On the surface, terms like ‘artificial intelligence’ and ‘machine learning’ might just seem like buzzwords. But these two concepts are anything but superficial jargon – they have the power to transform the supply chain.
Artificial Intelligence vs. Machine Learning
The key difference between artificial intelligence and machine learning is that one is a broad term and one is more specific. Artificial intelligence is the broad term, referring to technology designed to understand and mimic human intelligence and reasoning. Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence, referring to a system that is designed to automatically learn and adapt through an algorithm rather than being reprogrammed by a human.
Supply Chain Applications for AI and ML
AI and ML can have a wide range of applications throughout the entire supply chain, from product development and manufacturing to procurement and last-mile tracking. Demand forecasting is one very powerful application for machine learning. With AI and ML, large amounts of historical data can be analyzed along with real-time data to accurately anticipate demand trends and identify emerging situations that could turn into larger problems.
In terms of product development and manufacturing, machine learning can be used to take all that data and identify inefficiencies in the production process and improve product quality by noting irregularities during production. Once a product is developed, machine learning can be used to optimize warehouse performance, improving inventory accuracy and safety while making it possible for people to work as efficiently as possible.
As products leave the warehouse, AI and ML can help make sure they reach their destination on time in the most cost-effective way possible.
Challenges for AI and ML Adoption
It’s crucial that AI and ML technology has high-quality data to work with. When data is siloed, corrupted, or naming conventions aren’t being used consistently, AI and ML isn’t able to use that data and analyze it to its full advantage. Poor data quality and a lack of visibility are among some of the most common challenges supply chain professionals deal with on the job.
Digital Supply Chain Solutions
With deep industry and supply chain expertise, we offer digital logistics solutions designed with the future in mind as well as AI and analytics consulting services. Our solutions are driven by speed, transparency, connectivity and resiliency, and designed to help you leverage modern technologies like AI and ML in meaningful ways. Contact us to get started.