of the world’s largest elastic supercomputer – the internet – customers will be able to run hundreds of simulations in minutes, collapsing the time horizon between planning and execution, resulting in incredibly smart, fast, agile, and responsive supply chains. The company is also looking at a longer-term vision of quantum computing, which promises computational speeds unparalleled in history, as a potential game-changer in revolutionising scenario analysis and decision-making speed. 

These developments highlight a strategic focus on modernising supply chain operations undertaken by Blue Yonder’s new executive leadership team, which took the reins a year ago.

“Our new executive leadership team has been in the supply chain industry for more than 30 years,” explains Egglestone. “They’ve deployed software, they’ve come from IT environments, from retail environments and from 3PL environments – so they have a very strong understanding of what’s required within the industry, particularly with regards to the technological vision they’ve laid out that we’re currently executing.”

Blue Yonder’s moves to substantially advance its service capacities are in part a response to the numerous supply chain disruptions that have hit the retail industry over recent years, including Covid-19 and Black Swan events.

“Our focus has been predicting events,” explains Egglestone. “We’ve concentrated on demand – what consumers want, when and where. We start with machine learning to predict what’s going to happen with demand, factoring in causal events such as how weather patterns or sports events alter shopping behaviour. But then we also push back via our Control Tower product, which offers visibility throughout the supply chain, including offshore manufacturers and suppliers, taking IoT sensing data into account as well. If we have ships that are crossing the Indian Ocean, are they going to be delayed? Is there a monsoon that’s coming through? What does that disruption look like, and what are the alternatives to be able to complete that supply chain procurement? We look at these kinds of challenges from both business and technical perspectives, which empowers business users to make informed decisions, and potentially to execute those decisions through AI. That also frees up business users to focus more on the exceptions and the outliers that are taking place within the supply chain.”

In bringing together cutting-edge software and strategic collaborations, the company’s vision is coming to life. 

“The goal that we expect to achieve, and that we are already achieving with a few pilot customers, is a supply chain operating system for the world,” says Egglestone. “The business users are looking at the outliers and the exceptions as to what’s taking place, but our overall goal is to have a real sense of demand, and to push that back through the supply chain and ensure that’s what’s being delivered. And if anything happens, the system can sense it automatically and make corrections either with or without human intervention. That’s really what our goal is, as a supply chain organisation.”

For more information about Blue Yonder, visit