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Artificial intelligence to boost supply chain accountability

artificial intelligence

Supply chains have become increasingly complex, creating increased demand for digital technologies such as artificial intelligence to improve their accountability.

The Digital Supply Chain Hub (DSCH) is helping to make supply chains more accountable and resilient by demonstrating the benefits of technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain which include increasing security, real-time tracking and predictive analytics.

“At Digital Catapult we recognise the importance of reducing CO2 emissions in supply chains, ensuring supply provenance, and increasing resilience,” said Tim Lawrence, director of the digital supply chain hub at Digital Catapult.

“Suppliers may however hesitate to share critical information about their supply sources, fearing a competitive disadvantage and intellectual property exposure. To address this challenge, we are using blockchain and distributed ledger technologies to support data sharing across supply chains, enabling downstream access to vital information without revealing the source data.”

Blockchain and AI technologies are also increasingly being integrated into supply chain operations due to their effectiveness in real-time tracking of goods and improving end-to-end supply chain planning. This enables stakeholders to track the location of goods from origin to destination, making it easier to identify and resolve issues such as delays or discrepancies, and to better account for fluctuations in demand.

To demonstrate the value of this type of technology on traceability and improved end-to-end supply chain planning, Digital Catapult recently worked with technology start-up Singular Intelligence, Sainsbury’s, and Cranswick on a recent project called Intelligent Supply and Demand Sensing. This project leveraged artificial intelligence to facilitate smart demand and forecasting, resulting in a significant reduction in food waste.

The technology could determine whether environmental events such as a heatwave would drive demand for barbeque food in the UK. By facilitating real-time tracking and transparency and offering support to better plan the supply chain, problems can be resolved quickly, preventing delays and making the supply chain more efficient and consistent.

“When overcoming a delay or disruption in the supply chain, it is important that stakeholders have access to up-to-date insight, to allow for informed decisions to be made,” Lawrence continues. “AI provides up-to-date information on risk factors and potential obstacles such as weather patterns and supplier performance, enabling businesses and procurement professionals to decide the best course of action to mitigate further disruption.”

VersedAI is a company that Digital Catapult is working with, which uses ML and AI to offer insight into supply chain risks. The technology not only allows stakeholders to assess the impact of a disruptive event but also identifies strategic actions to de-risk using emerging technologies. As this technology continues to develop, predictive analytics will advance, ensuring that more businesses are prepared for disruption and that they have the necessary tools to decide the best course of action.

“At Digital Catapult, I consult with procurement professionals on a daily basis, and I expect to see the adoption and integration of AI and blockchain technologies becoming an industry norm. If you’re interested in learning more about how you might integrate emerging technologies into your supply chain, I encourage you to find out how the Digital Supply Chain Hub might benefit you.

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