Accenture: Supply Chain Leaders want more GenAI Training

Supply chain and production leaders are recognising the need for increased GenAI training. Picture: Getty Images
Accenture discovers leaders are recognising the need to better understand GenAI and its potential, as well as the importance of high-quality training

The vast majority (87%) of C-suite executives responsible for supply chain and production (87%) are planning to increase their investments in generative AI (GenAI).

That’s according to results of a recent survey carried out by Accenture, which found a similar proportion (85%) of leaders expect to reap the returns of their GenAI investments already in 2024.

Researchers also discovered that decision-makers are recognising the need to better understand the technology and its potential, as well as the importance of high-quality GenAI training across their organisations.  

“Generative AI is already changing how Chief Supply Chain and Operating Officers think about their data, talent, processes and ways of working,” comments Maria Rey-Marston, PhD, Innovation Lead for Accenture’s global supply chain and operations business.

“Executives approaching GenAI merely as ‘just another technology’ will have a rude awakening. We must understand and plan for the change of work in three dimensions: which tasks can be automated or augmented?; which people need upskilling to use the new technology?; and how can organisations embrace the power of GenAI responsibly?”

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Research from Accenture highlights need for training

In carrying out its Pulse of Change survey, Accenture spoke to C-suite leaders on the issues and technology that are driving change, how leaders are responding and their perspectives on the future.

Accenture Research gathered the thoughts of 2,800 executives from 18 countries, many of whom were responsible for supply chain, operations and production. 

On the topic of training, three-quarters (74%) said they needed at least some level of training in GenAI, while 18% recognised the necessity of extensive training.

Further key findings in this area include:

  • More than half (54%) of the surveyed leaders believe their organisation requires intermediate-level training in GenAI, such as prompt engineering and model fine-tuning
  • Two in five (40%) believe the most crucial need is advanced training, such as developing GenAI models and applications
  • Only 15% are highly confident they have the right data strategy and digital capabilities to use GenAI effectively.

However, just 42% of executives claim to be personally using GenAI tools at least once per week – down from 71% six months ago, when Accenture completed a similar study. 

Accenture found leaders are recognising the importance of high-quality GenAI training across their organisations. Picture: Getty Images

Slow progress in data and AI integration 

Worryingly, Accenture finds that just 14% of companies have progressed from designing or initiating the scaling up of a responsible data and AI model to fully integrating one into their enterprise.

Earlier this year, another report from the professional services giant concluded that GenAI could automate or augment 58% of the processes in supply chains.

For example, the technology could make demand and capacity planning insights more straightforward to understand and negotiate, enable natural language assistants for sourcing and procurement, and generate machinery maintenance plans much faster.

In the US, more than 40% of all working hours in supply chain functions could be affected through automation and augmentation, significantly changing roles such as those of procurement clerks and production, planning and expediting clerks.

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