Joyce Boland, Oracle’s Vice President of Applications Global Marketing, wrote about Oracle CEO Mark Hurd’s thoughts on the new wave of supply chain automation that is coming in today’s workforce.
New Wave of Supply Chain Automation
Automation technologies are no longer a competitive advantage for many businesses. They are becoming a baseline necessity for companies that want to keep pace. According to Gartner, at least 50 percent of large global companies will be using AI, advanced analytics, and IoT in supply chain operations by 2023.
Automation is a growing trend in the supply chain market as businesses look for ways to gain efficiencies. AI allows supply chain leaders to use the immense amounts of data that is available to them to better orchestrate and optimize their processes, from sourcing to completed transactions.
“When you automate something, not only does it get done faster, the service level and the speed go up at the same time.”
-Mark Hurd, Oracle CEO
The most recent wave in supply chain automation came with the integration of Cloud-based technology. It’s predicted that 80 percent of supply chain interactions will take place in the Cloud by 2020. The use of Cloud-based, integrated applications streamlines supply chain operations in an intuitive way – a way “mix-and-match” software solutions weren’t capable of.
Instead of extracting data from an application and sending it to some other solution, Hurd believes that each of the components will be integrated into the Cloud applications themselves.
The net wave of supply chain automation will see businesses realizing that the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning into Cloud-based application suites. AI’s capabilities in the supply chain include robotic processes, such as automated inventory and virtual assistants, and assisting with daily administrative tasks. Hurd sees such integrations as a natural evolution of the technologies.
“These chatbots, digital assistants, and these AI/ML algorithms will be integrated directly into the applications themselves. Soon, 100 percent of Cloud applications will include AI.”
-Mark Hurd, Oracle CEO
Hurd is not the only business leader taking note of this trend. Forbes also reported that 66 percent of supply chain leaders say advanced supply chain analytics are critically important to their supply chain operations in the next two to three years.
Automation is a major catalyst for improved compliance, shortened transaction times, and lower overall supply chain costs. Supply chain managers can apply the capabilities of AI to analyze and track data, clean it, detect anomalies, and generate predictions to improve and connect the supply chain from start to finish.
Vendor management, recruitment and talent management, and invoicing can be processed more than 30 percent faster with the help of AI and automated processing. As businesses employ more Cloud technology in the processes, there will be improved communication among individuals in different sectors of the supply chain.
Although the integration of AI and machine learning into automation technologies has inherent benefits to business processes, it also has significant implications on supporting technologies, like the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT will play a significant role in future supply chain management operations. IoT, with the power of AI and machine learning behind it, can provide enormous benefits to the manufacturing industry.
Business leaders will have to prepare their organizations for the new wave of supply chain automation technology and the changes it will bring. Hurd stresses the challenges that CIOs will face when readying their businesses.
“The challenge all CIOs and their organizations face is to modernize and simplify their IT environments in order to launch new and expanded mobile, data analytics, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and other digital initiatives.”
-Mark Hurd, Oracle CEO
As a new wave of Cloud technology is being integrated, supply chain leaders need to prepare their organizations for the tremendous benefits AI and ML capabilities will bring.
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