How can artificial intelligence optimise the supply chain?
C-suite executives across...
In recent years, we have witnessed the disruptive and transformative power of developments in artificial intelligence (AI).
C-suite executives across every industry have realised AI’s value and are exploring how to incorporate it into their operations – and supply chains often top their agendas. Core pain points that AI is helping procurement and supply chain executives remedy include a lack of end-to-end visibility, delayed reactions to unforeseen events and inaccurate forecasting.
How are organisations achieving these improvements?
Supporting end-to-end visibility
A Capgemini survey reveals 83% of supply chain executives believe a lack of end-to-end visibility in their organisation was a barrier to growth. Delivering insights at scale is essential to identifying bottlenecks and establishing what data organisations need to capture and analyse in order to make informed decisions and drive better outcomes.
Organisations, especially in manufacturing, are investing heavily in Internet of Things (IoT) solutions and connected devices. Intel highlights that the world of IoT is growing rapidly, from 2 billion objects in 2006 to a projected 200 billion by 2020. The resulting opportunities for increased collaboration between AI solutions and connected devices could play a vital role in determining tomorrow’s supply chain leaders.
The key will be to develop intuitive AI solutions that can pull real-time data from connected devices and empower decision-makers with broader and deeper operation insights on an unprecedented scale. This increased visibility allows executives to rapidly make contingency plans in the event of unforeseen circumstances, whether internal (e.g. machine breakdowns) or external (e.g. delayed supplier shipments), minimising negative effects on the supply chain and, ultimately, on the brand.
Building better reaction times
Slow reaction times to such incidents often have a domino effect on operations and the bottom-line. Supply chain executives need to consistently monitor industry activity to ensure they react and adapt quickly.
In the UK, the Food Standards Agency’s recent recall of products due to mislabelling not only affected the big supermarkets, but also producers, delivery drivers and customers throughout the retail supply chain. The ability to quickly implement a counter strategy in such situations is invaluable.
Companies require innovative AI systems that will integrate with suppliers’ connected devices, and analyse and format data for executives, enabling them to make faster and better-informed decisions. By linking manufacturing and sales data, for example, thus, taking a combined view of supply and demand, waste and production costs can be reduced.
To optimise the value that AI can provide, a company’s infrastructure must also integrate with its customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. Once organisations deploy an AI supply chain solution capable of machine to machine (M2M) communications, the data generated by their CRM and ERP platforms can inform best practice strategies, updating internal policies and facilitate access to solutions within the supply chain.
Forecasting into the future
The third widespread issue faced by the supply chain industry, but certainly not the least important, is inaccurate forecasting. Most forecasting is based solely on historical data, failing to factor in real-time market trends. Strategies are therefore based on obsolete data. And not even the finest chefs can excel with out-of-date ingredients. That’s just a recipe for disaster… that’s why supply chain executives need real-time data to create effective strategies. So, it is no surprise that companies say they require end-to-end transparency and real-time updates to forecast accurately. How can they achieve this?
They need to invest in AI software that will allow them to gather information from key market sources and incorporate real-time trends data into their actions. Once these data points are in sync with a company’s supply chain, executives will instantly see drastic forecasting accuracy improvements, and how they can better plan for the uncertainties of tomorrow.
AI is on most companies’ radars, with 78% of organisations implementing it to enhance operational efficiency by at least 10%. The increased usage will reduce workload, saving organisations that most precious of commodities, time, which they can reinvest into other areas to deliver stakeholder value.
Real-time data analytics boosts visibility and reaction time in changes in demand, enabling companies to reduce costs and increase sales.
To finance investment in AI, businesses must first build a transparent end-to-end supply chain. AI isn’t a stand-alone magic cure: only when truly integrated within the overall supply chain can it improve efficiencies by informing strategies. That’s why organisations that choose to implement AI must accurately evaluate the technology already deployed both internally and across their supply chain. This way, executives can ensure they identify the optimal AI solution to gather the necessary real-time data, convert it into knowledge and ultimately drive the best future course of action. And that cannot be achieved by looking solely in the rear-view mirror.
By Giacomo Squintani, Marketing Manager EMEA at E2open
The Ultimate Procurement & Supply Chain Event
Global eProcurement leader JAGGAER has been announced as the latest sponsor for Procurement & Supply Chain Live.
Recognised as a Leader by Gartner in both Strategic Sourcing and Procure-To-Pay, JAGGAER’s direct and indirect eProcurement solutions help over 1850 customers, connecting to a network of 4 million+ suppliers in 70 countries.
From September 28th-30th, Procurement & Supply Chain Live gives you the opportunity to network with C-level executives, gain insight from industry pioneers and walk away with actionable insights that accelerate your career. By the end of the week, we promise you’ll have the skills to solve the world’s most pressing supply chain and procurement challenges.
Whether you attend virtually or in-person, you’ll strategise how to cope with global disruption, learn from industry pioneers - including newly announced speakers Chris Shanahan, VP Global Procurement/CPO at Thermo Fisher Scientific; Jim Townsend, Chief Procurement Officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance; and David Cho, CPO at University of Massachusetts - and walk away with tips, tactics, and tangible connections.
How to Attend
In a COVID-disrupted era, we know that the majority of people would rather avoid travelling for events─why take the risk, right? In response to the continued disruption, BizClik Media Group has decided that Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE will offer the best of both worlds through hybrid accessibility.
That means you and your peers can attend the event in person or virtually ─ with no disadvantages for people who choose not to make the trip to the Tobacco Dock venue.
Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE will be held at the Tobacco Dock in London, an industry-leading venue that is renowned for delivering world-class events. For attendees’ peace of mind, the venue is working to the government-endorsed AEV All Secure Framework, alongside mia’s AIM Secure and ‘Good to Go’ accreditation, they will ensure that we achieve a COVID-secure environment to facilitate all of your networking needs.
Our physical venue is both historic and stunning, but it has no bearing on the information that you and your peers can gain from the event. You can still absorb it all, interact with other attendees, and enjoy the conference experience on your alternative, virtual platform.
The platform will feature live feeds from all of the stages, as well as virtual networking areas. So, if you want to avoid travel, it’s not a problem! You can still get involved and enjoy the entire experience from the comfort of your own home.
New Speakers for Procurement & Supply Chain Live
VP Global Procurement/CPO at Thermo Fisher Scientific
Shanahan is Vice President, Global Procurement/CPO for Thermo Fisher Scientific in Waltham, MA. He joined the company to lead efforts in leveraging scale in the marketplace, develop capability and processes across the company, while transforming the supply base. He co-authored the Procurement Leaders Handbook, and holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Open University in the United Kingdom.
Chief Procurement Officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance
Townsend leads Walgreens procurement (Goods and Services Not For Resale). Prior to joining Walgreens Boots Alliance, he worked for Anglo American and General Electric also within commercial procurement. He has worked overseas extensively, in both manufacturing and retail environments. He holds an MBA in Strategic Procurement from the University of Birmingham, UK and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering.
CPO at University of Massachusetts
Cho is Chief Procurement Officer for the University of Massachusetts, Unified Procurement Services Team (UPST), comprising strategic sourcing, contracts, supplier management, procurement operations, accounts payable, travel services, and customer service that provide quality service to the UMass system. Cho has 25-plus years of strategy and operations management consulting and industry experience. He was formerly Global Head of Sourcing and Vendor Management at BlackRock.
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