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How Artificial Intelligence Affects Supply Chain Management

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Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is one of the most exciting innovations of the 20th century. AI refers to technology that allows machines and systems to use humanlike traits, such as decision-making, learning and even creativity, to make autonomous actions instead of relying on processes or simple programming.

AI solutions are everywhere. If you use a home personal assistant such as Alexa or Siri, you are using artificial intelligence technology. Self-driving cars also use AI.

Supply Chain and Artificial Intelligence

Supply chain management stands to benefit a great deal from machine learning and AI in a few key ways:

  • Automate basic tasks. AI technologies can detect and alert companies about security intrusions, invoice exceptions, errors and other problems, saving companies the time it takes to check for and report such instances.
  • Communicate with customers. Personal assistants already allow us to get basic information and assistance. As AI assistants become more sophisticated, they can handle many customer-focused tasks at every level of the supply chain, including handling invoices, sales, administrative tasks, customer service and more. The technology may eventually provide a cost-effective way to interact with customers while providing clients with a reliable and consistent experience.
  • Take care of operational procurement. AI can submit purchasing requests, send documentation needed for compliance, address procurement functionality questions, file order requests, handle payments and more.
  • Assist with supply chain planning. This is one area where AI can be revolutionary. By gathering and analyzing data, AI technology could forecast inventory, demand and supply, as well as other areas mission-critical to business, allowing agile real-time decision-making.
  • Improve transport with driverless cars and trucks. We’re already seeing autonomous trucks and vehicles, which may become ubiquitous sooner than expected. These cars can help prevent inefficiencies in the transportation system by communicating with sensors in other vehicles and even on smart roads to prevent traffic tie-ups. Driverless trucks are also not affected by human error which can lead to delays and collisions. In the future, driverless trucks can make shipping and logistics more efficient by allowing trucks to communicate with docks and business systems to announce the arrival of shipments and to automatically receive information about inventory needs.
  • Improve logistics and transportation with smart roads. When paired with driverless cars, smart roads have the potential to dramatically change logistics and transport. Smart roads reduce the time spent at lights by automatically permitting trucks to drive through when there is no traffic. Smart roads also eliminate the need for truck scales and other delays. They can remove ice and snow, and even warn trucks when there are obstructions on the road, ensuring cargo keeps moving forward.
  • Improve warehouse management. AI technology can forecast inventory and demand, as well as other factors, continually running data streams and algorithms. It can also offer real-time decision-making support.
  • Predict suppliers. AI technology may be able to run all possible scenarios involving different suppliers, allowing you to find suppliers with the best possible outcomes and lowest risks. This way, AI could replace the reliance on reputation and trial-and-error when seeking suppliers.

Start Getting Smarter About Efficiency Now

You don’t have to wait until AI technology becomes more sophisticated to enjoy greater efficiency and cost savings. Contact Rockfarm Supply Chain Solutions to get supply chain and business solutions tailored to your needs.

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Brad Stewart, President

By Brad Stewart

Co-Founder, CCO

Brad’s journey into logistics began as a Marine Officer and transitioned from the LTL docks to the non-asset side within the logistics service provider arena.  As a co-founder of Rockfarm, Brad drives our business development efforts and delivery of our promise. An Arizona native, Brad enjoys spending time outdoors in his home state with his wife and family.

“Our approach to the market allowed us an opportunity to push forward in 2008 and enable our mission, “lower the cost to serve” to stand as a cornerstone to our company today.”


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