Installing new technologies at the structural level is never easy. But as is the case with most things, sacrifice (financial and otherwise) in the short-term can lead to great reward. These industry insiders discuss some of the benefits that may come to those supply chain businesses who invest in AI. Here's what they said:
1. Govin Ranganathan, Senior Manager of Logistics at NIO
“Supply chain network planning and predictive demand can be improved drastically with AI capabilities. From supply side to finished goods delivery, accuracy in forecasting and quicker adaptation of needed changes to market demand can be achieved.”
2. Pervinder Johar, CEO of Blume Global
“AI surpasses human capacity in its ability to handle the immense volume of data generated by a typical supply chain — and the value this provides cannot be overstated. Supply chain managers can apply the capabilities of AI to analyze, track and clean data, detect anomalies and generate predictions to improve the supply chain journey from the first to the last mile. This facilitates smarter planning by enabling supply chain leaders to make better, more informed decisions with the ability to estimate costs, forecast demand, anticipate future inventory and take corrective action during disruptive events.”
3. Dr. Madhav Durbha, Group Vice President, Industry Strategy at LLamasoft Supply Chain Management Software
“It is the ability to bring the best of humans and machines working together. AI can mine through massive amounts of data driving interconnected decisions that can be automated, and serve up high stakes exceptions along with insights to humans. With such insights, human planners can bring creativity and intentional decisioning to more complex problems. This will result in great gains in productivity for organizations and increase in job satisfaction for SCM professionals as they are relieved from the drudgery of decisions that don’t need human creativity.”
4. Dan Patt, CEO of Vecna Robotics
“AI gives any company a glimpse into the future, helping them to proactively plan and meet the needs of tomorrow’s consumers without losing sights of today’s. This allows them to produce more and improve the end customers experience despite a dwindling labor market. But these improvements will all be limited if we don’t ensure AI works hand-in-hand with human counterparts.
We are lightyears away from machines making a truly original decision, and until then we need to look beyond incorporating AI into robots and machines into tools that will help manage human and robot relationships and workflows.”
5. Doug Surrett, Chief Product Strategist at BluJay Solutions
“A key benefit that AI will bring to supply chain management is an overall improvement in business processes. For instance, processes that require some sort of optimization such as network optimization, mode optimization, and warehouse process optimization, can leverage AI to become more efficient.
Additionally, by taking on more repeated processes, or even taking over the driver seat in the case of autonomous vehicles, humans will be freed up to focus on more important and value-adding tasks.”
6. Rajesh Kalidindi, founder and CEO of LevaData
“The overall benefit to truly innovative AI is the transformation of the supply chain into a competitive advantage. Providing sustainable cost reductions in procurement obviously has a direct impact on margins, but that doesn’t capture the agility of an organization that can act on risks and opportunities faster than competitors.
Automation and new advanced decision support gives most of our customers noticeable gains in efficiency and productivity as well, but LevaData sees these as indirect benefits of improved financial performance.”
7. Anand Medepalli, Head of Product at Element AI
“It’s tough to identify a singular benefit because by embracing AI in supply chains, varying aspects of the process benefit in their own ways to cohesively benefit the overall business model. If I were to pinpoint an exact benefit it would be granular execution. For example: the ability to predict customer needs and therefore deciding if through 3D printing, we should near-shore production of the product. Or if there is a disruption in the supply chain, what is the action to take to ensure that disruption is managed. AI can bring planning and execution much closer: imagine a world where a business runs on a continuous execution cycle.”
8. William Crane, founder and CEO of IndustryStar
“Productivity, all of us will be able to do more in less time and make better, more informed decisions leveraging AI in supply chain.”
9. David Hogg, Vice President of Business Development at Logistyx Technologies
“The biggest benefits AI brings to the supply chain apply to last-mile shipping and long-haul shipping – stages more prone to unpredictability. AI can predict unanticipated external factors during last-mile shipping like seasonal peaks, weather, staffing changes at warehouses, operational issues at warehouses and other factors. AI can recommend adjustments, identify new routes and alternative sources of supply, and trigger communications to customers who will be adversely impacted.”
10. Richard Lebovitz, President and CEO of LeanDNA
“AI in Supply Chain marks a pivotal shift from just acquiring data and building reports to taking actions. The benefits are many: AI will give people time back in their days to execute because technology is intelligent enough to take over tedious data analysis and synthesization. That means more timely information—not just data—is available about inventory levels, upcoming critical shortages, root causes at the start of every day. The benefit of AI is real trackable improvements to the business.”
11. Rajeev Gollarahalli, CBO of 42Q
“AI brings much more flexibility and agility to the supply chain, enabling organizations to react quickly to changes. It also helps them to make consistent and correct decisions based on data. And finally, it ensures better quality because organizations can foresee unfavorable events that may happen and take action before they happen. Cost savings from all of these efficiency gains is another major benefit.”
12. Paul Trudgian, Supply Chain and Logistics Consultant
“One major benefit of increased AI in supply chain management is the visibility which comes with digitization and automation. This is particularly important to consumers who want to know the provenance of a product and to be assured of an ethical supply chain. Making use of AI such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and combining it with blockchain technology allows a level of transparency which makes every movement in the supply chain traceable. End-to-end visibility not only ensures an ethical supply chain, but also benefits the consumer who receives an enhanced buying experience with more efficient customer service.”
13. Heather Gadonniex, the VP of Marketing at Samasource
“AI has the potential to increase agility and precision in supply chains of any industry. According to one McKinsey global survey, 76 percent of respondents from supply chain companies reported moderate to significant value by automating repetitive, manual tasks.
With AI’s ability to receive, handle and sort immense amounts of data, companies can better track, analyze, detect and fix anomalies and predict user behavior, allowing businesses of all sizes to grow quickly and remain competitive in a crowded market.”
14. Kamal Anand, Chief Technology Officer of Bamboo Rose
“The benefit AI brings to the supply chain goes beyond data and trickles down to the people. For Bamboo Rose, AI has taught company decisionmakers to pay more attention to what data is saying, and ultimately, make better decisions based off of that data. AI and machine learning have given product managers new ways to think and solve problems. The data has allowed decision-makers to think differently, more efficiently and with confidence. Leveraging data and learning how to architect it to turn insights into business knowledge, supply chain managers and platforms are able to operate productively and intuitively.”
15. Oren Zaslansky, CEO of Flock Freight
“Optimization and predictive capability. I'm bullish long-term on autonomous but near term, AI is being used to create better and more efficient supply chain outcomes by maximizing routing, fuller loads (pooling) and better asset utilization.”
16. Ed Clarke, co-founder and Managing Director of Yojee
“Better Planning. Both “on the road” so to speak, and in the office. This benefits the recipient and shipper with predictable delivery times, and the business owner with reduced costs.
Even modest logistics operations are dealing with so many data-points that no human could ever manage them in a way that yields the best results. Assimilating commit times, load sizes, addresses, driver shift times, optimal routes, etc. is a task that we really need to be using AI to help us with.”
17. Jake Rheude, VP of Marketing at Red Stag Fulfillment
“Speaking from personal experience here, AI has made a huge difference in our warehouses. We're definitely a human-centric business and think there will always be a place for human workers in Red Stag's warehouses.
That being said, without the custom WMS we use in conjunction with smartphone devices that navigate through our buildings, our warehouse pickers would probably walk many, many extra miles to do the same amount of work. Obviously we don't want that, and neither do they! Having AI be their eyes and guide them along an optimized path as they pick up inventory to be packed is a huge difference maker.”
18. Emily Murphy, Editor of Supply Chain Brief
“AI simplifies the process of working with this high volume of data. Not only can AI forecast and generate reports quicker than the average manager, these systems are also always learning. Meaning that the systems will continue to evolve and discover ways to sort through this data more efficiently, which will ultimately free up time to mangers.”
Share your feedback and we'll consider adding it to the piece!
Have expert insights to add to this article?
Share your feedback and we'll consider adding it to the piece!ADD YOUR INSIGHTS