GOOD QUESTION: How Will Artificial Intelligence Impact Supply Chain Management in the Next Five Years?
Who’s scared of artificial intelligence? These human experts weigh in on how AI will affect supply chain management in the coming years, with answers ranging from “cataclysmic” to “game changing” to “meh.”
Artificial intelligence (AI) plays a pivotal role in understanding the modern supply chain and guarding against disruptions. Probabilistic Bayesian modeling, cutting-edge network optimizations, faster Monte Carlo simulations, game theory, intelligent utilization of generative AI and large language models, and translating human knowledge into math are essential to respond to supply chain demands.
Senior Manager and AI Captain, Data and Artificial Intelligence
We are increasingly becoming pilots in an AI cockpit—in supply chain management and virtually all fields. We need to get used to this. This change is touching all areas of supply chain management.
Chief Product Officer
AI will transform supply chain management by enhancing demand forecasting, quality control, inventory management, risk assessment, and cybersecurity. This shift toward proactive optimization will underpin efficient decision-making in supply chain management.
AI will predict demand, enhance inventory management, and automate logistics. Automation-based analytics has the ability to provide real-time insights, enabling faster decision-making and reducing overall costs. This will help supply chains become more efficient, resilient, and responsive to market conditions.
Echo Global Logistics
The change will be cataclysmic in both good and bad ways. Supply networks will move at warp speed, but with speed will come a host of additional issues and they will be harder to fix when they occur.
AI will absolutely revolutionize global supply chain management. By employing generative AI and its next evolutions, complex sourcing operations can be streamlined into a control-tower model, allowing teams to oversee planning, producing, and shipping in real time while accurately predicting trends and proposing alternative actions significantly more efficiently than today.
Machine learning will take the supply chain to the next level. It will make day-to-day operations more efficient and cost-effective by seamlessly connecting buyers and suppliers. It will alleviate administrative burdens and manual processes from departments, allowing them to refocus on core business matters.
93% of B2B companies plan to invest in generative AI in the next 12 months, with the most anticipated impact being improvements in business operations. The B2B customer journey is incredibly complex, both for buyers and supply chain managers. These new technologies have significant implications for enhanced automation, simplified supply chain management, and data-driven decision-making.
AI’s power lies in its ability to leverage exponential variables from diverse data sets, regardless of size and frequency, supporting accurate forecasting and decision-making in the face of ever-changing conditions. Supply chain organizations will progress to leverage this real-time information to unlock hidden patterns and optimize inventories.
Executive Vice President
Human decision-making will always be superior. A collaborative approach that blends human expertise with AI predictive suggestions is vital. This synergy is the key to unlocking AI’s true potential in supply chain management.
Vice President, Client Engagement
As AI advances in supply chain management, market strategy will shift from reacting to major consumer and ecosystem changes to become a more proactive, predictive model. We can also expect to see robotics and machines enabled to perform detailed and highly variable tasks.
Vice President, Innovation, Research and Development
AI will enhance global risk management by predicting potential disruptions from factors like political unrest, natural disasters, etc., allowing faster mitigation and minimizing impact. AI will also help firms better navigate complex international trade regulations.
Chief Technology Officer
Generative AI breathes life into data, while large language models streamline inventory management, and conversational AI enhances collaboration. AI in supply chain management is set to optimize operations, enhance responsiveness, and create robust supply chains for evolving market needs.
–Dr. Paul Pallath
Vice President, Applied AI Practice
AI will make supply chains more resilient and adaptive, rerouting resources in case of disruptions. But two points are clear: First, this is a space race, and second, the efficacy of AI will only be as good as the data it’s trained on.
Chief Information Officer
Traditional data algorithms will trump AI. Process automation based on traditional data algorithms rather than artificial intelligence will be the big driver of efficiency in supply chain management over the next five years. A different approach but still machine driven efficiency.
Co-Founder and President
Trade Tech Inc.
AI is set to revolutionize supply chains by allowing businesses to make more informed decisions and elevating sustainability. It will do this in several ways, allowing for: 1) accurate demand forecasting, 2) inventory optimization, 3) more efficient routes and logistics, 4) management of supplier relationships, and 5) data analytics utilization.
–Ann Marie Jonkman
PMP, Senior Director, Global Industry Strategies
Chief executives must identify the best AI applications for their team and then invest in extensive training in the next five years. Organizations that embrace AI and adapt to these changes gain a competitive edge in the evolving supply chain management landscape.
Chief Research Officer
Uncertain & Unpredictable
The true capabilities and risks associated with AI are still unknown. We are a data and operations company, so platform and information security are critical. Right now AI is seen as a productivity amplifier, but as more responsibility is handed over, vulnerabilities and risk are on the horizon.
Chief Technology Officer
It’s hard to predict the impact of AI, specifically generative AI. It is exciting to consider the potential impact on demand planning, supplier governance, and logistics to name a few. What is clear is that reliable data and better visibility to the entire value chain will be essential.
The industry has only scratched the surface of automation and robots which will gain efficiencies and reduce costs by handling tasks like load matching, warehouse automation, tracking and routing. For example: Generative AI acts as an assistant to support strategy by assessing different scenarios, highlighting risk factors, and making recommendations.
AI’s ability to analyze real-time and historical data can add tremendous efficiency to route planning and fleet management efforts, among other benefits—when implemented effectively to an existing operation. This enhanced efficiency should lower shipping costs and fuel consumption, making supply chains more competitive and eco-friendly.
Director of Business Intelligence
AI is already making itself known—through route planning, yard management, and attempting to connect and make inferences where data does not or cannot exist, such as in forced labor validations. AI’s greatest challenge will be availability of data—companies will be reticent to share unless they will benefit commercially.
Founder, Chief Storyteller
AI will integrate behavioral and supply chain data and then analyze hundreds of thousands of constraints and variables across disparate systems. This will transform supply chains by circumventing disruptions and providing prescriptive actions to optimize outcomes which will seamlessly align all forward and reverse processes, while providing ideal course corrections instantaneously.
Director of Product Strategy
AI presents significant opportunity within supply chain. Leaders can expect to see cognitive computing automate dynamic processes, including forecasting, inventory management, and route optimization, while organizations may choose to build their own generative AI tools to inform planning, forecasting, and risk management—moving decision making from predictive to prescriptive.
VP of Operational Excellence (automation/innovation/analytics)
DHL Supply Chain
Supply chain management is ripe for AI adoption. As AI advances, organizations that don’t digitally transform won’t survive. Meanwhile, AI adopters will accelerate human output and increase supply chain resiliency. They will uncover millions in cost savings from insights and avoided risks, increasing speed-to-market, productivity, and job satisfaction.
AI adds predictive data and proactive decision-making opportunities to supply chain operations. While more data is generated, we need to identify why that data matters and operationalize it. Turning on AI-enabled programs does not immediately solve the problem—rather, use it as a component in the solution and as an accelerator of outcomes.
In supply chain design, AI will help analysts interpret massive amounts of data across thousands of scenarios to determine what’s different, identify relationships between inputs and outputs, and suggest how to improve cost, service, and risk. Interactive conversations with “design bots” will help analysts build scenarios to improve KPIs.
VP Business Development
The potential of AI in the next five years is limitless. Since the launch of ChatGPT and generative AI, there has been a rush to incorporate more of this technology into supply chain solutions. With the ongoing labor shortage in the supply chain industry, adopting advanced solutions like this will be a make or break going forward given demand continues to rise.
By leveraging AI, ChatGPT or Generative AI, supply chain management companies gain end-to-end visibility that enables better decision-making, reduced costs, improved efficiency, and a stronger customer experience while alleviating the workload on the workforce.
SVP and General Manager
Artificial intelligence in the supply chain is not new–generating new artifacts to support it, is. Decisions impacting supply chain performance—order quantities, routing, inventory allocation–are limited. AI will improve the impact with real-time data from external and/or internal sources to augment the models and drive a better outcome.
Global Strategy Lead for Transportation, Logistics and Warehouse
AI is poised to impact every attribute of the supply chain, including demand forecasting, fleet utilization, load management, route optimization, driver wellness and safety, warehouse operations, multimodal shipments, fraud detection, and more. Besides, self-driving trucks and delivery vehicles rely on AI tech today.
President – Sales
AI will likely play a role in real-time flagging of potential shipping issues, whether it’s due to weather, airport delays, road blockages, etc., and be able to immediately reroute to find a quicker route. Unforeseen issues happen all the time, and until recently, there was little to nothing to do about that. AI could change the game and provide a whole new landscape to ensure supply chains maintain the highest level of efficiency.
Founder & CEO
As blockchain technology advances, AI’s capacity to leverage it for supply chain management will grow. Their synergy will enhance the ability of software to utilize smart contracts and IoT sensors for improved transparency, demand forecasting, and real-time tracking. This will streamline operations, cut costs, and prevent fraudulent claims.
CEO, Nova Technology
Supply chain management will change because of AI, which enhances visibility, tracking, and preventative maintenance while bolstering demand forecasts. AI helps with automated warehouses, autonomous deliveries, supplier risk analysis, chatbot communication, sustainability efforts, quality control, and procurement efficiency. AI will also boost productivity, cut expenses, and boost performance, but there are still concerns about data quality, worker adaptation, and privacy.
Artificial intelligence is already a valuable tool. By analyzing historical data and market trends, AI is enhancing decision-making and improving inventory management. It will grow beyond just data analysis and be used to automate routine tasks, identify cost savings, and add transparency, increasing efficiency in supply chain management.
Executive Vice President, Business Development
Montway Auto Transport
Dynamic pricing through AI will have a huge impact on supply chain management—it will ensure transportation rates are truly based on supply and demand, similar to airlines and hotels. AI tools will also assist with shipment recognition and dimension/weight determination to ensure pricing accuracy.
AI will significantly enhance brokerages’ customer service capabilities in the next five years. For example, rather than working with the loosely integrated APIs available today, AI will automate manual tasks to help shippers reduce support costs and deliver a more personal customer experience.
Vice President of Data Science
Generative AI is set to transform workplace training: GenAI facilitates rapid knowledge transfer and retention and gives organizations the capabilities to create more effective, personalized, and engaging training experiences for their employees.
This technology will continue to bridge the gap between traditional training methods and the demands of a dynamic, digitally driven world, ultimately fostering a more skilled, adaptable, and competitive workforce.
AI will become extremely instrumental in keeping supply chains agile with real-time fulfillment and routing. Increased efficiency and automation usually mean fewer people are needed to do the same tasks, so the potential impact on employment needs to be monitored.
U.S. Buyer Underwriting
Artificial intelligence will:
- Automate tasks, reducing costs and freeing up workers for more strategic roles.
- Improve forecasting and visibility, enabling companies to respond more quickly and efficiently to disruptions.
- Optimize transportation and logistics, reducing waste and improving delivery times.
- Create new business models and opportunities, such as predictive maintenance and personalized product delivery.
Here’s a look at 20 AI applications in the supply chain.