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Gain visibility into your inventory to improve supply chain resiliency

An accurate view of your inventory is key to many decisions that you make as a company, but it is more and more challenging to get timely, correct data drawn from storage locations, sales channels, and a variety of source data systems. Visibility into your inventory is the basis for replenishment decisions, your fulfillment strategy,…

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An accurate view of your inventory is key to many decisions that you make as a company, but it is more and more challenging to get timely, correct data drawn from storage locations, sales channels, and a variety of source data systems. Visibility into your inventory is the basis for replenishment decisions, your fulfillment strategy, and even the financial status of the company, yet nearly every activity related to your supply chain can affect inventory at some point.

One of the goals of inventory management is to maintain a flexible stock level and good turnover ratio, but disruptive situations in the supply chain, coupled with delayed or inaccurate data, make forecasting a nightmare.

Perhaps this is why supply chain professionals overwhelmingly plan to invest in agility and resiliency for their supply chains. A 2021 Gartner study about “responding to a disrupted world” found that 89% want to make their supply chains more agile and 87% want more resiliency.

To address these concerns, Microsoft now offers the Inventory Visibility Add-in as part of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.

Solution to inventory pain points

The Inventory Visibility Add-in can help you transform your supply chain by tackling your inventory pain points. Inventory Visibility is a highly scalable microservice that can be enabled as an add-in to Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management and integrate with data sources from Microsoft or third-party logistics providers (3PL). It enables real-time global inventory visibility without the need to do a full-fledged enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation.

High-volume retailers and manufacturers can easily handle millions of transactions per minute and accurately determine cross-channel inventory.

Inventory currency enables a faster response

For most businesses, it is essential to make decisions based on current, accurate data. Tracking inventory is especially important. Changes in inventory might suggest an understock or overstock situation that demands a fast reaction. Inventory Visibility lets you explore the immediate physical status of inventory, including a status of in-transit, on hand, ordered, or a custom status. This allows the organization to adjust production or sales plans in time.

The following shows an Inventory Visibility dashboard with on-hand inventory as well as the supply, demand, and reserved inventory statuses.

Scaling to support resiliency

One way to increase resiliency in your supply chain is to adopt multiple sales channels and storage locations. The combination of online, call center, and in-store sales channels helps companies maximize sales opportunities. Setting up more storage locations, including ones closer to local markets, can better support shipping and fulfillment, especially when disruptions occur.

But companies also find that those new sales channels and expanded storage locations can have different systems, making it difficult to consolidate data for real-time information about stock level and supply and demand. Having that information is crucial to support business operations. Inventory Visibility was designed for this scenario; it is capable of handling millions of transactions across different channels and geographies in seconds.

Another strategy that supply chain executives pursue to gain resiliency is to diversify their vendor sourcing. We have heard from more customers who would like to have a view into their vendors’ inventory. This can support the sell-through or direct sales scenarios or provide better insight about potentially accessible inventory. Such companies want to integrate with the inventory systems of their vendors, and this use case is also supported by Inventory Visibility.

One of our customers, a beverage giant, uses Inventory Visibility to calculate in real time the consumption of the bill of materials (BOM) for every unit of their beverage sold in every store. This supports better planning and accurate cost calculations. Previously, the customer used a time-consuming, manual process to consolidate data from several thousand stores and across regions. Now, all inventory changes can be reflected in less than a minute, with a batch job that pushes data to Inventory Visibility every minute. We are also helping this customer to establish a direct connection between their point-of-sales (POS) systems and Inventory Visibility, which will provide a data sync within seconds.

Next steps

If your organization is on the journey to transition from siloed systems to a unified and transparent inventory platform, consider taking the next step with Inventory Visibility.

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Facebook: Recognizing Global Accessibility Awareness Day

As an avid outdoor enthusiast and firefighter, Carly P. has always loved being active. After a life-changing injury paralyzed her from the waist down, she felt lost. Carly recaptured her passion for being outside and found a community of people like her through the nonprofit organization Catalyst Sports. Now, she uses Catalyst Sports’ Facebook page…

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As an avid outdoor enthusiast and firefighter, Carly P. has always loved being active. After a life-changing injury paralyzed her from the waist down, she felt lost. Carly recaptured her passion for being outside and found a community of people like her through the nonprofit organization Catalyst Sports. Now, she uses Catalyst Sports’ Facebook page to spread awareness and share local recreational opportunities for people with physical disabilities.

In addition to providing community to people with disabilities, we’re also working to make the digital world more accessible. 

We will demonstrate our latest accessibility features today at our annual Accessibility Summit. Join us at 10:00AM PT for this livestream on the Meta Accessibility Facebook Page. In addition to product demos and updates, we will host an interview with Molly Burke, a digital creator and blind advocate.

Through a video series on the Meta Accessibility Facebook Page, we’re highlighting how people with disabilities connect and build communities through our technologies, much like Carly. We’ve created both the captioned and audio described versions of these stories.

Today, we’re recapping advances we’ve made over the past year to make our technologies more inclusive. 

Meta Quest

  • Audio Accessibility
    • Audio balance: This option enables you to adjust the balance of the left and right audio channels for comfort, and to better match your ability to hear in each ear. 
    • Mono Audio enables you to hear the same audio from both the left and right speakers on your headset. 
    • You’ll find both features under the Accessibility tab in your headset’s Settings menu.

Product mock of audio accessibility on Meta Quest

  • Adjust Height  
    • This feature allows you to experience VR from a “standing” vantage point even while reclining or seated. This can improve the VR experience for people who use wheelchairs, have limited mobility or are unable to use the Quest headset while standing. 
    • We first introduced this as an experimental feature (called Raise View) last June and have now made it permanent after receiving positive feedback from the disability community. 
    • You can find this feature in the Accessibility tab in Quest’s Settings menu.

Portal

  • Video relay service (VRS)
    • In December, we began supporting video relay service (VRS) applications on Portal  for people who use American Sign Language (ASL), through a collaboration with ZP Better Together.
    • Through the ZP apps on Portal and human interpreters, people who use American Sign Language can now easily communicate in both English and Spanish. 
    • Portal’s unique AI-powered camera always keeps you in frame and in focus, even when you’re moving, so your face and hands can always be seen.
  • Captions
    • We’ve also added customizable closed captions for streamed content on TV and Touch, as well as added support for live captions into integrated work productivity apps Zoom and Workplace Live.

Instagram

  • Auto-generated captions for Feed videos
    • In March, we introduced auto-generated captions for Feed videos on iOS and Android in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic, Vietnamese, Italian, German, Turkish, Russian, Thai, Tagalog, Urdu, Malay, Hindi and Japanese to start. 
    • More importantly, captions are automatically turned on by default when a creator uploads a video to their Feed. Over 140 million videos were created with auto-generated captions in the last 30 days.
    • Creators retain the ability to turn captions off when they choose and viewers can turn captions on or off using on-screen controls.

Product mock of Instagram auto-generated captions

Stickers on Facebook and Messenger

  • We added alt text descriptions to the more than 10,000 stickers available on Facebook and Messenger, making it possible for people who are blind and visually impaired to understand and use them. 

Avatars

  • Earlier this year, we introduced the ability to have your same avatar across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Quest. 
  • There are also new avatar options, including over-the-ear hearing aids and cochlear implants in addition to more face shapes, skin tones, expressions, and stickers. 
  • Wheelchairs are now available as stickers on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger so your avatar can better represent who you are or who you want to be.

Product mock of accessibility features of Avatars

Open Source

  • Lexical is a JavaScript framework built to improve text editing on Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger and Workplace, with accessibility as a priority. 
  • In April, Lexical was released into open source to allow the rest of the world to benefit from these improvements. 
  • With this new framework, people can express their ideas in text via dictation, and readers can experience character-by-character navigation — a feature previously unavailable in similar editors.

Reality Labs Research

  • We’re exploring how improvements in audio quality can enable more realistic presence and perceptual superpowers in augmented and virtual reality— technological advancements that can also help us hear better in noisy environments. 
  • Our team of hearing scientists is also exploring how to reencode sound and present it through closed captioning.
  • While this is still early research, we are excited to learn more about how emerging audio technologies can improve the lives of people with hearing loss. 

Image showing audio research

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Facebook: Announcing New Products to Make Business Messaging Easier

The way people and businesses communicate is changing. One billion people message with a business each week on WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct — whether it’s DMing brands, browsing product catalogs, asking for support, or interacting with stories. This consumer behavior is accelerating and it’s changing how business gets done. Today at Conversations, our inaugural…

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The way people and businesses communicate is changing. One billion people message with a business each week on WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct — whether it’s DMing brands, browsing product catalogs, asking for support, or interacting with stories. This consumer behavior is accelerating and it’s changing how business gets done. Today at Conversations, our inaugural business messaging event, we discussed how messaging is transforming interactions between people and businesses, and announced new products to make conversations easier.

Introducing Cloud-based API on the WhatsApp Business Platform

Today, Mark Zuckerberg announced we’re opening up the new, cloud-based version of the WhatsApp Business Platform, hosted by Meta, to any business across the world. With this new API, we’re offering free, secure cloud hosting services so businesses and developers can easily access our service within minutes, build directly on top of WhatsApp to customize their experience and increase their response time for their customers. So now, whether a business wants to work with one of our 100+ partners or access our service directly, it will be much faster to get up and running on WhatsApp.

When growing a business, you need smart, robust and easy-to-use conversation tools. For smaller businesses using the WhatsApp Business app, we’re building tools so it’s easier to handle an influx of chats as they grow their customer base. 

Launching Recurring Notifications on Messenger

Today we’re announcing a new way for businesses to keep the conversation going with Recurring Notifications. As businesses acquire new customers and begin to scale operations, there’s incredible opportunity to build loyalty and trust — and we believe this is where the value of messaging really shines. This new capability makes it easy to re-engage people right in the messaging thread and deliver tailored messaging at the best time for customers, whether to hear about special promotions, new product drops or tips and tricks.

You can choose the topics you’d like to let people opt-in to, how often customers can hear from you and shape your content, so your messages are always on-brand and relevant. Recurring notifications will also be available for businesses on Instagram this fall.

We also highlighted our click-to-message ads to help customers immediately start conversations with businesses, our CRM platform Kustomer and Meta Business Suite for higher volumes of messages across Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. Read more about our product investments in business messaging on our Meta for Developers blog.

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Facebook: Introducing New Members of the Oversight Board

Today, Meta welcomes the newest members of the Oversight Board who have just been appointed — Paolo Carozza, Khaled Mansour, and Pamela San Martin. Per the Oversight Board Bylaws, we worked together with the board to identify and select these members over the last few months. Over the next few months we will continue to…

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Today, Meta welcomes the newest members of the Oversight Board who have just been appointed — Paolo Carozza, Khaled Mansour, and Pamela San Martin.

Per the Oversight Board Bylaws, we worked together with the board to identify and select these members over the last few months. Over the next few months we will continue to support and work with the board to select additional members. The new members reflect a wide range of views and experiences, and will bring a variety of perspectives to the board’s existing expertise.

The Oversight Board represents a unique model for social media governance. From its inception, we knew its impact would come not just from its decisions on individual cases, but also from broader recommendations on how we can improve our policies and processes. In the time since they began hearing cases and issuing decisions and recommendations, they’ve been playing a bigger role in setting precedent and direction for our content policies and how we enforce them.  We look forward to welcoming the new board members into this process.

We will update this Newsroom Post as additional members are appointed. We are grateful to all board members for lending their expertise to our content moderation efforts.

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