Five Supply Chain Uses For A.I.

by | Nov 7, 2018

We continue to focus on the future of supply chain with a look into Artificial Intelligence (AI).  There are usually numerous components in a supply chain and often multiple parties too. This means there are many processes that can be optimised using AI. 

Below are five potential AI capabilities, outlined on a recent Forbes website article, that could impact positively in the supply chain:

1. Chatbots

Automatic chatbots can be used to respond to enquiries and deal with regarding invoices and payments. Chatbots are a computer program or an artificial intelligence which conducts a conversation with a customer, usually through a website. They respond in conversational form from a database of preprogrammed questions and answers.

2. Cargo Sensors

AI systems are used in shipping lanes to respond to weather conditions, and shock sensors report back the status of sensitive cargo. AI and algorithms are being used to predict the cost of oil, which can have a huge impact on shipping costs. Logistics businesses are using sensors to track the location of ships, containers and trucks adjusting their routes when necessary.

3. Smart Warehouses

AI systems can automate the labor-intensive task of finding items to fulfill orders, including using robots armed with laser-based sensors (similar to technology used in autonomous vehicles) to find the exact location of products inside a store. AI can also be used to determine how to lay out a new warehouse, improve the design of an existing warehouse, update picking methods or optimize staffing levels for busy seasons. 

4. Drone Deliveries

Drone deliveries can be faster and cheaper than existing logistics methods, making it worthwhile for delivery companies to find regulatory battles to make drones an accepted means of delivery in the U.S. Amazon launched Prime Air in December 2016 with the goal of delivering goods to customers in 30 minutes or less and has been successfully making autonomous deliveries in the UK. Ele.me, the meal delivery service owned by Alibaba, received approval from the Chinese government to use drones for food delivery along 17 predetermined routes in Shanghai suburbs.

5. Automated Purchasing Agents

AI agents can find potential deals and negotiate the best terms based on preset parameters in the market. A recent analysis by McKinsey predicts that by 2021, AI-based purchasing systems will also be able to draft and distribute an RFQ. They will also be able to receive and rank their responses, and once a contract is signed, the system will monitor to ensure terms and conditions are met. Humans will only need to get involved if a supplier fails to respond.

The Supply Chain Academy offers a masterclass that focuses on innovation such as Artificial Intelligence. The programme is designed to give you the latest techniques in strategic innovation, to maintain your business’s competitive edge as it adapts and grows.

Find out more HERE.

 

 

Supply Chain News from the Supply Chain Academy. The only learning resource centre focused solely on the subject of supply chain, for more information call 01708 259450 or email info@supplychainacademy.org.uk.

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