Supply chain cognitive decision centers

Approach decision making as a business discipline enabled with analytics technology.

The effectiveness of a supply chain ultimately comes down to two things: efficient processes and effective decision making. However, both these factors are often impacted negatively by conflicting objectives of different functions within an organization.

A cognitive decision center takes a cross-functional view of the supply chain covering products, suppliers, distributors and customers. It enables organizations to balance cost, revenue and profit decisions, using advanced simulations and modeling to identify the optimum trade-off. The center is focused on wide organizational goals, so that any decisions – and the incentives of the decision makers – are based on what is best for the enterprise as a whole. Leaders gain complete supply chain visibility and the ability to make rapid, informed decisions, to better respond to customer needs and manage performance.

Cognitive decision centers clarify the performance ambition of the enterprise and then revolve the entire supply chain around this ambition. They provide complete visibility across the supply chain and embrace collaboration between all the different players. Rather than overloading decision makers with information, they only offer essential insights that influence value and margins and simplify the choices.

Increasingly powered by AI and automation, supply chain managers can run scenarios and help prescribe rather than just predict – with humans providing contextual understanding to augment the final decision. Incentives are designed to optimize decisions in the best interests of the overall enterprise – and not just for a single function. Visibility is now being demanded from both external and internal customers for:

  • consumer tracking experiences
  • the history of movements and transactions
  • international transportation
  • in-transit domestic shipment and collaboration.
A cognitive decision center enables better alignment between demand and supply and improves the ability to make rapid, fact based decisions.
Mark Levy, Managing Director, KPMG

The success of a supply chain comes down to two things: efficient processes and effective decision making. Learn more in the paper below. 

Cognitive decision centers
Drive faster and better business decisions by establishing a supply chain cognitive decision center.


By implementing a cognitive decision center which combines people with process, facilitated by technology, to provide demand driven end-to-end insights, supply chain leaders will be able to leverage predictive and prescriptive analytics for decision-making augmentation and real-time visibility for their internal and external customers. Future ready supply chains will:

  • Use decision making as a business discipline - Embed a culture and process around "decision excellence" to enable the center. This is now made possible through advances in analytics technology.
  • Curate ecosystems - Develop a set of core collaborative partners across the ecosystem to ensure the most value is achieved from the investment.
  • Adopt a performance-led approach - Don’t confuse activity with progress. Take an approach that starts with performance to provide a focus on use cases which will deliver the greatest value.
  • Blend expertise with analytics - While the vision is a decision center where all decisions are data-led, human judgment and intuition will be important to execution.

Supply chains of the future will benefit from faster decision making enabled by advanced analytics, AI, Internet of Things, as well as the removal of operational barriers and the extension of visibility into and across operations.

An agenda for the future of supply chain

The biggest limitation for supply chains is no longer technologies and what they can do, but rather the imagination of the people who leverage them. As enterprises around the world are facing a perfect storm of change, today’s supply chain leaders must transform business models, organizational structures and operations to thrive today and in the future. Learn more about the future of supply chain.