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Our previous discussion on augmented reality revealed a new trend in supply chain management, the use of computer-simulated imagery to enhance production and efficiency. However, the supply chain tends to forget how augmented reality will naturally transform the entire supply chain, and supply chain artificial intelligence is one of the key driving forces behind supply chain augmented reality. Artificial intelligence is everywhere. artificial intelligence is at work with every query into an online search bar, and artificial intelligence is rapidly making its mark on everyone’s lives from Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Echo. However, artificial intelligence is poised to radically change the supply chain in profound ways. Let’s take a closer look at what artificial intelligence is and what it can offer the exciting world of supply chain management.

artificial intelligence amazon echo
“Alexa….please tell Baxter the Robot to machine this part.” – This may be coming to a manufacturing floor or supply chain soon!

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence refers to the use of computer software to make decisions and interact with human capabilities. As explained by Craig and Karl of, Artificial intelligence has already made many breakthroughs possible. One of the most notable examples remains the creation of Watson, the supercomputer controlled artificial intelligence that defeated Jeopardy! in 2011. 

Yet, Watson’s abilities did not make much of an impact on supply chain. however, Watson’s abilities are a clear indication of how technology can be leveraged to benefit the futuristic supply chain.

What Are the Driving Forces Behind the Growth and Use of Artificial Intelligence?

Consumer demand and the need for increased speed will always be the two key driving forces behind artificial intelligence. However artificial intelligence is not something that has developed overnight. Artificial intelligence began more than 60 years ago when the earliest computer programmers begin to identify how computer systems could analyze information and make predictions about how similar patterns evolve. This is a combination of parallel computation, big data, and analysis of algorithms. In the modern world, these three technologies are being used to build facial recognition software, autonomous vehicles, and even Mark Zuckerberg’s planned personal assistant.


Every year, I take on a personal challenge to learn new things and grow outside my work at Facebook. My challenges in…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Sunday, January 3, 2016

How Will Artificial Intelligence Spending and Research Change in the Coming Years?

In an Accenture News Release, Accenture has dedicated itself to the development of better artificial intelligence capabilities for use in the supply chain. The company has established several inaugural grants to improve the current state of artificial intelligence at University College Dublin, and the company’s R&D departments are looking at artificial intelligence through new eyes.

Much of this trend goes back to how artificial intelligence will influence the overall economic state of the supply chain in the future. Preliminary estimates of the value and investment in artificial intelligence by 2025 range from $5 trillion to $7 trillion. However, the value of content analytics, discovery, and cognitive systems software is expected to grow $5 billion before 2019. If you compare these predictions, the estimated values indicate a sudden growth of 500 percent from 2019 to 2025 will probably occur. Lately, the demand for Big Data, faster speed, and better processes will lead to greater spending in artificial intelligence, which will further the goal of the technology as well.

How Will Supply Chain Artificial Intelligence Impact Designers and Manufacturers?

Think about the typical design and manufacturing process. The designer creates sketch on paper or the computer. The design has been made into an actual 3D model, and developers interact with the model to figure out if it will provide any real benefit to society. Afterward, the manufacturer takes the design and program machines and train staff on how to repeat its creation.

Now, consider this example is applied to platform-based and software-as-a-service products in manufacturing. designer unique products at a faster pace than ever before, asserts Procurement News. As a result, designers are using artificial intelligence to interact with a digital, not physical, 3D model. Essentially, this cuts research and development time requirements to a fraction of what they were previously. Designers can interact with the model through the use of artificial intelligence technologies, such as gesture recognition software, which eliminates the need for a computer mouse, keyboard, or other entry mechanism. Basically, the 3D model eliminates the time requirement of building the product for testing, and eliminating the tangible part of digital design testing allows designers to interact with a product more naturally.

For example, a designer would not type a command for a given product to turn on from a computer in real life. The designer would actually be able to use gestures and artificial intelligence will be able to recognize the position of his or her hands in a digital space and allow the designer to simulate the experience of pressing the on button on the product. Obviously, the applications of artificial intelligence could be expended to allow voice and facial recognition software to automatically turn on or change processes in response to a person’s normal activities, such as entering a home or workspace or when searching for an item or new information online.

What About Shipping and Artificial intelligence?

One of the most common topics in supply chain management focuses on how products are delivered from the manufacturer or distribution center to the end user (transportation management), and artificial intelligence is going to make a huge impact on how products are shipped. Major technology and innovation giants, such as Apple, Facebook, and Google, have already set out on the process of creating and developing autonomous vehicles. Additionally, the German automaker, Daimler, has already developed and tested a Mercedes-Benz Actros truck on the Autobahn, reports Thomas Barrabi of International Business times.

Critics of artificial intelligence might argue Daimler’s test put other drivers of danger. However, the use of artificial intelligence in this test was not without a human counterpart. A driver actually sat in the driver’s seat while the computer and navigation system controls the vehicle’s actions. This is an autonomous car, but the autonomous trucks and cars of the future may not even require the input of an occupant. According to John Greenough of Business Insider, self-driving cars are defined as any car that uses and employs computer technologies to accelerate, brake, or steer with limited or no driver interaction. Additionally, the use of self-driving cars and trucks is expected to grow to more than 10 million by 2020, which reflects a 134 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR). As the use of this technology grows, artificial intelligence in autonomous vehicles will translate in the technology’s use in supply chain modes of transportation.

Artificial intelligence is a paragon of modern civilization. Artificial intelligence is possible through the use of big data, better algorithms, and extensive parallel computation abilities. Every action contributes to the growing collective of knowledge in modern artificial intelligence, and this compendium is comparable to the greatest innovation in the history of civilization. Manufacturers must be willing to use and learn from what artificial intelligence has to offer, especially as artificial intelligence becomes a part of every home, workplace, traffic stop, lane of traffic, and product.