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How to Incorporate AI in Supply Chain to Drive Business Forward

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With margin-constrained organizations turning to maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) supply chains as sources of cost savings and competitive advantages, the intent to connect the supply network to all aspects of business has become increasingly significant. Creating value, productivity, and efficiency from MRO and FM parts requires robust analysis and integration that is difficult—if not impossible—to achieve manually. To visualize all the insights that can be uncovered through the vast amount of data generated by the industrial internet of things, predictive maintenance and smart workflows, businesses from manufacturing to retail are exploring ways to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) in supply chain functions.

As a component in digital transformation, AI-enabled forecasting for supply chain management can optimize processes for everything from an enterprise’s stockroom inventory system to its tool crib inventory software.

Benefits of AI in Supply Chain Management

Using AI to enable supply chain processes leverages accessible data science, robotic process automation, machine learning, and more to foster continuous improvement, identify trends, and maximize production and asset uptime by reducing parts stockouts and unscheduled repairs. AI helps ensure inventory accuracy and can trigger purchasing, transportation, and distribution decisions based on real-time circumstances and historical trends to make the most strategic and cost-efficient decisions:

  • Predictive Maintenance – Track usage, wear, and failure statistics for countless MRO SKUs. Combining in-house statistics with third-party data, supply chain-as-a-service providers can pinpoint critical parts that are nearing the end of their lifespan. Organizations then can replace the parts during line downtimes or periods of relaxed demand.
  • Demand Forecasting – Demand forecasting in supply chain management matches current MRO inventory with expected need based on production schedules and consumption data. Companies that include AI in their MRO supply chain can respond by increasing orders for inputs when cyclicality, seasonality, or market conditions point to increased external demand for their products.
  • Data Management – Stockroom inventory systems taking advantage of AI incorporate diverse data formats and sources, collate them, and compare the data to previous time periods to present accurate views of the organization’s circumstances. Formatting unstructured and structured data manually creates time lags, input mistakes, and mathematical errors that can lead to stockouts, excess inventory, and obsolescence.
  • Control and Compliance – Stockroom inventory systems and tool crib management software informed by AI help procurement teams enforce contract terms and crack down on rogue spending on MRO supplies. AI brings transparency into the true inventory and location of every machine part, consumable, cleaning supply, and piece of personal protective gear, as well as their distribution through vending machine and tool crib monitoring.
  • Inventory Control – Predictive storeroom, stockroom, and warehouse management using AI maintains the perfect balance between safety inventory levels, near-100-percent service levels, and the lowest possible carrying costs. Because AI maintains optimal inventory levels, organizations waste less money on freight and expedited shipping charges, carrying costs, and excess warehouse space.
  • Tool Tracking –Crib inefficiencies such as manual check-in/checkout, retrieval of delinquent tools, time-consuming replenishment, and replacement, often contribute mightily to the cost of maintaining site operations. Using AI to with automating much of the process and keeping track of where each tool is and when it is returned ensures nothing gets overlooked or counted as out of stock when it simply has been misplaced or restocked in the wrong location.

SDI’s use of AI in supply chain processes leverages advanced technologies to improve inventory management, supply distribution, and strategic decision-making through algorithmic analysis, identification of SKU use and movement, and scenario testing of ways to improve these activities. Our Supply chain management services employ AI to connect processes and make the available data actionable as part of an overall set of productivity and profitability enhancements. Cost savings from AI applications also ease cashflow concerns and allow companies to respond quickly to scale operations, take advantage of profit opportunities, and capture market share.

At the same time, right-sizing stockrooms and monitoring tool movement via AI software ensures flexibility, resource and space allocation, and ensures all management and supervisory responsibilities are covered.

See how AI from SDI can move your business forward. Schedule an evaluation of your MRO supply chain.

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