Supply Chains Champion AI and Other Technologies for Sustainability, Efficiency Gains
Key findings from the 2023 MHI Annual Report, “The Responsible Supply Chain,” highlight artificial intelligence as the most impactful technology for supply chains.
Navigating amidst what many call the “artificial intelligence (AI) revolution,” supply chain organizations show a growing faith in the power of AI and other emerging digital technologies to optimize their operations.
The escalating impact of AI was captured in the key findings from the 2023 MHI Annual Report, “The Responsible Supply Chain: Transparency, Sustainability, and the Case for Business.” Co-authored by MHI and Deloitte Consulting, the report also revealed a growing impetus for supply chains to tackle sustainability issues. A free download of the report is available at: mhi.org/publications/report.
Multiple stakeholders are pressuring supply chains to become more environmentally responsible. In the report’s survey of more than 2,000 supply chain professionals, 48% of respondents reported increased influences to adopt sustainability.
To deliver greener supply chains, organizations are increasingly turning toward technology. Using AI, digital twins, and predictive analytics, companies are reducing waste, optimizing vehicle routes to consume less fuel, and making data-driven decisions.
These technologies also help supply chains establish common greenhouse data metrics with their suppliers, denoting the importance of collaboration. Nearly 75% of survey respondents reported using some form of supplier collaboration to drive sustainability. As supply chains improve their abilities to monitor, evaluate, and share data, they illuminate the path to net zero.
Technology Investment on the Rise
In addition to meeting sustainability goals, supply chains are also adopting emerging digital technologies to boost the overall resiliency of their operations. In the survey, 74% of respondents said they planned to increase their investment in supply chain technology and innovation.
Specifically, 90% said they plan to invest more than $1 million—a 24% increase from the previous survey in 2022. This reflects that many companies have recovered from pandemic disruptions and can divert their focus from inventory management to future innovation. It also highlights the industry’s optimism in technology’s ability to create more efficient supply chains.
This year, AI was identified as the most impactful technology for supply chains. 44% of respondents said that it had the potential to create a competitive advantage, while 14% said AI had the potential to disrupt the industry. The industrial Internet of Things and driverless vehicles and drones also ranked high on impact.
Moving in the opposite direction, robotics and automation dropped five positions this year. However, more than 75% of respondents predicted the adoption of robotics/automation within 5 years, potentially signifying a changing perspective of robotics as table stakes for operations as opposed to a game changer.
MHI is currently conducting the survey for the 2024 MHI Annual Industry Report. To participate, add your input at: surveymonkey.com/r/2024AIR.
Labor Remains Top Challenge
Despite ambitious plans to invest in emerging digital technologies, many respondents cite a talent shortage as a current barrier to implementing them. For example, in the case of AI, 30% said that “lack of adequate talent” was the primary barrier to adoption. To combat labor issues, many supply chains are investing in upskilling and reskilling programs.
MODEX 2024. To discover AI and other cutting-edge technologies propelling the supply chain, visit MODEX 2024. Held March 11-14 at the Georgia World Congress Center, this event features the full spectrum of the supply chain ecosystem. You can attend free education sessions, hear dynamic keynotes (including the release of the 2024 MHI Annual Industry Report), and visit more than 1,000 exhibitors showcasing the latest innovations. For more information or to register, please visit modexshow.com.