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21 December 2016

Is AI set to become a bigger part of supply chain management?

Content team

Forms of artificial intelligence (AI) - specifically concepts like cognitive computing and machine learning - could become an increasingly important part of supply chain management over the coming years.

There have been a number of indicators this year that AI is making a growing contribution to business practices in various industries.

In the pharmaceutical sector, for example, Merck has been working with FusionOps, a California-based firm that recently unveiled cognitive applications designed to help companies "utilise their supply chains for competitive advantage".

The company said its tools use embedded AI and machine learning to analyse complex sets of information such as manufacturing data, global inventory, orders and external inputs to offer a cognitive view of supply chain operations.

Shariq Mansoor, chief executive of FusionOps, said concepts like Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things and driverless vehicles are having a transformative effect on supply chains.

Alessandro de Luca, healthcare chief information officer at Merck, said: "Customer expectations today are putting more and more pressure on businesses to improve profitability, and any technologies that accelerate our ability to get visibility in the end-to-end supply chain - including our suppliers' supply chain and customer forecasts - can make a significant difference in our performance."

He added that the supply chain "must evolve in order for companies to innovate to best serve customers".

A recent Forbes article highlighted a number of ways in which businesses can be putting AI to use and realising the benefits for their organisations.

One example is the generation of data insights, which could prove extremely valuable for firms that have large amounts of information to handle but no efficient way of analysing and understanding it.

The automation of manual processes is another area where AI and machine learning are expected to make a big impact on business in the coming years.

Content team, Bureau van Dijk

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