Supply Chain Leaders Will Meet the AI Challenge, says EY

Supply Chains Embrace AI-driven Operations, says EY Manufacturing Leader

Supply chains have a long history of adapting to technological challenges, and according to Alison Clark, Advanced Manufacturing & Mobility Leader for EY in the UK, they are poised to rise to the challenge of AI-driven operations.

In an interview with Supply Chain Digital, Clark emphasizes that while digitalization presents a significant Business objective, supply chains have always leveraged new technologies to adapt and improve over the centuries. “The key for organizations on transformation journeys is to ensure that AI initiatives are strategically aligned, operationally purposeful, and commercially viable, while empowering IT to serve business needs,” she adds.

Clark also highlights the essential ingredients for successful AI initiatives in supply chain operations: data and channels for data to travel. However, many supply chains lack the digital infrastructure needed to capture data and face challenges in communication and incentives for data sharing.

To avoid “AI deployments pilot purgatory,” Clark suggests that companies focus on identifying real business problems to solve, leading to the deployment of point solutions that will drive data standardization and interoperability for the next stage of AI maturity.

One of the main challenges to AI deployment in supply chain, Clark notes, is the difficulty in mapping, monitoring, and managing these initiatives, leading to low coordination and data quality issues.

Clark also emphasizes the importance of actionable data for effective AI solutions, stating that leading companies understand the necessity of upgrading data architecture and skill sets. “Empowered IT teams enable faster experimentation and more successful AI deployments for everyone,” she adds.

In light of Gartner’s recent survey showing that half of supply chain leaders plan to embrace AI in the coming 12 months, Clark’s views on AI adoption in supply chain are validated. The survey also reveals that chief supply chain officers are dedicating a significant portion of their budget to AI initiatives, seeing it as supportive of their broader digital transformation objectives.

As supply chains continue to adapt and evolve, the integration of AI-driven operations promises to revolutionize the industry, empowering businesses to navigate the complexities of the modern digital landscape.

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