Modernizing Campus Logistics and Operations at Microsoft

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Microsoft Digital storiesBusiness Situation

Microsoft is in the productivity business, with a mission “to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” What matters to Microsoft is not just helping to envision the workplace of the future, but to create it as a sustainable model of productivity and empowerment for its employees.

Microsoft’s headquarters is like a small city. Located in the Puget Sound region near Seattle, the busy corporate campus encompasses over 100 buildings spanning nearly 14 million square feet, accommodating more than 60,000 employees and external staff, plus numerous visitors each day.

We had a pretty audacious vision for what we wanted to do. We were looking for a bold example of a logistics and operations system that could provide efficient business processes, support sustainability, and enable best-in-class employee and guest experiences. Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform was the perfect solution.

—Michelle Schaefer, principal product manager at Microsoft

In 2021, we saw an opportunity to digitally transform our campus logistics and operations. The vision? Empower a relatively small logistics crew to do more with less, resulting in better employee experiences, cost savings and efficiencies, and support environmentally responsible practices.

For a transcript, please view the video on YouTube: select the “More actions” button (three dots icon) below the video, and then select “Show transcript.”

Learn how Microsoft digitally transformed our campus logistics and operations.

“We had a pretty audacious vision for what we wanted to do,” says Michelle Schaefer, principal product manager at Microsoft. “We were looking for a bold example of a logistics and operations system that could provide efficient business processes, support sustainability, and enable best-in-class employee and guest experiences. Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform was the perfect solution.”

But Microsoft’s vision wasn’t limited to our own campus. By using our technologies to implement a best-in-class system at home, we aimed to create a showcase, one that would inspire other companies to transform their own logistics and operations processes, for a campus or for any purpose.

The Solution

Schaefer and Flaherty pose smiling in side-by-side professional headshots.
Michelle Schaefer, principal product manager, and Katy Flaherty, senior district facilities manager, helped lead the effort to digitally transform campus operations at Microsoft.

To help make this dream a reality, Microsoft turned to our trusted partners and Microsoft ecosystem experts: Accenture and Avanade—a joint venture between Accenture and Microsoft.

The team has focused on configuring Microsoft solutions and tools and integrating third-party applications into the overall user interface. Avanade’s in-depth knowledge of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform helped define the requirements for external vendor applications, ensuring that they could integrate seamlessly and securely with the overall solution.

So, how does the reimagined logistics process look in practice? Consider a day in the life of the small but productive crew working behind the scenes to provide a great experience to an employee who has ordered a new keyboard:

  • After the order is placed, a third-party package carrier logs into a Dynamics 365 portal to book an appointment at a campus logistics center to deliver the keyboard.
  • The package carrier is checked-in by a campus dock manager with Dynamics 365 Field Service. A Logistics Control Tower Dashboard built on Power BI is used to make delivery schedules more efficient.
  • A campus driver loads the keyboard, along with many other packages, onto their vehicle and consults the integrated route optimization and delivery management system to ensure the most efficient route is used and service level agreements are met.
  • Once the new keyboard is delivered to the productive employee, a waste and recycling manager uses Dynamics 365 Inventory Management to track reusable items and ensure the old keyboard is properly disposed of and other supplies are re-used if possible.

The solution also includes capabilities to measure and report results, both from a logistics aspect as well as from an employee experience perspective. Easy access to this data will allow the team to address issues and look for opportunities to improve both operations and experiences.

“By transforming our back-of-house logistics, we can closely identify the movement of deliveries and materials as well as evaluate employee feedback,” says Katy Flaherty, senior district facilities manager at Microsoft. “This provides our team with up-to-date status on these deliveries.  We’ve moved beyond more manual processes and lists to real time tracking data. This also gives us the ability to learn from this information and adjust our operations to be more efficient and cost effective.”

For a transcript, please view the video on YouTube: select the “More actions” button (three dots icon) below the video, and then select “Show transcript.”

See how Microsoft’s campus logistics digital transformation provides employees and suppliers with an experience unlike any other workspace in the world.

Results

Microsoft’s campus logistics digital transformation provides employees and suppliers with an experience unlike any other workspace in the world. The entire modernization effort has been guided by a commitment to sustainability, with a focus on waste reduction and energy optimization. Benefits include:

  • Route optimization for all logistics and operations vehicles results in increased efficiency and a smaller carbon footprint.
  • The hundreds of suppliers visiting the campus each week benefit from reliable and efficient delivery and offloading times, enabling them to quickly resume their journey to the next delivery.
  • Through efficient ordering, tracking, and management of supplies, the logistics and operations team can visualize data quickly and efficiently for quick decisions and cost savings.
  • By automating delivery orders for food, packages, furniture, and more, Microsoft improves the employee experience through improved compliance with service level agreements, reduces costs, and works towards its sustainability goals.

The consolidation of disparate data sources through Microsoft’s digital transformation unlocks exciting new opportunities to leverage Generative AI and other data-driven technologies.

“Transforming the logistics and operations for the entire Puget Sound campus really shows the Microsoft, Accenture and Avanade partnership at its best,” adds Schaefer. “We’re bringing possibilities to life and showing the true power of the Microsoft platform. And, at the same time, we’re living out our values of sustainability and empowering people to do more.”

Key Takeaways

Digital Transformation for Efficiency and Sustainability:

  • Microsoft’s campus logistics digital transformation exemplifies how leveraging technologies like Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform can significantly enhance efficiency and sustainability in operations.

End-to-End Integration for Seamless Operations:

  • The success of Microsoft’s initiative is attributed to the end-to-end integration of Microsoft solutions and third-party applications, showcasing the importance of a comprehensive approach.

Measurable Results and Continuous Improvement:

  • Microsoft’s commitment to sustainability is reflected in its ability to measure and report results, enabling the team to address issues promptly and identify opportunities for improvement.

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Tags: campus, Dynamics 365, Employee Experience


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