Artificial intelligence, commonly referred to as AI, isn’t a new concept and a variety of definitions of various lengths are returned when a Google search is done. Two of the shorter definitions include:
- A simulation of human intelligence by machines
- The ability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior
Regardless of the definition, AI is a technology that is influencing many industries including supply chain. A critical part of supply chain management (SCM) is Supply Chain Planning (SCP), which includes planning, “what-if” scenario analysis capabilities and real-time demand commitments that consider constraints. AI is being integrated throughout SCM and offers many benefits.
- Best possible “what-if” scenarios based on intelligent algorithms that optimize the delivery of goods
- Optimization of supply chain decision-making
- Operational efficiency as manual intervention is reduced or eliminated
- Large amounts of data can quickly be mined as well as access to contextual data
- Reduction in shipping times and costs
- Increase in profit margins
Although AI offers many benefits and is becoming more talked about, many firms are slow to adopt. Slowly adopting a new approach is never a bad idea as it allows you to understand what elements help elevate value through the supply chain process. Elements such as ensuring AI engines are optimized across the entire supply chain network, algorithms can make and execute intelligent decisions and the ability to override AI decisions exists.
Another element to consider when thinking about implementing AI into SCM is if you have in-house resources to support a successful execution. If you don’t it may be best to hire a consulting firm. Keeping in mind consultants can help with one element such as strategy formulation or multiple elements including implementation and training.
Integrating any new technology can be a daunting task, which is why it is important to remember growth and comfort don’t co-exist.
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