CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
October 23, 2018
Forward Thinking

Infor unveils AI-based supply chain visibility platform

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Control Center product combines GT Nexus trade data with Coleman artificial intelligence platform to generate "self-orchestrated" decisions.

Business software vendor Infor today launched a supply chain visibility and artificial intelligence software product that it said can help users make their supply chains become self-orchestrated in most of their daily decisions.

The product, called Infor Control Center, combines data from the company's GT Nexus Commerce Network - a cloud-based, multi-enterprise platform for global trade and supply chain management - with Infor's Coleman Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, the company said at its Inforum user conference in Washington, D.C. this week.

New York-based Infor launched its Coleman AI platform in 2017 for its software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based CloudSuite applications. The Coleman platform uses data mining and machine learning to provide autonomous advice that allows users to bypass tedious and repetitive tasks and focus on strategic decisions and pressing consequences, the company said.

By blending AI capabilities with bulk supply chain data, Infor Control Center delivers end-to-end visibility, predicts future supply chain issues, and offers predictive and prescriptive intelligence to help companies react earlier, according to Infor. Those services are critical for helping supply chain leaders meet rigorous customer demands despite facing data overload, the company said.

The Coleman platform enables that result by observing end-to-end trade data and training itself on the patterns and results it autonomously detects, Heidi Benko, Infor's vice president for product management, said in a keynote session at the Inforum show.

For example, by processing data from such a wide network, the system can detect a congested port, predict potential stock-outs, and suggest solutions such as reallocating stock between stores or shipping goods to an alternative location, Benko said. The system works by deploying Coleman to continuously monitor the flow of products, materials, orders, demand, and capital throughout the supply network, and helping users sift through that flood of data more quickly, she said.

Clients can take advantage of that capability either by approving each autonomous decision before applying it or by putting the Control Center platform on "autopilot" and allowing it to act without human intervention, Infor said.

The Control Center product is Infor's latest move in capitalizing on GT Nexus, which it acquired in 2015 for $675 million. Infor gained significant leverage for product development in 2017 when business conglomerate and private equity investor Koch Industries Inc. bought a portion of Infor for $2 billion.

Ben Ames is Editor at Large and a Senior Editor at Supply Chain Quarterly’s sister publication, DC Velocity.

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