The Infosys global supply chain management blog enables leaner supply chains through process and IT related interventions. Discuss the latest trends and solutions across the supply chain management landscape.

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October 18, 2012

Mapping Your Way To Faster Shopping

"Google's Indoor Maps" have opened a whole new opportunity to retailers whereby they can enable their in-store customers to get quick and easy access to the products that they're looking for. In brief, "Google's Indoor Maps" can allow in-store customers to find their way within this indoor location, similar to how they would have used a GPS to navigate while driving on road.

What if we integrate these Google Indoor Maps with a Retailer's consumer mobile application (app) and tag the retail store's indoor aisles by "Product Categories" for a large format store? What if we take this tagging to a more granular level, going down to category of products available, and then again by brands? This seems to be just the beginning of a thought process whereby retailers can allow their patrons to directly reach out for the product that they are looking for; rather than wandering through store departments or searching for a store associate. This would save the average shopper some time and a lot of frustration giving her more time to probably shop better, and who may be shop more!

One of the best supporting features on Google floor maps is the ability to guide the user by individual floor's plans, whereby a large multi-level retail stores can also be covered easily and therefore we feel that some of the immediate exploits can be in the large scale Store or say Super Centre.

Let us try to understand how one such Retailer's app may make the life much simpler and the shopping experience much better for the customer. Assume a scenario where our loyal Customer "Louise" is entering such a Large Super Centre for her weekly purchases. Her shopping list typically runs across several store departments like fresh produce, dry grocery, apparel, cleaning-supplies, bath-ware, electronics and sports-goods. Soon after she has parked at the store, Louise logs-in to the Retailer's native Mobile app on her smart phone. The Retailer's app, upon invocation, detects her geographical location and the store that she is visiting today via Location Based Services (LBS) wherein this specific store's latest tagged maps can be pulled and displayed on Louise's phone's screen.

To make the whole shopping trip faster, Louise has keyed in the shopping-list beforehand into the app and a route map is prepared for her upon her check-in into the store via this app. This route map is based on the latest positioning of shelves/racks in the store.  Such a guided walk cuts down the Louise's walk through the aisles a short, easy and a comfortable one.  

Louise was looking for a shirt for her son, but the size 'small' is not present on the shelf today... is the store carrying it currently? No problem... the check would be a quick one by Louise quickly getting to know this via her mobile app. Moreover, if it is not available in store right now, the app prompts her with an easy and quick site to store order which she can pick up during her next shopping trip.

Another use for this app+Google's Indoor maps eco-system can be to integrate with the floor maps and publish current vacancies/next available time slots/expected wait times in Large Store's sub stores like ophthalmologist shops, saloons etc.

This Large Super Centre's in-house sub-stores can publish a status of a vacant customer spots/seat available or unavailability of the same on the app's floor map. A quick view of the available slots will give Louise an idea whether she needs to do the shopping first or opt for a quick visit to the hair salon first. 

While these are just some of the initial thoughts, when pursued actively this specific technology can be utilized in umpteen ways to boost the store sales and above all to guarantee customer satisfaction.  Some more thoughts can be to allow customer's purchase/return history and loyalty points to be utilized to highlight offers/deals when customer is approaching a specific aisle or when she has been looking for a specific product for some time. Allowing customers to "check in" into stores and also "check-in" their shopping lists for a quick availability check or even ready-to-go counter delivery is another possibility already being explored by many retailers. Sky would be the limit when one starts documenting the concept of such a solution/product ... better, if done from a customer's point of view.

October 8, 2012

One Place for all Types of Business Contracts across Enterprise

In today's Contract Management world Organizations are looking to have one system which can maintain contracts for both Buy side business and Sell side business, a single repository which meets all business and compliance requirements relevant to the Contract. So now the questions arises which CLM product does support such kind of an architecture which also integrates with other ERP applications, SAP CLM is one of the best breed CLM product which meets the slated requirements that organizations are looking for.

Like all major CLM products, SAP CLM's major focus is on buy side functionalities to have a streamlined contract creation, review, approval, and renewal processes, reducing the cycle time. But today many organizations are looking for having sell side contracts built in the CLM product to

1) Streamline contract creation, review, approval, and renewal processes, reducing total cycle time
2) Having one system for sales contract, eliminating redundant IT and administrative costs.
3) Having contract renewals so that the revenue is captured. Generate incremental revenue through sales of service plans or add-on products
4) Use standard templates which are designed by the business, enforcing higher levels of consistency and business governance through all levels of selling.

But the major challenge is having both these types of contracts built in one system. Here is my perspective of how this can be done be done in SAP CLM. In SAP CLM there is a concept called "context" which is used to segregate the master data and configuration within a single E-Sourcing instance.   There are three levels of contexts - System Context, Enterprise Context, and Company Context.  The majority of master data and resource localization related to sell-side contracts are managed at the Enterprise Context level.     Thus, if you would like to segregate master data (e.g. suppliers / customers / material masters) for Procurement and Sales organizations, you can define two separate enterprise contexts (one for Procurement and another for Sales) and configure resource localizations within each enterprise context.

This will allow having a completely segregated work area for each group within a single instance.  The following are two commonly used implementations of the contexts to manage procurement and sales contracts.
1) System Context:    Procurement and Sales share all the master data and clause / contract library content.   -->  Localize resources to a neutral terms   (e.g. Business Partners, Contract Managers, etc.) 
2) System Context with 2 Enterprise Contexts:   Procurement and Sales contracts are completely segregated.  -->  Localize resources within each enterprise context.   (Procurement Enterprise Context -->   Buyer, Suppliers, etc.)   (Sales Enterprise Context --> Sales rep, Customers, etc.)

My approach would be to go with the second option

Both the buy side and sell side processes are different as the departments are separated within the organizations and they utilize different systems to obtain the same outcome. So for both the departments to achieve common goal they need to have one system. But from the compliance perspective the challenge is to have Data Isolation so which data do we want to be segregated if we have to have one system for both buy side and sell side.

1) All the reports which brings Business intelligence that will provide management with the right operational and strategic data to make better decisions
2) Screen layout and workbench structure would be different
3) Email messages that are sent to the each business groups would be different
4) Treatment of business partners would be different
5) Agreement templates would be different to govern and manage adherence to approved standard terms and conditions.

But by providing one system the top executive level visibility into every contract can be enterprise-wide.

October 1, 2012

Oracle based Demand to Deliver Capabilities for High Tech Industries

Guest Post by

Rajeev Ranjan, Global Practice Head, Oracle Practice in Manufacturing Vertical, Infosys Limited

Infosys, a named Diamond sponsor, will have a major presence and will premiere its Oracle specific service and technology offerings. One of these capabilities is termed Demand to Deliver (D2D) which has been initially tailored to address supply chain business process and information technology challenges within the high tech and consumer electronics industry. I recently had the opportunity to be interviewed specifically regarding packaged D2D capabilities by Bob Ferrari, the executive editor of Supply Chain Matters blog.

In this interview, I have primarily talked about business challenges for the high tech industry, the specific services which Infosys provides in the bundling of D2D capability, and why did Infosys partner with Oracle to offer D2D capabilities. This blog also highlights other industry supply chains which can benefit from the same capabilities and also whether Infosys is planning to include such pre-bundled applications and integration services in other offerings to clients as well.

Read the complete blog here.

Find Infosys Demand to Deliver Solution flyer here.

Meet Infosys experts at Oracle OpenWorld 2012, Booth No. 1701, Moscone South
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