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Enabling a Disruption Free Supply Chain With AI
August 4, 2020 Blog


Digital transformation and IR4.0 initiatives are the driving force behind many of the data-driven aspirations of today’s organisations. Nevertheless, no matter how technologically advanced a company may become, one truth remains, they must always be prepared for the unexpected and have appropriate contingencies well in place.

If there is one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it is the importance of having business continuity plans for when disaster does strike. This includes having the right technologies for remote working as well as having complete visibility into the supply chain to ensure maximum productivity and mitigate disruptions.

For businesses looking to achieve their IR4.0 objectives, automation is a key enabler. Being able to automate almost every process in an industry is indeed a dream come true for any organisation. Today, it is no longer just a dream because there are technologies available to make it possible. Not only can enterprises save on employee wages, but they can also ensure production runs 24/7 with minimal disruption. They can even foresee issues that may cause downtime well in advanced and take preventative measures.

Modern supply chains need to leverage as much data and automation as possible. Businesses need to be able to not only have insights into the supply chain but also be able to meet the growing demands of their customers. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the catalyst which enables many of these advancements. It is changing the supply chain landscape for organisations around the world.

The findings of a market research report by Meticulous research stated that the AI in the manufacturing market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 39.7% from 2019 to 2027 to reach $27 billion by 2027. “Organisations are aggressively adopting AI-based solutions and services to reshape their business operations and increase profitability. The adoption of AI technologies in the manufacturing industry is on the rise to create new opportunities and enhance operational capabilities by leveraging new technologies, fastening processes and making organisations adaptable to changes in the future”, the report said.

So how can businesses make the best use of AI in the supply chain?

AI-powered machine learning solutions are able to provide organisations with the analysis needed to make the right decisions at the right time. This includes the capabilities of understanding changing consumer behaviour as well as optimising inventory levels and replenishment plans to avoid any disruption to the supply chain.

Business can also apply AI into sales and operations planning including supply chain data pools to manage demand volatility, supply constraints, production scheduling and dynamic distribution. With its abilities to augment human interaction, AI can also be used for allocating resources, assigning people and scheduling processes.

For enhanced visibility, businesses can rely on machine learning capabilities that apply algorithms to massive operational data feeds to discover insights to track and predict supply chain disruptions. These capabilities can also recommend alternative actions for unplanned events and transportation disruptions.

IBM is able to help organisations use AI to automate their supply chain in their journey towards IR4.0. With IBM, businesses can evolve their supply chain processes into intelligent workflows, to reach new levels of responsiveness and innovation. Not only will they be able to challenge siloed processes to uncover efficiencies, but businesses will also enable their teams to execute and deliver more efficiently as well as unlock opportunities in every step of the value chain.

For more information on how IBM can assist your organisation, click here.