Mars brings in Microsoft and Accenture to drive smart manufacturing, supply chain
Mars is working with Microsoft and Accenture to bring new IoT and AI solutions to its manufacturing and supply-chain operations. The work is part of an expanded deal with Microsoft around its Azure cloud and analytics services, geared to drive digital change at the confectionary brand.
Mars, which also owns various petcare brands and food businesses, has been working with digital manufacturing consultants from Accenture to create digital twins using the Azure IoT platform in its manufacturing facilities. Its goal is to improve margins, reduce waste, and enable factory-based staff to make real-time decisions.
The company is looking to scale “similar IoT technologies” for manufacturing across its business segments, including food and petcare, to support process control and consistency across product lines. It said digital twins of manufacturing sites and products will increase speed and capacity, and reduce operational costs.
It wants to use new digital tech to bring intelligence into its supply-chain processes. It cited targets to: “identify the optimal way to create products through digital simulations that take into account climate and other situational considerations, [and create] greater transparency into its supply chain from the point of origin all the way to the consumer.”
Mars said it is positioned to “further embrace” digital technologies, intelligent manufacturing, and digital skills training. With Microsoft, it is expanding a “unified cloud and data foundation” across all Mars businesses on Microsoft Azure, they said.
With Accenture also, it will establish a new ‘innovation lab’ to collaborate on the use of advanced technologies, including for “new transformative use cases, direct-to-consumer initiatives, sustainability efforts, and digitized product innovation”.
Sandeep Dadlani, chief digital officer at Mars, said: “Our relationship with Microsoft… will change the relationship between our brands and consumers, deliver hyper-relevant consumer experiences that include content and media, and fulfill needs and expectations across every touchpoint in the consumer’s journey.”
Judson Althoff, executive vice president of worldwide commercial business at Microsoft, said: “We’re harnessing the expertise and insights Mars has gained… to create a layer of intelligence that will drive reimagined experiences for associates and consumers. Together, we will create a foundation for cloud, data, and AI that will allow Mars to grow faster and transform how work gets done.”