Supply Chain AI and Machine Learning
Over the last few years, supply chain management has progressively become a more difficult task. Most recently, the pandemic proved that it is imperative for manufacturers to develop contingency plans to keep production moving in times of uncertainty. Supply chain artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are on the rise as tools to assist companies in adapting to the challenging economic environment.
What is Supply Chain AI?
Artificial intelligence involves the implementation of software that can mimic human intelligence or behaviors, such as problem-solving. Over time and with the advancement of AI technology, many manufacturers have realized that incorporating these technologies into their day-to-day operations can enhance their business and operations in numerous ways.
The introduction of supply chain AI has helped businesses streamline processes, lower costs, improve productivity, provide greater output, and enhance working conditions.
- Automated machine processes and actions that can operate independently, without human interaction.
- Machine processes working in tandem with humans to assist with their decision-making processes, to reduce the margin of error.
What is Machine Learning?
Machine learning is a form of AI that allows a software tool to learn and develop as it performs, without having to be programmed or upgraded. A prime example of a device that employs machine learning is the smart phone that many of us carry around in our pockets. Smart phones are programmed to track a user’s activity and collect data to provide a more seamless user experience. For example, if you perform the same task over and over again, such as setting an alarm or creating a calendar event, over time your smart phone will sense a pattern and alert you when the task has not been completed. The same can be true for devices used in warehouses, and when used in tandem with supply chain AI, machine learning can be an extremely beneficial warehouse management tool.
Benefits to the Supply Chain
Even prior to the pandemic and the challenges it caused, companies were constantly looking for ways to improve operations and meet growing demand. Now as we continue to learn and recover from recent hardships, supply chain AI and machine learning are powerful tools for creating more resilience. Benefits these technologies can provide to the supply chain include:
- Accurate inventory management – Managing the inventory within a warehouse is no small task. It requires a series of responsibilities from the time an order is placed to when it is fulfilled, leaving many opportunities for human error. AI systems can manage the process quickly and precisely.
- Warehouse efficiency – Supply chain AI systems can typically work more efficiently than a human can. A human tends to encounter more distractions throughout their day, causing delays.
- Enhanced Safety – Because of machine learning, supply chain AI systems can analyze workplace safety data over time and alert manufacturers about possible risks.
- Lower Operation Costs – Not only does the use of AI and machine learning potentially reduce the number of workers needed, but it also speeds up processes, allowing for more products to be moved.
Now more than ever, it is imperative that companies incorporate solutions that can streamline their logistics operations — including supply chain AI and machine learning — into their workflows and processes. The benefits outlined above can not only improve the overall efficiency of a facility and maintain competitiveness in the current environment but also introduce benefits to the overall supply chain as enterprises strive to recover from the current crisis.
Implementing AI into a Supply Chain
For many, integrating new technologies into their daily operations can be a daunting task. However, the right tools and approach can make it a more seamless transition. One way to enhance this process is by making sure that existing technologies are compatible with the new supply chain AI tools you are implementing. Many enterprises have switched to plastic pallets from iGPS, which incorporate RFID tracking and, because of their consistent dimensions, flow through automated supply chain equipment with ease.
Other ways to ensure that the implementation of artificial intelligence technology is a success include employee training efforts and creating and communicating a clear internal vision for how and why the tools will be used. As the supply chain strives to continue its recovery, supply chain AI and machine learning can be invaluable tools in contributing to economic growth.
Companies committed to incorporating smart technology use iGPS plastic pallets for all their shipping needs. Our lightweight, recyclable plastic pallets are ideal for automated environments and lower your Total Cost of Business. For more information, contact us at 1-866-557-0047, email a specialist at [email protected], or visit our contact page.