AI For Supply Chain

Posted on March 24, 2021

Supply chain management (SCM) is vital in almost every industry today. Despite its importance, AI startups and suppliers do not value it as much as many other fields. However, given the large amount of data collected by industrial logistics, transportation, and warehousing, this is an area with great potential.

As in any industry, the current focus on digitalization is transforming supply chain management. Improving the efficiency of the supply chain is very important for many companies. Since it operates within a slight margin, even the most minor improvement can significantly impact net income. For example, data analytics and machine learning can be beneficial for supply chain management. I want to introduce three suggestions.

1)   Identify a Specific Supply Chain Issue
For logistics issues in project management, it’s best to identify a specific supply chain issue that can be solved with AI. This will help find one problem instead of wasting time. Also, the company should select a significant pain point with implications for your supply chain efficiency, customer satisfaction, and bottom line. 
Nowadays, there may be many potential projects for AI across the supply chain, from planning to production, packaging, warehousing, distribution, and logistics. Targeting one in a specific area is best while minimizing the risk of ill-defined experimentations on the back burner. It can build on initial successes and learnings to apply AI in other areas by selecting a discrete project.

2)   Build AI Readiness
Data is critical for AI. A company can use AI technology to process large amounts of data and get valuable information from it; for example, AI technology can process large amounts of orders, plants, raw materials, customers, and more.
There is a reason that AI may draw data from different systems — ERP, MRP, CRM. It’s a good idea to ensure data collection and storage mechanisms are geared for highly granular data. Even if the company is not ready for AI today, it will be prepared down the road as AI becomes a competitive differentiator.

3)   Consider Whether a Technology Partner is Feasible 
Choose one suitable technology partner is important to the supply chain department.  Because AI is an emerging innovation, it’s essential to ensure AI technology is equipped to work with the company through obstacles that address supply chain department needs. 
It is important to realize that artificial intelligence is an effective way to improve supply chain management. Although not every company needs it, those companies whose supply chain AI can bring about change should consider starting as soon as possible.

Contributor: Ada Ye


About Allyn International

Allyn International is dedicated to providing high quality, customer centric services and solutions for the global marketplace. Allyn's core products include transportation management, logistics sourcing, freight forwarding, supply chain consulting, tax management and global trade compliance. Allyn clients range from small local businesses to Fortune 500 firms. Allyn conducts business in more than 20 languages and has extensive experience in both developed and emerging markets. Highly trained experts are positioned throughout North America, Europe and Asia and Allyn regional headquarters are strategically located in Fort Myers FL USA, Shanghai P.R. CHINA and Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC. For more information, log on to www.allynintl.com.