AI-Driven Supply Chain: The Next Big Thing!

By CIOReview | Wednesday, March 21, 2018
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With massive amounts of data available today—the prime element that drives international trade and transportation—logistics and supply chain organizations are harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to turn raw data into usable insights. Digitizing the supply chain will help organizations analyze the data to gain a better understanding of the variables in the supply chain, and foresee future scenarios and uncertainties. AI algorithms can be used to link transportation data with order data to optimize vehicle routes and ensure on-time product delivery. Manufacturing firms can apply AI in supply chain to end repetitive manual tasks and replace them with automated processes, enabling organizations to reallocate time and resources to their core business and other high-value tasks. Chatbots can be employed to manage sales and customer services including interacting with buyers and handling their requests. For example, a global oil and gas company has trained IPsoft’s AI platform ‘Amelia’ to help provide prompt and more efficient ways of answering invoicing queries from its suppliers. AI-driven robots and sensors can be employed to enhance warehouse operations like stacking and retrieval, order picking, stock-level management, and re-ordering. For instance, the logistics company DHL is using automation and AI to create self-sufficient forklifts that understand when, where, and what products need to be moved.

AI is also driving cost reductions and compliance agenda by generating real-time visibility of the spend data. AI algorithms are helping analyze HR and finance data, procurement requests, tender approvals, and workflows. Product developers in supply chain industries are utilizing AI to create physical prototypes and 3D objects of the product and test the same. In the near future, AI would help develop autonomous vehicles to undertake goods delivery operations and take up basic procurement activities thereby improving productivity. Thus, with AI continuing to expand its capabilities, supply chain organizations must leverage it to reinvent themselves and scale their businesses to higher levels.