Executive Briefings

Schneider Electric: A Veteran Company at Technology's Cutting Edge

Artificial intelligence and machine learning: When it comes to supply chain processes, there's hype — and there's reality.

Some think of the technology as disruptive, but at its current level of maturity, AI is really more of a “foundational technology,” says Brian Tessier, vice president of global supply chain innovation at Schneider Electric. You could place it on the maturity curve near blockchain, he says.

Over the course of the next three to five years, however, Tessier says the ability to assimilate, assess and make informed decisions from data sources at the edges of customer experience — as well as the far ends of Schneider Electric’s supply chain — will allow the company to be much more agile, fluid and profitable. AI will be used in robotic process automation, and eventually, it will also start to change workforce management.

“Supply chain right now is very data-rich but insight-poor, and we stand on the precipice of having the capability to turn it into wisdom,” Tessier said in an interview at Kinexions, the annual event for Kinaxis customers and partners.

One of the biggest challenges around AI application for business, specifically, is the ability to suspend disbelief and make room for new ideas, he says, “and that's where I sit in the Schneider Electric universe — where we're a very big, very old industrial company.”

These technologies may still be in their infancy, but Tessier says Schneider will profit from a forward-listening post to be the vanguard of open innovation and to start considering applications — not only for supply chain, but for evolution of customer requirements, market expectations and more.

He asks: “How do these [technologies] help us to not only deliver on our basic promise — shipping things at the price, time and way that we told the customer we would — but also how do these things help us to deliver on our larger mission, which is sustainability, de-carbonization and digitization?”

“These are the things that really are going to differentiate the ones who are still relevant in our industry in the next five to 10 years.”

See video for full interview

Some think of the technology as disruptive, but at its current level of maturity, AI is really more of a “foundational technology,” says Brian Tessier, vice president of global supply chain innovation at Schneider Electric. You could place it on the maturity curve near blockchain, he says.

Over the course of the next three to five years, however, Tessier says the ability to assimilate, assess and make informed decisions from data sources at the edges of customer experience — as well as the far ends of Schneider Electric’s supply chain — will allow the company to be much more agile, fluid and profitable. AI will be used in robotic process automation, and eventually, it will also start to change workforce management.

“Supply chain right now is very data-rich but insight-poor, and we stand on the precipice of having the capability to turn it into wisdom,” Tessier said in an interview at Kinexions, the annual event for Kinaxis customers and partners.

One of the biggest challenges around AI application for business, specifically, is the ability to suspend disbelief and make room for new ideas, he says, “and that's where I sit in the Schneider Electric universe — where we're a very big, very old industrial company.”

These technologies may still be in their infancy, but Tessier says Schneider will profit from a forward-listening post to be the vanguard of open innovation and to start considering applications — not only for supply chain, but for evolution of customer requirements, market expectations and more.

He asks: “How do these [technologies] help us to not only deliver on our basic promise — shipping things at the price, time and way that we told the customer we would — but also how do these things help us to deliver on our larger mission, which is sustainability, de-carbonization and digitization?”

“These are the things that really are going to differentiate the ones who are still relevant in our industry in the next five to 10 years.”

See video for full interview