Our incomings students on tour to the “Microsoft Headquarter in Germany”

One course of the study program „International Supply Chain Management“ is “Special Aspects of International Purchasing and Supply Chain Management” (Lecturer: Monika Schobesberger). This course introduces students to the topic of globalized supply chains and the specific challenges of doing business on all continents. Therefore, the students visited the Microsoft Headquarter in Germany in October.

Two students summarized their impressions – thanks to Chiara Lannaccone and Live Skille:

Impression of the MTC tour

The technological applications that we had the opportunity to experience were really interesting for us, mainly because we found out certain aspects of technology that you don’t usually think about.

The advanced facial recognition system is really helpful because when taking a photo, the screen calculates your age, your facial expression and other distinctive characters. We tested this by taking a group photograph and we found out that there is sometimes an error about the age, because it makes it difficult to find a differentiation between 23- or 25-year-old person based on their face. The use of this technology could promote a customized advertisement.

Then they showcased a drone which could recognize different objects, for example it could distinguish between an apple and a banana. In order to train the drone, they used some pictures of different items, so it could learn how to recognize them through a machine learning algorithm.

This technology could be used to identify new landslides in buildings in case of natural disasters.

The technology about the bakery is very innovative as well, and useful to prevent food waste or stock out. That is because it is possible to calculate how much is left in each compartment of the shelves by using an algorithm. The baker, then, always knows what exact product he needs to fill up with.

This makes it easier for the grocery stores because they have a bigger overview about their items.

Another useful technology they showed us was about the introduction of the electronic price tags that enable the supermarket to change the price by a simple computer click.

Microsoft drives company efficiency

Microsoft allows companies to have a more efficient information flow by using platform like Azure, providing them with reporting capabilities through Power BI and bringing integrations between members thanks to Teams.

In order to let the enterprises, have an intelligent planning and fulfillment, they operate on different levels consisting of cloud, network, software and hardware.

By using field devices and connectivity protocols tailored to customer needs,

Microsoft strengthens companies supply chain and creates a well-connected logistic flow. This enables the control of different operations so that companies can pursue monitoring complex systems with continuity.

How does Microsoft work with other companies and SCM challenges?

Microsoft provides companies with consistent amount of data but, unlike Google, they don´t explain to the companies how to use the data. On the other hand, they have the expertise, tools and computing power to collect data which are a very powerful instrument to improve companies Supply Chain Management. A company must have the data and recourses to provide highly personalized customer service to be competitive. Even if Microsoft has plenty of data processing centers that allows them to bring digital transformation to life, their supply chain over hundreds of countries makes the delivery data process highly complex.

How Artificial intelligence works along the supply chain?

Through artificial intelligence, Microsoft wants to promote a complete integration of meaningful data with humans, and draw information from unstructured data. They provide companies with a full range of cognitive services based on vision, knowledge, language, search and speech- tools. Artificial intelligence can be used to recognized people by the sound of their voice and it can also convert conversations into a text. This can be useful to speed up communication process along the supply chain and reduce the risk of errors. For example, they are developing a system like this for taking correct orders in McDonald’s.

Another use of artificial intelligence lies in the possibility to extract different words or information from various sources, like documents, photos, tables, videos etc. This can speed up the resource process, save time and make companies gain more efficiency.

By using the Ultra-portable Surface, Microsoft can create a huge sharing platform, that allows people to work together, even though they are in different places, and continue previous work. Through this technology, colleagues can join and leave meetings whenever they want, and share their ideas by using different tools which are integrated in the platform. This avoids interruptions and delays in the information flow.

Last but not least, Microsoft has developed a sort of virtual secretary that writes down the most important things during a meeting and extrapolates the dates, tasks to be done, and also by who, from the whole conversation. This reminds workers their tasks during the following days.

Many thanks to the “Microsoft Team” for the interesting and great day!