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Mars expands Microsoft strategy to drive business agenda

Mars plans to drive new data insights and AI across its supply chains to optimise production and lower its carbon footprint

Mars has expanded its supplier relationship with Microsoft in a bid to optimise its operational speed and intelligent manufacturing supply chains via the Azure cloud platform.

Mars plans to work with Microsoft and Accenture to integrate transparent and responsible data, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technologies into its global portfolio of confectionery, petcare, pet services and food businesses.

The company hopes that the technology agreement with Microsoft and Accenture will enable it to embrace more digital technologies and capabilities, intelligent manufacturing and personalised customer engagement.

Through the agreement, Mars plans to unify its cloud and data platforms on Microsoft Azure and move towards a cloud-first IT strategy. The technology drive is being positioned as a way for the company to gain business insights needed to accelerate growth, profitability, speed, resiliency, sustainability and to build and develop trust with customers and consumers by offering more responsible, transparent and compelling experiences.

Sandeep Dadlani, chief digital officer of Mars, said: “Our relationship with Microsoft is helping to transform how data and technology are used to continue ensuring compliant customer solutions and build trusted brand and consumer experiences.

“It will change the relationship between our brands and consumers, deliver hyper-relevant consumer experiences that include content and media, and fulfil needs and expectations across every touchpoint in the consumer’s journey.”

The company said that Microsoft Azure’s AI and internet of things (IoT) products will be used to provide Mars with the tools and capabilities to digitise its supply chain at scale. The company has already begun working with Accenture to build Azure digital-twins simulations to optimise production.

It also plans to deploy IoT technologies for optimising manufacturing across its business segments, including food and petcare, providing process control, consistency and uniformity across product lines, and helping to give the company a competitive advantage by increasing speed and capacity, and reducing operational costs.

In the future, Mars said it plans to use digital technologies to introduce even more intelligence into the end-to-end supply-chain processes, including identifying the optimal way to create products through digital simulations that take into account climate and other situational considerations, as well as creating greater transparency and visibility into its supply chain from the point of origin all the way to the consumer.

Beyond manufacturing optimisation and customer experience, the company said it has plans to evolve and transform its workplaces. As part of the broader agreement, Mars, Accenture and Microsoft will work together to establish an innovation lab focusing on the future of work and how technology from Microsoft can help to drive greater efficiency and effectiveness in the modern Mars work environment.

The agreement is also positioned as a way to help Mars attain its sustainability goals. As it continues to migrate key infrastructure and workloads to Azure, Microsoft said that its own commitment to 100% renewable energy in its datacentres by 2025 will help Mars reach its goal to reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions across its value chain by 67% by 2050.

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