Author: John Blue Jan 19, 2024 3 Min READ

AI: An Inevitable Force in the Supply Chain | Extensiv Scholarship Runner-Up

3 Min READ
AI: An Inevitable Force in the Supply Chain | Extensiv Scholarship Runner-Up

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Launched in Fall 2020, the Extensiv Supply Chain Scholarship aims to foster the talent that will drive the future of our industry. Now in its fourth year, the Extensiv scholarship program hopes to inspire fresh ideas and voices in logistics and the supply chain.

Now, we present John Blue of the University of Cincinnati, the second Fall 2023 Extensiv Supply Chain Scholarship runner-up, and his essay describing how artificial intelligence (AI) has been singled out among business leaders as the key to revolutionizing the supply chain in innumerable ways.  


We live in a time where the world is more interconnected than ever, and nearly every aspect of our lives is influenced in some way by technology. This technology continues to become more advanced and complex with every passing day. Currently, we have access to technology that would've been incomprehensible only a couple decades ago. Ranging from supercomputers that can process and store a year’s worth of information in seconds (Akash), to medical technology that can allow a surgeon to operate on a patient from the other side of the world (Aliouche), it's hard to tell what the next great innovation is.

Yet in the field of supply chains, there’s one emerging form of technology that just might be it: artificial intelligence.

In a survey of 700 companies that had all reported significant financial gains in the past three years, 95% of them claimed they viewed artificial intelligence as very important to their success in innovation (IBM). This alone gives a great understanding of the way that many companies perceive the future of artificial intelligence. They view it as an instrumental tool in helping their companies develop and improve, and many have already taken great strides in implementing it within their supply chains. Among those same 700 companies that had been surveyed, 88% claimed they believe the rise of artificial intelligence within the field of supply chains is inevitable (IBM). According to these companies already prominent in the space who’ve achieved significant financial success and will likely drive innovation in the industry, they believe the use of artificial intelligence within supply chains will continue to grow dramatically.

So, what roles will artificial intelligence play within the supply chain specifically? There are many different ways it’ll likely be used. AI’s ability to quickly and effectively take in and analyze vast amounts of data gives it the ability to work in scenarios where measuring data is very important (HERE). Some of the largest roles that it can play includes forecasting demand for certain materials and products, predicting the best possible ways they can be used, and how to measure efficiency and better reduce waste. All of these will likely have very significant benefits to the companies that implement them and allow them to operate far more effectively.

Additionally, there’s a vast number of other roles that artificial intelligence can play within organizations that are too numerous to fully list. However, we can predict that with the ability of AI to measure vast amounts of data quickly, it is very well suited for working within the supply chain. Its ability to measure huge amounts of information and process it in a way that’s both efficient and effective will likely be instrumental in helping organizations reduce waste, increase efficiency, and better understand how to improve various business processes in a number of ways.

Overall, the potential effects of artificial intelligence on the future of the supply chain will likely be monumental. It has the potential to revolutionize the supply chain, increasing efficiency in a way that’s never been seen before. As a technology that’s relatively young, it seems that companies would be wise to invest heavily in artificial intelligence systems, understand how to implement them within their supply chains, and strategize how to act on the vast amounts of information they can provide.  

Supply chains are the very backbone of businesses themselves, and the ability to use artificial intelligence will give companies control over their future on a scale that's never been seen before.

References

Akash, S. “Top 10 Most Powerful Supercomputers in the World You Should Know.” Analytics Insight, 24 Mar. 2023, www.analyticsinsight.net/top-10-most-powerful-supercomputers-in-the-world-you-should-know/.

Aliouche, Hidaya. “What Is Remote Surgery/Telesurgery?” News, 11 Nov. 2021, www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Remote-SurgeryTelesurgery.aspx.

“Ai Is Reshaping the Supply Chain.” IBM, www.ibm.com/thought-leadership/institute-business-value/en-us/report/cognitivesupplychain. Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

“The Future of AI in Supply Chain Management.” HERE, www.here.com/learn/blog/AI-supply-chain-management. Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.  

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