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Darrell Edwards, SVP & Chief Supply Chain Officer, La-Z-Boy Incorporated [NYSE:LZB]
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Artificial intelligence advances supply chain
Supply chain management move in a process from supplier to manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer. It brings together various types of processes and departments. But its difficult to manage supply chain management because of different interconnected entities and processes. Organizations get inundated by the massive amount of information coming from suppliers and customers. The only human workforce is not enough in handling the processes efficiently and error-free.
Introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) in the supply chain improves business operations by leveraging the huge amount of data generated by sensors monitoring the production and movement of products using IoT (internet of things). The supply chain can be benefitted from the streamlining because it has a direct influence on profitability and customer satisfaction. Following are some of the ways supply chain can be improved by bringing AI into it:
Predictive maintenance: AI-driven sensors monitor operational conditions in the supply chain. The sensors can alert technicians in advance about potential equipment problems and service machines based on real-time rather than scheduled service visits, which based on the recommendations on general manufacturers.
Smarter shipping: AI aid the supply chain by calculating the influence of extreme weather on shipping schedules. Also, algorithms are used to manage last minute changes, select the best alternative port in case the original one is blocked, and estimate time of arrival.
Warehouse management: AI identifies inventory and order patterns to reveal which items are selling and which should be restocked first. AI-driven voice recognition helps to increase the efficiency in product picking.
Delivery: Nowadays shipping companies are competing to have the advanced and efficient delivery services as this process is the most vital in the supply chain. Advanced companies are installing robots in its warehouses and air freight centers, semi-autonomous trucks that independently can drive without human intervention.
Making a flexible structure in the supply chain demands AI's intervention. Digitized supply chain processes provide agile solutions in chaining processes, tactics, and strategies as the journey of transformation navigates.