AI in the Supply Chain

Over the last few years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has exploded, essentially going into every sector imaginable, from finance to film making. Supply chains are no different, with AI having expanded quickly already, and almost certainly going to expand more. These are the ways in which AI technologies are helping supply chains:

SUPPLIER RISK MANAGEMENT:

In any supply chain, your suppliers are not always reliable. Some shipments could be incorrect, delayed, or not even get sent. These kinds of problems are occasionally unavoidable, but some suppliers are more prone to problems than others, and it’s important to know the risk associated with a shipment. In a normal supply chain, evaluating suppliers falls solely on personal judgement and crude arithmetic. While this may seem effective, in reality, it’s more complex. Factoring in times of year and order conditions are often too difficult for ordinary humans to perform. In an AI-enhanced supply chain, extremely complicated probabilistic calculations can be done in the blink of an eye, without any human intervention. Having a constant source of accurate information can help you make informed decisions about your suppliers.

DEMAND PREDICTIONS:

Demand for a product is always subjected to highs and lows. These may be caused by times of year (Christmas, Black Friday, etc.) or just by random fluctuations. Knowing when these variations will occur can be invaluable as you can maintain a consistent inventory.

As with before, there are many, many factors that have to be exactly calculated using complex mathematics. Rather than having a human work through it, and make mistakes, an AI system can give a close estimate quickly.

PRICE PREDICTION:

The price of a product or service is usually related to the price of the commodity behind it. For example, the price of a gold ring goes up with the price of gold, and taxi drivers need to charge more if gas prices go up. Having a system to tell you probable future price predictions can be helpful to adjust your prices in real time.

No matter the use case, it’s clear that AI technology is here to stay. While it may seem distant now, in less than a decade AI may be in every aspect of how we conduct business.

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