Rich Nanda, principal for strategy and analytics with Deloitte Consulting, traces the pace of adoption of artificial intelligence in business and the supply chain, and predicts that the technology is on the verge of wide acceptance.
Statistics show that between 12% and 30% of supply-chain professionals are using artificial intelligence as an everyday management tool. Given all the hype surrounding A.I. today, why is that number so low? Nanda believes it’s a question of adjusting to innovative technology. Broad acceptance must await successful implementations undertaken by a handful of early adopters. Business benefits must be demonstrated before the majority of companies takes the plunge.
Two of the domains to have embraced A.I. in its early stages are customer-facing businesses and financial institutions. Examples of the first include the use of A.I. in call centers and home devices such as digital assistants. Finance moved early because of A.I.’s ability to handle high volumes of repeatable tasks, Nanda says.
Acceptance of A.I. by a given organization depends on executive mandate. “When top leadership understands the influence of advanced technology and A.I. on the organization’s ability to remain competitive, and creates a burning platform, then many things ensue,” Nanda says.
The cost of implementing new technology is always a concern, but leading companies are treating A.I. as a crucial aspect of research and development. They’re responding to a need for rapid processing of the huge volumes of data that reside in modern-day global supply chains. In the process, says Nanda, A.I. can help companies do a better job of responding to fluctuating demand, and shortening the time for responding to disruptions. “How many signals can you process without human intervention?” Nanda asks. “So that you can get to the last mile, where humans do the final interpretation.”
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