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AI and the Supply Chain: Making More Resilient Companies

AI and the Supply Chain: Making More Resilient Companies

By Rob Enderle for Techspective


There are a lot of areas where AI can be focused and make a difference, including employee productivity, marketing, sales, customer support, manufacturing, medicine, aeronautics, robotics, and governance. But one of the most interesting is logistics. During the Covid pandemic, we saw that everything we buy and consume depends on logistics. If we don’t have access to the materials and technologies we need to build products or deliver food, everything shuts down. 


But managing logistics often looks more like witchcraft than science because our ability to anticipate and mitigate logistics problems, particularly when supply chains have become global in nature, has been exceedingly weak. AI could, and in many cases will, fix this. Let’s explore that this month.


Logistics is the coordination of a complex operation involving many people, facilities, or supplies. As companies grow to become multi-nationals, logistics (a function I audited while working as an auditor at IBM) can become a complex nightmare where one unanticipated failure can bring down an entire manufacturing line, or if critical enough (like an inability to get people to do critical work) it can shut down large operations and potentially put companies out of business. 

To ensure a supply chain and really secure it, you need to factor in global events like conflicts, potential pandemics, weather, partner health (every partner in the supply chain), currency, direct and indirect costs, critical advances, and supply conflicts. You also need to have a clear, real-time idea of what is going on with demand, litigation surrounding your products or components (which could, as Apple recently discovered with the Apple watch, result in your product being blocked), and any potential or existing related health and safety issues with what is being supplied. 

In effect, you have this huge mass of data you must capture, analyze in real-time, and project into the future so you can anticipate outages and have appropriate and ready contingency plans spun up and ready to go as you need them to keep manufacturing lines and build schedule integrity intact.

Continue reading the full article here: AI and the Supply Chain: Making More Resilient Companies 

About the Author

Rob Enderle is the president and principal analyst at the Enderle Group, where he provides regional and global companies with guidance on how to create a credible dialogue with the market, target customer needs, create new business opportunities, anticipate technology changes, select vendors, and products, and practice zero-dollar marketing. You can reach the author via email.

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