com Inc. is adding a supply-chain management service to its web services business, jumping into an increasingly competitive technology field as companies try to get tighter control of the flow of goods from factories to consumers.
Amazon’s launch of its cloud application, AWS Supply Chain, adds Amazon to a growing list of software suppliers, such as
and Blue Yonder, that help merchants juggle increasingly complex cargo flows and inventory demands.
launched its own supply-chain management software platform earlier this month.
The prominence of supply-chain technology in business operations has grown during the Covid-19 pandemic, said Terry Esper, associate professor of logistics at the Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, after a series of supply shocks “brought more heightened awareness to the power of having a well-oiled supply-chain operation.”
Many companies are pressing for greater efficiency and visibility of their goods flows after being caught flat-footed during the pandemic by disruptions such as factory shutdowns in Asia and U.S. port congestion that added months to import delivery times and led to empty shelves and lost sales heading into the 2021 holiday season.
Companies are relying more on sophisticated supply-chain software as a growing share of sales shifts away from sending goods in bulk to retailers and moves more toward direct-to-consumer online sales that require better balancing and positioning of stock.
Amazon has a ready audience for its software with a phalanx of small- and medium-size businesses in its third-party marketplace. It says its application gives companies better visibility into their supply chains and that it uses machine learning to help manage inventory levels and better forecast demand.
The software identifies risks and provides recommendations to guard against shortages and delays so that companies can “quickly see and respond to potential supply-chain disruptions,” said
vice president of AWS Supply Chain at Amazon Web Services.
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