“A real-world example of this is the retail movement toward anticipatory shipping, where products can be proactively shipped to warehouses near customer locations in anticipation of their next order, creating a virtuous cycle of customer loyalty and consumer intelligence.
By combining the power of human expertise with advanced AI, successful firms are also developing highly personalized solutions around individual customer preferences and identifying trends to predict products that will be relevant to customers.”
“Every conceivable optimization opportunity has some form of machine learning applied to it,” said Srikanth Thirumalai, who leads search at Amazon. He’s worked at Amazon since 2005, and since day one has been centered on using artificial intelligence techniques to make products more discoverable, and shopping more pleasant. His very first project was identifying duplicate product pages.
“The challenge for retailers is that they lack connected systems. Thirty-six percent of survey respondents indicated that they have separate demand planning, replenishment, allocation and order management systems for store and ecommerce orders. Combined with the fact that 28 percent don’t manage each of their modules on the same platform, it becomes clear that disparate demand replenishment systems are a significant burden to efficiency.
AI and machine learning holds enormous potential to improve supply chain efficiency, and forward-looking retailers are already investing in these technologies. Retailers say AI’s greatest potential to improve supply chain management relates to quality and speed of planning insights, while nearly half of all respondents identified ‘demand management’ as one of the top three areas for AI in the next five years.”
“The introduction of AI is not just about automation or leveraging machine learning to squeeze a fraction more efficiency through the supply chain – although that is always welcome. It is about decision making: it is about automating the supply chain with a better decision. And as the pressure to create the perfect supply chain continues, human processing alone will not be good enough: those organisations that embrace AI and add intelligence to decision making will be best placed to both respond to the inevitable disasters and plan for a very different, very profitable, future.”