The growth of artificial intelligence in the business world is nothing short of a meteoric rise. In fact, enterprise use of artificial intelligence, or AI, has grown 270% in just the last 4 years. Clearly, businesses have identified a need for artificial intelligence within their operations. But why are so many businesses choosing to make this change?


There are a number of uses for artificial intelligence in the business world but one of the most effective ways to employ AI is within supply chain management. Most supply chains are based on a number of interconnected processes that all rely on various factors. What results is a series of complex patterns that supply chain managers try to recognize and respond to.


Artificial intelligence is good at many things but perhaps the best use of AI is recognizing and analyzing complex patterns. Complex patterns like those found in supply chains. So, how are businesses using artificial intelligence to improve their supply chain?


1. Crunching Big Data


The growth of technology and connected devices has given businesses more data than ever on which they can base decisions. The only problem is that sorting and analyzing all of this data is nearly impossible for a single person, or even a team of people, to do in a reasonable amount of time. This is where artificial intelligence steps in.


AI can take in a large amount of data, find relevant patterns, do necessary analysis, and then help decision makers find the right path forward. Without artificial intelligence, the massive amounts of data that businesses collect on various areas of their supply chains are essentially useless as the data can’t be analyzed quickly enough to be of any value. To put things in perspective, some artificial intelligence platforms are estimated to be 100x faster than human counterparts.


2. Improved Planning and Scheduling


Once that massive amount of data has been analyzed, decisions can be made. Artificial intelligence finds patterns in historical supply chain data to allow businesses to make more efficient plans and schedules for their supply chains. For example, there may be a regular uptick in business that falls outside of the usual expected increases. Businesses can increase production and scheduling in anticipation of this increase rather than responding late to the need and falling short of client expectations.


The planning goes far beyond just production, however. Artificial intelligence can help improve a supply chain by finding more efficient routes for drivers, routing shipments in a different way to make shipping more efficient, and looking for other cost reduction initiatives.


3. Enhance Customer Experience


It should come as no surprise that customers appreciate it when they receive their orders on time. Of course, artificial intelligence can help with that. But it’s the process that ensures on-time delivery, among other aspects of the customer experience, that makes AI truly impressive.


Artificial intelligence can use historical customer data to predict future orders allowing sales staff to reach out and be proactive rather than reactive. Customers will appreciate this level of service. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. AI can also provide a more accurate delivery timelines and tracking through connected systems and better route planning. All of this can play a role in delivering a better customer experience.


4. Lowering Costs


Managing a supply chain can consume a lot of time and resources. This means that supply chains can cost a lot of money as well. Of course, most businesses can’t simply cut their supply chain if they hope to remain in business. The only alternative is to make supply chains more cost effective. The efficiencies offered by artificial intelligence can help to reduce supply chain costs and keep businesses competitive among their peers.


Everything from staffing levels, to raw material orders, to the amount of fuel used in delivery vehicles can be optimized with the help of AI. Not only does this make the overall supply chain more efficient and effective, it lowers the amount of money required to successfully operate the supply chain. This should make it clear by so many businesses have opted to use AI to improve their supply chain management.


5. Empower Human Employees


Many people incorrectly believe that artificial intelligence means the end of the human workforce as we know it. This is simply not true. Artificial intelligence aims to enhance the human workforce, not replace it. By taking on complex tasks like schedule planning or data analysis, artificial intelligence enables human employees to focus their time on tasks where they can make the most impact.


Imagine if businesses could get hours more productive work out of their staff? What would that look like? How would that help the business grow? This is where the true power of AI is realized.


Using AI to Improve Supply Chains


Many businesses around the world have already discovered the power of artificial intelligence when implemented into their supply chain. From reduced costs to improved customer satisfaction, AI is changing the way people think about supply chain management. To learn more about implementing AI into your supply chain, contact Clover AI Direct today.