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Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing is available for public preview. 

The Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing is one of Microsoft’s new industry-specific cloud-based offerings, like its sibling offerings Cloud for Financial Services, Cloud for Nonprofit, Cloud for Healthcare and Cloud for Retail. 

These Industry Clouds draw on Microsoft’s portfolio, in combination with partner solutions and new capabilities, to create a package that’s geared to the needs of each industry. 

Here are five things you should know about Microsoft’s Cloud for Manufacturing: 

  1. The Industry Clouds are not separate instances of Azure and are not logically or physically isolated. The Industry Clouds leverage the powerful tools and features of Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Microsoft Teams and Power Platform, among other products and services. According to Microsoft, “Microsoft Industry Clouds extend existing cloud services to provide industry-specific value through trusted and integrated capabilities.”
  2. The Cloud for Manufacturing helps build more resilient supply chains. Dealing with supply-chain disruptions and unexpected spikes in demand has been a major headache for manufacturers this year. The Cloud for Manufacturing includes both Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management and the now-in-preview Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Insights, which provide real-time visibility into the supply chain from sourcing to the production line to transportation. Supply Chain Insights will up the ante by leveraging the power of AI to enable prescriptive insights.
  3. The Cloud for Manufacturing embraces digital twins. In addition to creating a virtual representation of your supply chain, Cloud for Manufacturing gives you access to the full power of Azure Digital Twins to create digital representations of products, equipment, places and processes. Azure connects input from your IoT devices and assets, sharing data via Azure IoT Hub or other systems to provide you with actionable insights from the digital-twin environment.
  4. The Cloud for Manufacturing strengthens customer relationships. Customer satisfaction and engagement are an essential part of the Cloud for Manufacturing offerings. With Dynamics 365 Field Service and Dynamics 365 Sales (including Microsoft’s AI-powered sales accelerator), manufacturers can draw on Industry 4.0 technologies to fuel better outcomes for customers, which then accelerates growth. For example, Remote Assist and other mixed-reality tools, as well as mobile knowledge-based resources, help field technicians resolve cases more quickly and with better outcomes.
  5.  The Cloud for Manufacturing is compatible with Microsoft’s new Cloud for Sustainability. The Cloud for Sustainability, available for preview, is designed to help companies accelerate their sustainability journey as they record, report and reduce their organization’s environmental impact through automated data connections and actionable insights. Sustainability goes hand in hand with resilience; the goals of sustainability and agile manufacturing naturally align.

Microsoft has been collaborating with manufacturers to produce strong sustainability outcomes. As one example, World Economic Forum Lighthouse firm Schneider Electric has reportedly reduced as much as 78% of its carbon footprint using Industry 4.0 technologies and Microsoft Azure. 

We are excited about the Cloud for Manufacturing, including partner solutions such as Columbus’s apps for warehouse management, pricing and product assortment that align with Microsoft’s mission to build a more resilient future for manufacturers by securely connecting people, assets, workflow and business processes. 

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