5 ways in which #Artificial #Intelligence can have a #positive impact on #Supply #Chains & #Logistics

#Artificial #Intelligence will be the end of #mankind… Really ?

If you listen to #apocalyptic #technological #midgets or #theoretical #physicists like #Professor #Stephen #Hawkins, you will believe such statements.

You will not even care to know what AI can, and is already achieving at this age.
Much hype surrounds the #negative, #immoral or #downright illegal uses of #artificial #intelligence.

But there is a growing raft of very positive ways in which AI is helping make work easier.

Can it be used to improve #global #commerce by being deployed in our #supply #chains?

Let us find out!

Just what exactly is AI
There are many #technologies that are #collectively known as artificial intelligence.

Simply put, it is the set of #technologies that have #enabled the creation of computers and machines that act and reason like humans.

In other words, computers that perform complex tasks and learn as they do these tasks to improve their performance over time without needing human help.

#Sound #scary?

Well, I know it does. Especially when you think of #Sophia and her #declaration to destroy all #mankind.

But it need not be. And here’s why…

When you learn how several of these #technologies work, you start seeing how possible it is to create #intelligent #machines.

Examples of AI #technologies
#Machine #Learning:

This technology allows computers to use logic to understand #phenomena and #purify output as #different #situations are presented.

#Natural #Language #Processing:

This is the technology that allows computers to turn data to text and therefore create an easy, coherent and detailed analysis of complex data.

Neural Networks:

These are interconnected computers that recognize patterns and use logic to execute outcomes. They are very useful for machines that perform complex actions.

Others: there are many technologies in this space. Others that in common use include facial recognition, deep learning, speech recognition and text analytics

Constraints in the supply chains
The greatest challenges in the supply chains are mainly around management of cost, profitability flexibility, transparency and Customer satisfaction.

Five scenarios where AI can help
Online Supplier Management
With AI, it is possible to augment or even automate supplier management. Online interconnection of supplier input data can assist in assessing whether a supplier will realistically fulfill an order at a required timeline.

It is also possible to ascertain compliance of in-process batches before they are even dispatched based on the input information, and this can greatly reduce logistical costs and increase compliance, and customer satisfaction.

Product Provenance and Transparency
In industries such as food and feed, there are many initiatives that are pegged on product provenance.

AI can assist such movements as the Organic products, Fair Trade or other identity-preserved materials to detect and eliminate fraud in the supply chain.
For example, speech recognition software can be used to log specified quantities of products from one section of the distribution chain to the next to prevent fraudulent diversion, poaching or substitution of protected products.
Stock Management
Using predictive analysis, machines are capable of placing replenishment orders for stocks based on customers’ order patterns.

This allows businesses to have accurate predictions of requirements, minimize stocks, improve cash flow and provide just-in-time deliveries of high-quality products to customers.
Synchronizing Distribution with Customer Demand
Global corporates will be able to cut on costs and improve distribution efficiencies by use of neural networks that combine the logistical requirements for distribution of goods and predicted customer demand.

In other words, a well-coordinated AI effort will predict customer demand, environmental conditions, etc., based on analysis of big data, and identify the most logical and compliant distribution mode that guarantees quick delivery at minimum cost.

For example; AI will glean weather data from the most reliable sources on the web to advise on the best haulage options between distribution points where there are poor road networks and anticipated adverse weather.

It is also now possible to have drones deliver small shopping parcels to doorsteps using the technologies, and driverless vehicles may one day make it even cheaper to deliver goods.

Final Thoughts
So will humans perish or benefit from artificial intelligence?

The use cases depicted here show that AI both augments human engagement in supply processes and enables automation of complex operations.

It is possible to now use neural networks and machine learning, among other technologies, to predict customer behavior, increase transparency, circumvent environmental distribution constraints and manage stocks for more efficiency in global supply chains.

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