Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Supply Chain

Fueling the next-generation of supply chains

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In today’s global marketplace, businesses can win or lose on the strength of their supply chain. To deliver market-leading agility, supply chain leaders have spent years digitizing processes, optimizing workflows, and introducing analytics to better understand past events so they can take more informed actions in the future.

Despite enormous investments of time, budget and resources, some first-generation digital supply chains are still optimized in functional silos. Collaboration across functions and organizations for them would still be plagued by traditional manual processes. And supply chains of that type could still be struggling to meet the needs of the business and the expectations of customers.

The next chapter of digital transformation will require supply chains that are dynamic, responsive and interconnected across ecosystems and processes. Moving forward, you will need to take even bolder strides to drive efficiencies and be resilient to disruptions.

The ultimate goal? Build intelligent, self-correcting supply chains that deepen your competitive differentiation today and are designed for whatever the future holds.

What smart means for supply chain

That’s why I’m thrilled about the IBM Sterling Supply Chain Suite that we’re launching today. It’s an open, integrated platform with embedded Watson AI and IBM Blockchain that easily connects to your supplier and customer ecosystem. It helps you address persistent supply challenges by providing end-to-end visibility, real-time insights and recommended actions to turn disruptions into opportunities for customer engagement, growth and profit.

How smart works for supply chain
The IBM Sterling Supply Chain Suite helps you build an intelligent, self-correcting supply chain with:

  • Real-time intelligence and actionable recommendations. Applications and control towers, embedded with AI and trained in supply chain, provide end-to-end visibility, real-time alerts and recommendations that can be automated for self-correcting actions to help drive better business outcomes. Clients using individual Sterling applications, such as IBM Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer with Watson, in their supply chains today have lowered shipping cost per order by an average of 7 percent [i]. IBM also used these capabilities in its own global supply chain to reduce disruption mitigation time from days to hours [ii], becoming 95 percent more efficient at tackling recurring supply chain challenges [iii].
  • Trusted connectivity – built to scale, backed by IBM Blockchain. Our blockchain-enabled, multi-enterprise business network provides frictionless, secured connectivity and collaboration with customers, partners and suppliers. You can quickly engage with more than 800,000 preconnected trading partners executing 3 billion transactions a year [iv].
  • Open to developers to create tailored solutions. The IBM Sterling Supply Chain Suite allows systems integrators and developers to build, extend and integrate tailored supply chain solutions that can interoperate with other business networks and applications. It also enables you to bring in third-party data so that all connected applications and networks can benefit from it. The Suite’s Developer Hub provides a global community of developers, open-source programs, and a library of knowledge resources to help solve your unique supply chain challenges faster.
  • Hybrid-cloud integration to extend existing supply chain investments. Instead of requiring time-consuming and expensive migrations, the Suite’s enterprise-ready containerized software, along with IBM Cloud Paks, allows you to extend the value and reach of your legacy applications and data. This hybrid approach means you have the freedom to choose where to run your workloads and the ability to link them to value-added services in the IBM Sterling Supply Chain Suite. For example, IBM Sterling Order Management containers for Red Hat OpenShift will allow you to continue to run your software in their own datacenter – or in any cloud.

The bottom line: When you have greater transparency and a better understanding of what’s happening across your supply chain – coupled with intelligent applications for key supply chain activities – you can radically improve efficiencies. Achieve lower cost to serve with less chance of over or under correction. And make more informed decisions faster. Quite simply, you deliver better business outcomes.

I could not be more excited about how we’re driving next-generation supply chain innovation for our clients across industries.

Explore the IBM Sterling Supply Chain Suite now – or find out more about why your IT and development teams are going to love our new platform in this short conversation between Marshall Lamb, CTO, IBM Sterling and Stephen Kenna, Senior Technical Staff Member, IBM Sterling.

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i Based on data obtained from business value assessments conducted with three IBM Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer clients over a sample period of 39-52 days. Clients achieved shipping costs savings ranging between 5.7-14.1%.
ii Based on results achieved by the IBM supply chain function as a result of its Transparent and Cognitive Supply Chain initiative. The same data points apply as those referenced below in footnote iii.
iii Based on results achieved by the IBM supply chain function, which initially required an average of 170 emails and 2-5 days to resolve critical issues. Within 12-18 months after applying AI, the IBM supply chain was able to reduce issue resolution to an average of 12 emails and 60 minutes.
iv IBM Sterling Engineering team counting client IDs and transaction volumes.

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