How Artificial Intelligence Can Be Used in Your Supply Chain

Posted: 02/12/2020 - 04:33
Using Artificial Intelligence in Supply Chain

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has now invaded how industries operate in more ways than we can count and know. It has developed into a welcome (and now necessary) addition to boost efficiency, sharpen forecasts and speed up certain processes. Any company that sells a product has a supply chain, which is the network of all the stakeholders involved in the creation and distribution of a certain product, and any supply chain can benefit from AI.

Domino Effect

Many forces affect supply chains, such as the supply and demand of the product, which, in turn, affects its price. Supply chains hold large volumes of data that grow and change exponentially every day. This makes it increasingly difficult to keep abreast of current trends and changes. It is also the reason why AI has been considered as a viable tool for assistance. Too many valuable resources are wasted on trivial supply chain tasks manually done by humans, resulting in grave losses of up to thousands of hours annually.

All About Optimization

AI’s ability to optimize processes makes it a natural fit in supply chain management. This reflects just the tip of the iceberg of AI’s power and scope. However, Marcus underscores that while there are valid concerns technology will take away jobs from humans, there’s a shared sentiment that it creates new positions and has the potential to shape businesses.

When combined with human intellect and manpower, AI can be more powerful than anything already in existence. The two will complement each other and fill in the gaps that each party naturally has, whether it be interpreting singular events or absorbing large volumes of information. Proper training in using AI technologies is a must to ensure success and effectivity.

A New Participant

AI chatbots, for example, have been implemented to streamline tasks like speaking to suppliers and sending them compliance materials. They can also do more menial tasks like receiving or documenting invoices and order slips.

Machine learning can also make supply chain planning more efficient by overseeing inventory and forecasting changes in supply and demand. It even performs better when there is Big Data involved. In return, decision-making within the supply chain can be optimized as it learns faster.

Looking at the supply chain in its entirety, this intelligence accelerates the entire process –– reducing expenses on transportation and labor, minimizing lead times and making everything more sustainable. Natural language processing can also surpass the foreign language barrier that comes with some data sets and relationships between buyers and suppliers.

While AI is not yet the perfect addition to supply chains, its existing contributions are only set to improve performances. Meticulous Research reports that the AI-supply chain market will reach $21.8 billion by 2027. Clearly, there’s no way but forward in terms of AI’s role in supply chains, and it may just be time to start welcoming it with open arms. After all, it is humans who are behind the machines.

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About The Author

Julian Booth's picture

Julian Booth studies operation management and specializes in supply chains. He is currently training to become fluent in AI technology and writes freelance for tech blogs in his spare time.