Study: 43% say AI to Have Greatest Impact on Supply Chains | Trade and Industry Development

Study: 43% say AI to Have Greatest Impact on Supply Chains

Jul 13, 2020
The publication Material Handling & Logistics reports that according a study by technology solutions company Delaware, 43% of senior decision-makers at mid-market discrete manufacturers identified artificial intelligence (AI) among technologies likely to have the greatest impact on supply chains over the next three years. AI ranked ahead of other innovations like the Internet of Things (31%) and blockchain (24%).
When asked what they saw was the benefit of the technology, 47% of the research sample named ‘to reduce costs’ as a top reason for innovating or making changes to their organization, while 42% cited ‘to drive operational efficiencies and productivity," the publication reports.
But many manufacturers remain ‘behind the curve,' as 75% are not using AI in their supply chain currently, while 74% are not taking advantage of machine learning.
The technologies most widely used by manufacturers were Internet of Things (35%) and robotics-based automation (29%) but levels of usage of innovative technologies overall were low across the board, reports MH&L. More than half (55%) of the research sample still manage their assets in a primarily or fully manual way, with only 9% operating with a fully automated approach.
“Given the impact of COVID-19 on their operations and their supply chains, in particular, it is key that manufacturers use new technologies proactively to fuel their fightback from the pandemic, and enable them to move positively into the future,” said Richard Seel, Managing Director at Delaware. “As the recovery gathers pace, manufacturers will urgently need to look at how they can best make use of AI and machine learning to deliver operational efficiencies, optimize processes and achieve a competitive edge.”
The study found, over a quarter (27%) of discrete manufacturers still use ‘old school’ methods like ‘conducting surveys into consumer buying behavior’ or ‘collecting patterns on buying patterns by analysts or industry experts’ to forecast demand when sourcing raw materials at the beginning of their supply chain, reports the publication.
“It is also concerning that 77% of manufacturers we surveyed revealed that the data they derived from across their supply chain was not ‘completely accurate,’” added Seel. “Data accuracy will be key in delivering supply chain efficiency through the recovery. Also, given the disruption caused by the pandemic, supply chain visibility will be increasingly key to manufacturers to understand the risks they face to the continuity of supply and how best to alleviate them through improved forecasting.”
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