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Supply chain managers ‘frustrated’ with AI systems

(Image credit: Image Credit: Geralt / Pixabay)

During the Covid-19 crisis, most supply chain decision makers were constantly frustrated by artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, a new report from Secondmind claims.

The report, based on a survey of 500 supply chain planners and managers, states there are two major problems causing most frustrations: data issues and organizational problems.

Respondents complained they were lacking reliable data to feed into AI systems, using meaningless historical data instead.

They were also forced to spend huge portions of their time manually analyzing and interpreting data, at a time when speed and efficiency were of paramount importance. A third of their time was spent on tasks that could have easily been automated, respondents said.

Also, a third of those surveyed said their leadership teams did not understand what “boots on the ground” actually needed to get the work done. Further, rigid processes and internal structures prevented some planners from responding quickly to the current situation.

All of these pain points prevented them from working on initiatives of higher value, such as proactively preparing for future scenarios similar to Covid-19, spending more time planning for events such as Christmas and Black Friday, or conducting more in-depth analysis.

But despite all of the negatives, the respondents still overwhelmingly believe in AI’s potential. Almost all (90 percent) agree that AI tools will help them make better decisions by 2025 and more than half agree AI will transform supply chains within five years.

“Covid-19 has been a wake-up call for businesses operating in global supply chains as they prepare to rapidly accelerate the implementation and deployment of AI in the coming years," said Vishal Chatrath, co-founder and CEO of Secondmind.

"For AI to realize its potential, it will be critical for organizations to deploy systems that can cope with sparse or incomplete data environments and promote the effective collaboration between people and AI."