With the future of work predicted to be significantly assisted by AI and RPA automation technologies, similar trends will emerge throughout the supply chain process. These trends will challenge how supply chains are currently operated, and lead to new and innovative processes. The adoption of automation technologies will create platforms for more agile environments to better cope with the significant uncertainty and increasing customer demands.
The COVID-19 pandemic tested supply chains globally and highlighted significant weaknesses across the board. Weaknesses born out of vulnerabilities that left consumers without critical goods and services. This generated an automation-based response from manufacturers, to increase the resiliency of their supply chains and prevent future scenarios where consumers go without critical goods and services. How was this achieved? It was achieved with the use of automated artificially intelligent technologies, particularly around future planning. With high degrees of uncertainty originating from the pandemic, manufacturers turned to data and AI technologies to enable them to better interpret and predict future outcomes. Henkel are a prime example of this. When they compared the demand forecasting between AI and their human planners, they found AI enabled them to do it better. Thus, they made the switch to smart software. But that’s not all they did. Automation technologies further enabled them to revolutionize and rebuild their supply chain. A process that optimized daily transport logistics, increased supply chain visibility, and improved the customer experience by analysing faster and more accurate data.