Supply Chain

How AI is Transforming the Supply Chain

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To address evolving client needs, drive business growth and stay nimble in the face of rapid change, businesses everywhere are looking for ways to fundamentally transform the way they manage their supply chains.

This is a massively consequential undertaking. Supply chain leaders play a critical role in the company’s success. They’re tasked with continually ensuring the quality, delivery and availability of supply—while controlling costs.

They must monitor and mitigate an ever-increasing array of potential disruptions including both common events, such as weather, delivery delays and quality defects, as well as major events such as political unrest, natural disasters and the financial instability of suppliers.

Supply chain professionals face enormous pressure to be more efficient and more effective. The task, however, is difficult. Chief Supply Chain Officers who oversee vast global networks of distribution lack the ability to pinpoint and swiftly act on problems. In fact, 84% of CSCOs say the lack of supply chain visibility is their top concern.

AI may be their competitive advantage.

The Power of AI-driven Insights

To address this challenge, IBM today is announcing Watson Supply Chain Insights, an AI-based solution that helps supply chain professionals cut through data overload for increased visibility through the entire supply chain.

Watson Supply Chain Insights includes advanced AI capabilities specifically designed to give supply chain professionals greater visibility and insights. Companies can combine and correlate the vast swathes of data they possess with Supply Chain Insights and Watson and see the impact of external events such as weather and traffic.

For supply chain professionals, AI is a remarkably promising technology. AI can improve all the core processes required to run a modern supply chain. It improves outcomes by driving not just end-to-end visibility of data, but also insights on that data to improve decision making and efficiency across every aspect of the supply chain and gives everyone a single source of truth.

This is no small feat. Giving manufacturers more visibility into the supply chain allows for greater levels of agility. More specifically, it gives manufacturers more power to match customer orders to production plans—both at will and at scale.

Using Watson, the ability to immediately respond to customer order enquiries based on resource availability—a lean production method known as Availability to Promise (ATP)—is now within arm’s reach.

Acting Faster and with Confidence to Mitigate Crises

Companies can use IBM Watson Supply Chain Insights to predict, quickly assess and more effectively mitigate disruptions and risks with more complete information. With Watson AI as part of their Supply Chain team, they can reduce disruption mitigation time from days to minutes.

With Watson, supply chain professionals can cut through data noise and get the visibility and insights they need to act faster, with confidence. Overall, professionals get the insight they need to act 90% faster and these can be accessed via an intuitive dashboard that sends relevant alerts.

Using the operations center, supply chain professionals can drill down in any given event to understand what orders are impacted and the potential financial implications. Watson can correlate all relevant information about a supplier or customer to quickly get a 360 view for impact analysis, and help supply chain practitioners plan for mitigations based on a complete view of a supplier or customer. In turn, this allows supply chain professionals to look beyond their own operations and align with business and customer needs.

Capturing Institutional Knowledge

Watson is unique in that it is trained on the knowledge of the world’s professions and industries. This means companies can benefit from Watson’s capability to develop a body of knowledge over time by learning about how specific supply chain issues were resolved in the past. These learned best practices enable greater speed and accuracy in responding to future events.

In addition, supply chain teams can now rely on ‘Resolution Rooms’ within Supply Chain Insights. These rooms bring the right team together quickly to make disruption and risk mitigation decisions and allows them to access knowledge from prior event resolution.

The Benefits of a Thinking Supply Chain

From better insights, to driving down operational costs, AI can help companies build a more agile, intelligent and customer-centric supply chain. Because Supply Chain Insights provides fit-for-purpose AI, it enables greater visibility into internal and external events that affect the supply chain. In turn, this enables companies to move resources, assets, inventory and personnel much more effectively to ensure they exceed client expectations.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can leverage this force for change, please visit: ibm.com/watson/supply-chain

Vice President Strategy and Offering Management, Supply Chain Solutions, IBM Watson Customer Engagement

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