How AI can be applied within Supply Chain Management ? – by Abhilasha Satpathy, DCMME Center Graduate Student Assistant

 

  1. Chatbots for Operational Procurement:

Streamlining procurement related tasks through the automation and augmentation of Chabot capability requires access to robust and intelligent data sets, in which, the ‘procuebot’ would be able to access as a frame of reference; or it’s ‘brains’

As for daily tasks, Chatbots could be utilized to:

  • Speak to suppliers during trivial conversations.
  • Set and send actions to suppliers regarding governance and compliance materials.
  • Place purchasing requests.
  • Research and answer internal questions regarding procurement functionalities or a supplier/supplier set.
  • Receiving/filing/documentation of invoices and payments/order requests (Smith 2016).

 

2.Machine Learning (ML) for Supply Chain Planning (SCP)

Supply chain planning is a crucial activity within SCM strategy. Having intelligent work tools for building concrete plans is a must in today’s business world.ML, applied within SCP could help with forecasting within inventory, demand and supply. If applied correctly through SCM work tools, ML could revolutionize the agility and optimization of supply chain decision-making.By utilizing ML technology, SCM professionals — responsible for SCP — would be giving best possible scenarios based upon intelligent algorithms and machine-to-machine analysis of big data sets. This kind of capability could optimize the delivery of goods while balancing supply and demand, and wouldn’t require human analysis, but rather action setting for parameters of success.

  1. Machine Learning for Warehouse Management

Taking a closer look at the domain of SCP, its success is heavily reliant on proper warehouse and inventory-based management. Regardless of demand forecasting, supply flaws (overstocking or under stocking) can be a disaster for just about any consumer-based company/retailer.ML provides an endless loop of forecasting, which bears a constantly self-improving output. This kind of capabilities could reshape warehouse management as we know today.

  1. Autonomous Vehicles for Logistics and Shipping

Intelligence in logistics and shipping has become a center-stage kind of focus within supply chain management in the recent years. Faster and more accurate shipping reduces lead times and transportation expenses, adds elements of environmental friendly operations, reduces labor costs, and — most important of all — widens the gap between competitors.

If autonomous vehicles were developed to the potential — that certain business analysts and tech gurus have hypothesized — the impact on logistics optimization would be astronomical.

“Where drivers are restricted by law from driving more than 11 hours per day without taking an 8-hour break, a driverless truck can drive nearly 24 hours per day. That means the technology would effectively double the output of the U.S. transportation network at 25 percent of the cost” (techcrunch.com 2016).

  1. Natural Language Processing (NLP) for Data Cleansing and Building Data Robustness

NLP is an element of AI and Machine Learning, which has staggering potential for deciphering large amounts of foreign language data in a streamlined manner.

NLP, applied through the correct work took, could build data sets regarding suppliers, and decipher untapped information, due to language barrier. From a CSR or Sustainability & Governance perspective, NLP technology could streamline auditing and compliance actions previously unable because of existing language barriers between buyer-supplier bodies (greenbiz 2017).

  1. ML and Predictive Analytics for Supplier Selection and Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)

Supplier selection and sourcing from the right suppliers is an increasing concern for enhancing supply chain sustainability, CSR and supply chain ethics. Supplier related risks have become the ball and chain for globally visible brands. One slip-up in the operations of a supplier body, and bad PR is heading right towards your company.

But, what if you had the best possible scenario for supplier selection and risk management, during every single supplier interaction?

Data sets, generated from SRM actions, such as supplier assessments, audits, and credit scoring provide an important basis for further decisions regarding a supplier. With the help of Machine Learning and intelligible algorithms, this (otherwise) passive data gathering could be made active. Supplier selection would be more predictive and intelligible than ever before; creating a platform for success from the very first collaborations. All of this information would be easily available for human inspections but generated through machine-to-machine automation; providing multiple ‘best supplier scenarios’ based on whatever parameters, in which, the user desires.

References:

Community, K. R. (2017, October 26). 6 Applications of Artificial Intelligence for your Supply Chain. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@KodiakRating/6-applications-of-artificial-intelligence-for-your-supply-chain-b82e1e7400c8

 

Questions:

  1. How will AI and autonomous vehicles transform supply chains as we know them?
  2. How does AI help in predictive analysis?
  3. How will Machine Learning change supply chain planning?

 

 

 

Microsoft HoloLens 2 Release Details

Microsoft is going to announce and show off its HoloLens 2 at the Mobile World Congress on February 24th.

Here’s what to expect from the new HoloLens:

1.) The price point is expected to be roughly the same compared to the original HoloLens, which was $3,000 for the base model and $5,000 for the commercial model.

2.) There will be new Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology introduced. Little detail has been revealed about the AI tech and what its capabilities will be when integrated with the HoloLens 2.

3.) Improved Hologram graphics. The graphics are expected to be clearer and up to date compared to the previous HoloLens.

4.) A better processor will be installed to handle the AI and the improved hologram graphics. In addition to this, there will be less delay in response time when using the HoloLens 2.

5.) There’s a possibility of a new design and couple of additional features. These new features are still unknown, but rumor has it the material might be different and lighter weight.

Confirmed details will be released in next Thursday’s blog post after the Mobile World Congress on February 24th.

Will the new HoloLens be incorporated into the market for more commercial uses?

What new sensors will be added to the HoloLens for better use and more applications of the tool?

What additional uses will the new HoloLens 2 have when AI is incorporated into the device?

Source: https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/hololens-2-news-roundup/

Military Uses AI Technology for Drone Applications

The US Army is increasing its use of drones to expand and improve capabilities and awareness on the battlefield. This use of drone technology is apart of the Army’s initiative to integrate emerging technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), better resolution sensors, and faster processing speeds of computers.

They’re using a “MacBook” size tablet to operate multiple drones because of a new operational infrastructure backbone developed in a partnership with MAG Aerospace. This technical blueprint system is owned by the Army and will allow soldiers to have quicker access to each drone, which will be incredibly useful in combat environments where live and instant video feeds are important.

The drones will also be able to operate on their own with the use of AI technology and can also be operated by the soldiers on the ground if needed. AI technology and the use of drones are making huge strides in development and use for military applications.

Will this technology be incorporated into the consumer market in the near future?

How can this technology be used in supply chain and operations for business applications?

Will there be additional applications for drones with further development of AI technology?

Source:

https://www.foxnews.com/tech/army-soldiers-use-macbook-sized-tablet-to-operate-multiple-small-drones

Disruptive Innovations and their applications in Supply Chain Management – by Abhilasha Satpathy, DCMME Center Graduate Student Assistant

Procurement and supply chain are at the cusp of a disruption with AI, IoT and blockchain technology. A digital transformation is ensuing with the promise of greater efficiency in business processes, operations, transparency and security.

Spend analysis

Spend analysis used in strategic sourcing, needs a shift from the traditional descriptive analytics model to more predictive and prescriptive analytics. Organizations can develop tools to enhance their spend analysis with public domain data — from social media, weather data, demographics, suppliers, competition and logistics to name a few — to help uncover insights that can save money and improve supply chain.

 

Supplier lifecycle management

The traditional supplier lifecycle management platform, when augmented by big data from the public domain, can offer meaningful information on suppliers and supply chain risks. An IoT solution can be employed to track the quality of the product at various stages of the supply chain thus improving the efficiency in the process and providing the metrics for supplier evaluation.

 

Strategic sourcing

Supplier bids are collected using online sourcing events, but a large part of the sourcing evaluation and award process is manual in nature. Using blockchain for through all steps of the process — proposals, quotes and bids — or auction, can offer greater efficiency and transparency.

 

Contract management

A blockchain platform and its smart contract framework coupled with IoT and AI, can help facilitate greater efficiency in compliance and obligation management. AI can help develop smart wizards to build contracts based on responses to specific questions and can further be enabled for pattern recognition to identify changes to standard clauses or introduction of non-standard clauses.

Order management

The traditional order management system is internal to any organization and facilitates the fulfillment process. Blockchain platform powered with AI and IoT can drive greater efficiency in orchestrating and streamlining purchase orders, shipment details, trade documents, goods receipts, quality assurance documents, returns and accounting.

Logistics

The logistics industry is an early adopter of AI, IoT and Blockchain, and is already reaping great business benefits. IoT in the logistics ecosystem can provide great insights on inventory management, shelf life, storage temperature, delivery routes, real-time tracking of freight and more

 

Reference:

https://www.ibm.com/blogs/blockchain/2018/04/digital-transformation-next-gen-procurement-and-supply-chain/

 

Questions:

  1. How are AI, IOT and blockchain transforming the logistics industry?
  2. How is blockchain helping in order management?
  3. How can AI help in contract management ?

Exoskeletons at Ford

Ford is one of many companies using wearable technology to ease the burden for assembly workers. Exoskeletons are ergonomic devices that can reduce fatigue and aid in protecting workers from repetitive strenuous motion. The wearable technology at first was mostly intended for industrial usage, however the military and medical fields are finding its applications appealing.  

Exoskeleton applications

Examples of practical wearable technology applications include magnetic lift assists, articulating arms, hydraulic lift tables and weld positioners.

Magnetic lift assists transform a heavy task into a light or even a weightless one becoming popular in the industrial workplace.

Articulating arms remove the weight of the machine in drilling, trapping or grinding activities enhancing the accuracy and reducing the time to compete the operation.

Hydraulic lift tables enable workers to position work at a convenient and efficient height eliminating physical strains – bending, lifting, stretching – related to machine feeding applications.

Weld positioners enable a welder to avoid strenuous physical positioning by protecting vulnerable body parts.

Exoskeletons offer a protecting shield from repetitive motion making assembly workers safer, more precise and productive.

What are the benefits of wearable technology?

Can wearable technology enhance employee performance?

What are exoskeleton applications?

Sources:

https://www.thefabricator.com/article/assembly/exoskeletons-make-assembly-finishing-joining-less-injurious-more-productive

How Bunnies Are Solving the World’s Pollution Problems and More

A new start-up, LanzaTech, believes they have developed a way to reduce pollution, increase food production, make gas for cars and fuel for planes cheaper, and potentially provide a more cost effective and eco-friendly source for plastics used in many mass-manufactured products today. Their solution: rabbits. Well, specifically a special bacteria found within the stomachs of a rabbit which has the ability to take carbon emissions from factories and turn it into ethanol. This method could reduce the need to make corn-based ethanol, freeing up more land for food production, and increase the amount of ethanol that we can put in gasoline and jet fuel. According to the article “This start-up turns pollution from factories into fuel that powers cars – and on day planes” by Catherin Clifford, the founder of Virgin Atlantic, an airline company, believes this technology will reduce the reliance of airliners on oil. While it is good that we can reduce pollution from factories by recycling it and cutting our reliance on big oil, the real kicker is that it can be done cheaply. According to the article, tests of airline fuel using ethanol from this method of production have reduced the carbon footprint (when compared to current jet fuel) by 70% and at a cost such that they can sell it at the level of the “lowest current alternative to jet fuel available today”. Eventually, the company hopes to expand and use the same bacteria to create polyethylene which is used in most plastic products today.

 

This technology could have major ramifications on factories and manufacturers if it becomes mainstream, mostly because it would require great coordination with these companies as it is their emissions that LanzaTech would need to harvest in order to make their new fuel. But, if companies agree to this, it will help manufacturers reduce their carbon emissions making it easier for them to comply with environmental standards, potentially provide a new source of revenue for them in the form of selling carbon emissions, and ultimately help reduce shipping costs if the price of jet fuel is really able to drop as much as this company is predicting. All thanks to a bacteria found in the gut of a bunny.

 

For more information on LanzaTech go to this website: http://www.lanzatech.com/

 

Questions:

  1. How many manufacturers would need to begin using this tech to make a significant impact on the pollution numbers we see today?
  2. How would reducing the need for corn-based ethanol impact the food industry?
  3. What impact does this have on the oil industry? Will it really reduce our reliance on Big Oil?

 

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/27/lanzatech-turns-carbon-waste-into-ethanol-to-one-day-power-planes-cars.html

 

IOT Increasing Operational Efficiencies – by Abhilasha Satpathy, DCMME Center Graduate Student Assistant

Indeed, the IoT is set to revolutionize the supply chain with both operational efficiencies and revenue opportunities made possible with just this type of transparency. In today’s market, supply chain isn’t just a way to keep track of your product. It’s a way to gain an edge on your competitors and even build your own brand. The following are a few areas of operations where we’ll be seeing the most advancement and change with the ever-advancing Industrial IoT.

Operational Efficiencies

When it comes to operational efficiencies, the IoT offers:

  • Asset Tracking: Tracking numbers and bar codes used to be the standard method for managing goods throughout the supply chain. But with the IoT, those methods are no longer the most expedient. New RFID and GPS sensors can track products “from floor to store”—and even beyond. At any point in time, manufacturers can use these sensors to gain granular data like the temperature at which an item was stored, how long it spent in cargo, and even how long it took to fly off the shelf. The type of data gained from the IoT can help companies get a tighter grip on quality control, on-time deliveries, and product forecasting. Not too shabby.
  • Vendor Relations: The data obtained through asset tracking is also important because it allows companies to tweak their own production schedules, as well as recognize sub-par vendor relationships that may be costing them money. According to IBM up to 65% of the value of a company’s products or services is derived from its suppliers. That’s a huge incentive to pay closer attention to how your vendors are handling the supplies they’re sending you, and how they’re handling your product once it’s made. Higher quality goods mean better relationships with customers—and better customer retention overall.
  • Forecasting and Inventory: Another bonus: IoT sensors can provide far more accurate inventories than humans can manage alone. For instance, Amazon is using WiFi robots to scan QR codes on its products to track and triage its orders. Imagine being able to track your inventory—including the supplies you have in stock for future manufacturing—at the click of a button. You’d never miss a deadline again. And again, all that data can be used to find trends to make manufacturing schedules even more efficient.
  • Connected Fleets: As the supply chain continues to grow—upward and outward—it’s even more imperative to ensure that all your carriers—be it shipping containers, suppliers’ delivery trucks, or your van out for delivery—are connected. Again, the data is the prize. Just like cities are using this data to get to emergencies quicker or clear up traffic issues, manufacturers are using it to get better products to their customers, faster.
  • Scheduled Maintenance: Of course, the IoT can also use smart sensors on its manufacturing floors to manage planned and predictive maintenance and prevent down-time that can cost so much.

 

References:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2018/01/09/how-iot-will-impact-the-supply-chain/#7128f2f63e37

Questions:

  1. How can IOT increase operational efficiencies?
  2. How does IOT improve forecasting and inventory ?
  3. How can IOT used for asset tracking ?