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AI in global supply chain: An intelligent way to transform how businesses predict future demand

June 2, 2022 - TradeEdge Team

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Even though humans might have to wait for another decade before AI technology reaches full maturity, it couldn’t have emerged at a more crucial time when the global supply chain was trying to cope with the aftermath of the pandemic. Following the introduction of AI to the worldwide supply chain network, nearly 61% of businesses reportedly witnessed a massive decline in costs connected to the supply-demand chain, wherein 53% of others saw a spike in revenue, as per reports.

Leveraging AI technologies in the global supply chain enables end-to-end visibility and transparency, which is imperative when game-changing decisions are needed to impact the supplier-distributor-retailer relationships with the business and its end-users.

What is a global supply chain, and how does it benefit from AI?

The global supply chain is an intricate web of different players, each enacting a significant role. Existing silos in the network can deter the smooth flow of information from one player to another, thereby hindering adequate decision-making pertaining to improved customer services. This results in the loss of customers, loss of business, and poor profit for all. AI in the global supply chain breaks those silos and improves visibility, enabling better decision-making and building resilience in the face of global crises.

Global supply chain issues and challenges

According to experts, global supply chains confront three critical challenges: labor shortages, equipment unavailability, and global bottlenecks causing a rippling effect. Some of the challenges are:

Black swan events: These events are unpredictable, and hence, any preparations for them aforehand are nearly impossible. The pandemic, for instance, is a black swan event. Such occurrences in the global supply chain are a constant reminder of why companies need smarter technology to help them solidify their immunity in the face of precedented and unprecedented challenges.

Material scarcity: The pandemic of 2020 was an eye-opening event, exposing the shortcomings of existing forecasting and demand planning methods. With the international borders shut down indefinitely, companies grappled to source essential raw materials and other parts from the global supplier network.

Port congestion: Even though the demand for goods remains high, port capacity remains fixed. Freight ships have to wait in the queue to unload their cargo once they reach their destination. But safety protocols of the pandemic increased the waiting time indefinitely, resulting in item shortages at the retail outlets.

Traditional demand planning techniques: Existing demand planning techniques proved inadequate in the face of the global pandemic. Hence, most companies couldn’t predict how much to stock or manufacture to meet the demand at any given time. The result: empty shelves in the supermarkets and essential items going out of stock following mass panic buying.

Such bottlenecks can be overcome with the help of intelligent technological solutions. Hence, AI in the global supply chain is gradually becoming the need of the hour.

How does AI in the global supply chain work?

AI supply chain solutions optimize the pool of data existing within operations and beyond in the global supply chain, including broader economic indicators, to foster autonomous planning and make predictive analysis based on historical data as well. A smart combination of predictive AI and human oversight can transform the supply chain and daily distribution operations.

AI in the global supply chain helps with:

AI is currently the best bet for businesses working with an extensive network of suppliers and distributors spread across the world. And AI supply chain solutions are the only antidote to successfully overriding global supply chain disruptions.

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