Author : Vineet Aggarwal
COE - Logistics
05/Oct/2020

Vineet is an SME for logistics applications especially Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), supply chain, and related ERP systems. He leads the global delivery for new implementations, upgrades, customisation, and integration services at Espire.


Building a Smarter and Efficient Supply Chain Powered by AI in The New Normal

Growth of new innovations in technology and the subsequent developments around COVID-19 pandemic have created a shift towards an accelerated development and interest in deployment of modern tools led by artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), IoT, and edge-computing in the field of supply chain and logistics. The current circumstances of a fractured global supply chain, the need to have greater insight and visibility into the end-to-end supply chain, and the exciting promise of digital technology is forcing businesses to leverage the new tools for a smarter and efficient supply chain.

However, most businesses are still operating with archaic supply chain systems and struggle to utilize the overwhelming amount of dispersed and disparate data available to them. It is creating a complex mix of information stored in siloed systems, hindering any visibility into the entire operation, which ultimately renders their ability to connect and exchange critical information across their partners and supplier ecosystem. With the crisis at hand and the uncertain nature of times to come, it is critical for businesses to evolve and remain competitive.

In this blog we will discuss how leveraging and deploying digital technologies led by artificial intelligence and machine learning can both help business deliver a smarter supply chain and sail in the new normal.

McKinsey & Company postulates that businesses may gain between $1.3tr and $2tr a year in economic value by leveraging AI in their supply chains

According to PwC, Artificial Intelligence is poised to contribute to almost $15.7tr to the global economy by 2030.

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Real-Time Insights and End-to-End Visibility

Smart supply chains powered by AI can drastically enhance your ability to have greater visibility and insights into the end-to-end supply chain system, the entire transactional lifecycle and partner ecosystem. A smarter supply chain leverages AI in order to connect, sort and analyze data from siloed systems and sources to arrive at new and relevant insights. AI can do the task of reading, understanding and correlating data at an incredible scale and with speed. AI is a game changer that can help you cut 'data noise' and offer you calculable insights to make informed decisions. With AI, the abundance of data is no more overwhelming but helps you expand your business by turning available data into useful insights.

Predict, Asses and Mitigate Risk

AI clubbed with data analytics can help you forecast risks, predict disruptions as well as assess and mitigate the upcoming risks and disruptions. It helps you create a smarter supply chain that can absorb future risks and become more resilient and responsive. With calculated risk planning, assessment and mitigation strategies you can reduce risk mitigation time and costs involved. AI-enabled smart alerts and predictions can help you not just be more resilient but also helps you in averting and reducing any further disruption in future.

Driving Cost Reduction and Customer Satisfaction

Digital leaders today are leveraging AI and associated disruptive technologies to not just streamline their workflow, smoothen work stream or mitigate risks but also to reduce operational and transactional costs related to the supply chain and logistics. Modern tools led by AI offer businesses a new stream of solutions that are complementing supply chain management, existing solutions, fulfillment and supply assurance. AI and IoT in logistics helps businesses to keep track of their inventories down to the shipping container levels which helps them to resolve events faster, deliver speedier, predict delays, identify patterns and delight customers.

Identify Patterns and Forecast Trends

ML algorithms can be so programmed that they can analyze statistics and data by factoring in historical and environmental information as well as market and customer demands, to produce favorable insights into present and future trends and patterns. All this has been made possible as businesses are able to collect and have a holistic view of data collected, as smarter supply chains tend to be digitized end-to-end.

According to McKinsey and in its 'Supply Chain 4.0: Opportunities to use your supply chain for differentiation' report, ML-powered forecasting through advanced analytics is the most preferred choice for unlocking value in a modern supply chain. According to McKinsey’s research, when businesses use ML algorithms in conjunction with enterprise data forecasting, accuracy sees a 12% overall increase.

Warehouse Management

AI led automation offers tremendous opportunities to businesses for smart stock management and warehouse operations. These AI led and edge-computing powered bots can help in warehouse management not just with mechanical arms that organize, sort, select, distribute and handle inventory but also help in calculating day-to-day movement of stocks and with the task of keeping the robots working in the warehouse settings. AI, backed by edge computing, offers an extensive set of possibilities to business engaged in logistics and supply chain management.

76% respondents to Deloitte's 2019 Supply Chain and Digital Analytics Survey pointed that AI and ML is critical element in their overall strategy but only 44% responded on investing at least $5mn into deploying these technologies.

COVID-19 pandemic has opened up new frontiers towards digital transformations and have pushed businesses to adopt modern digital tools to scale production, boost efficiency, streamline operations and bolster resilience against present and upcoming crisis. Businesses today stand amidst a torrent of opportunity as industry 4.0 technologies present a myriad of solutions to the present problems and those they are yet to face in the next normal. These technologies, led by AI and ML, are and will help business to transform to a smarter supply chain, smarter factories, and deliver with speed, scale, reliability, and resilience. Investment in digital technology is deemed imminent and digital maturity is the need of the times.

Over the years, Espire has delivered multiple projects globally in the back-end supply chain & WMS space. Blue Yonder (Formerly JDA) Warehouse Management Solution as our key technology specialization positions us at the forefront in this space, to deliver end-to-end services for logistics organizations who need to stay ahead of the competition. Reach us at marketing@espire.com for any queries and do subscribe to our blogs for latest updates and insights.



The current circumstances of a fractured global supply chain, the need to have greater insight and visibility into the end-to-end supply chain, and the exciting promise of digital technology is forcing businesses to leverage the new tools for a smarter and efficient supply chain.


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