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Supply Chain Strains Sharpen Focus on AI


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A tugboat helps dislodge the shipping vessel Evergreen from the Suez Canal..

Supply chains have taken a battering this year from the coronavirus pandemic and other extreme events, and artificial intelligence has emerged as a critical tool for navigating business in this environment.

Credit: Suez Canal Authority/Associated Press

Artificial intelligence (AI) increasingly is being used to forecast demand more accurately and optimize supply chains.

XPO Logistics Inc.'s Mario Harik said the recent Suez Canal blockage underscores the benefits of AI in quickly rerouting shipments and building redundancy into operations through multiple distribution facilities in preparation for extreme events.

Harik said, "We collect millions of data points from our operation and then we use our machine learning algorithms to be able to help forecast either where demand is going to come from, or how to best optimize a certain part of the supply chain to be as effective as possible."

Forecasting models have gained in importance as companies ramp up production due to the pandemic.

Koninklijke Philips NV's Ivanka Janssen said that with AI, "We see that we get a different level of forecasting accuracy that has a true benefit throughout the supply chain."

From The Wall Street Journal
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