Evolution of Artificial Intelligence in Supply Chain

As the digital transformation develops, applying artificial intelligence (AI) is one way supply chain experts are resolving significant issues and enhancing worldwide operations.

Dr Kan Wen Huey, lecturer of WOU’s School of Business and Administration (SBA), gave a virtual talk titled “Roadmap Key to Adopting AI Supply Chain at Scale” on 20 Aug 2022. About 30 people attended the event organised by SBA.

She explained that humans are unable to avoid AI with the use of smartphones, social media platforms, security and surveillance, navigation, e-commerce, banking and finance industry, autonomous vehicles and smart homes.

Dr Kan explains the ways AI has influenced the people’s lives.

“Individuals frequently utilise the thumbprint, fingerprint or even face detection feature to unlock smartphones in order to safeguard the security and privacy of the data stored on them,” she shared.

Dr Kan continued by pointing out that the world has changed significantly since the Covid-19 outbreak and it had a substantial impact on the supply chain industry. She added that AI improves operational efficiency by minimising wasteful and redundant operations.

It also offers improved visibility for order and inventory management. “You can easily identify the inventory with the control system in real-world scenarios, which will help you manage and have everything on hand,” she highlighted.

An overview of how AI works in the supply chain industry.

Furthermore, AI has the ability to boost resilience, which balances risk and costs to avoid or swiftly recover from variety of simultaneous and dynamic risk-related disturbances.  

Dr Kan also discussed how AI is revolutionising the supply chain management. This includes enabling contextual intelligence, which provides information needed to save operating costs, reduce inventory, and respond to customers rapidly.

It provides insights for boosting or increasing supply chain management productivity. “The method used when we conduct an online product search enables AI to analyse massive amount of data, improving the precision of demand forecasting (process of estimating future customer demands),” she asserted.

The revolutionisation of AI in supply chain management.

The application of AI can also improve supplier selection, increase the efficacy of supplier relationships, and enhance consumer experience. Technology development has also improved production planning and factory scheduling.

As the pace of change in the supply chain accelerates continuously, AI will continue to impact the industry. It would aid in refining the products to meet the consumers’ demands with the use of data available along with forecasts and customer feedback.

Dr Kan shares about the future of AI in supply chain.

“AI will also catalyse the mechanical process and transportation, as well as reduce human labour to decrease human error, making the shipment of goods smoother and quicker,” Dr Kan said.

Going forward, it will assist with the streamline process, as AI leverages data to simplify every aspect, from demand to inventory with minimal human input. When individuals have the source of data through AI, it is easier to enhance the demand and supply with precision planning.

Profile photo of the speaker, Dr Kan.

During Q & A, Dr Kan highlighted that although AI is evolving, highly skilled personnel are still required on the ground to handle machines with a certain amount of manpower.

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