Applying AI to traditional business to business (B2B) transaction flows can also help refine supply chain processes, but the real value of AI is the ability to ingest and draw insights from supply chain data lakes with a wealth of different structured and unstructured information from across the supply chain. AI platforms combine B2B transactions, logistics data, sensor information, and information from news and social media feeds, with data captured from point of sale systems, historical purchasing information, seasonal holidays, and even weather patterns. The result is the ability to predict sales patterns, identify potential issues in advance, and even make suggestions for dealing with interruptions like severe weather or disaster.
Hype around blockchain is well established, perhaps to an even greater degree than the previous two technologies. Examples, like Amazon, abound. The company recently announced its Amazon Web Services (AWS) partnership with Luxoft to help accelerate blockchain adoption. Gartner also highlighted ‘blockchain in the supply chain’ as part of their technology hype curve in July 2017. Over the past six months, there have been hundreds of different use cases identified for blockchain across the extended enterprise. The supply chain is no different.
Image courtesy: Gartner
Knowing the source of raw materials and having the ability to trace materials across the supply chain are critical requirements for today’s procurement teams. Blockchain solutions enable a macro level of traceability to help facilitate situations like a product recall, where businesses and/or government agencies need to quickly determine the original source of raw materials or products.
How close are we to autonomy?
Tomorrow’s procurement and supply chain operations will be completely transformed by the disruptive technology being introduced today. Together, they will enable an autonomous supply chain - a highly intelligent, connected and self-aware environment working from deeper insights into supply chain performance to refine business processes, improve traceability of goods, and record and secure an archive of all digital interactions between a company and its trading partner community.
In order to explore these new technologies as part of a next-generation supply chain platform, it is important for companies to have a digital foundation in place whereby all information being exchanged with the external eco-system is electronic in nature.A global business network, such as the one operated by OpenText, can provide such connectivity with a trading partner community and as a result, integrating IoT, blockchain and AI will fold real-time tracking, forecasting, problem solving, and record keeping into one unified system across the supply chain. Technology can bridge the communication gap between manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to bring benefits for all.