CIOs Prepare Their Supply Chains To Use AI

CIOs turn to predictive models to forecast the future
CIOs turn to predictive models to forecast the future Image Credit: Rab Lawrence

On top of all of the IT related tasks that a CIO is responsible for, we are also charged with making sure that the rest of the business is able to run smoothly. This means that finding ways to incorporate IT into the different parts of the business that need it is one of our responsibilities. The recent pandemic has caused many different parts of the business to come under a great deal of stress. This has revealed weaknesses that the company is now looking to the CIO to find a way to fix. One of the most important areas of the business that was stressed during the pandemic was the company’s supply chain. Now CIOs are going to have to fix this problem.

AI To The Rescue

CIOs understand that their supply chains have taken a battering from the coronavirus pandemic and other extreme events. The good news is that artificial intelligence has emerged as a critical tool for navigating everyday business in this environment. The use of AI and all of its various subsets, such as machine learning, is enabling CIOs to forecast demand with increasing accuracy and to optimize their supply chains.

Events such as the accidental blocking of the Suez Canal by a shipping vessel demonstrate how supply-chain optimization and diversification have become essential business tools. AI is emerging as a useful tool to quickly figure out how to reroute shipments and plan for extreme events by building redundancy into operations through multiple distribution facilities.

CIOs understand that AI can help optimize the placement facilities as well as the intake flow and the outbound flow at facilities as well. What businesses want to be able to do is to collect millions of data points from their operations and then 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.

The Future Belongs To AI

CIOs have found that investments in AI have been paying dividends during the pandemic. Many CIOs at health care companies have begun experimenting with AI around 18 to 24 months ago. As the pandemic hit, health care companies ramped up their production of ventilators and other medical equipment five or six-fold. But they also had to simultaneously scale down production in other areas as supply chains buckled under the strain of the pandemic. Operating in such a dynamic environment meant that forecasting models become increasingly important.

Although CIOs have always invested in planning tools, the use of AI is showing promise in improving forecasting models even if getting it right is still a work in progress. With the use of artificial intelligence, CIOs see that we get a different level of forecasting accuracy that has a true benefit throughout the supply chain.

What All Of This Means For You

The world of CIOs is being changed by the arrival of artificial intelligence (AI). One of a CIOs main jobs is to find ways to use information technology to help the business run more smoothly. This includes a company’s supply chain operations. It turns out that this is one part of the company that may be well suited to using AI technology.

The pandemic exposed the weaknesses that many companies had in their supply chains. AI is showing companies that when unplanned events occur, they can use the AI tools to quickly reroute shipments in order to make sure that they still arrive on time. AI can also be used to manage the inputs and outputs of a company’s facilities. Health care companies have been using AI to deal with changes in their manufacturing as they ramp up some products while slowing others. AI is proving to be a key way that CIOs can do forecasting.

What every CIO needs is more help. It is starting to look like AI technology might be just the thing to provide CIOs with the help that they have been looking for. Now the challenge for CIOs is going to be to find the right locations within the company to apply this new technology. If we can do this successfully, then our company’s supply chain should be able to deal with any unforeseen events that may occur.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that CIOs should allow their AI systems to automatically take supply chain actions?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As CIOs we tend to trust the programs that we put in place to run the companies that we work for. We have development teams that take requirements and convert them into working code that shows the importance of information technology. We also pay an army of testers to make sure that the software that we deploy does what it is supposed to do. However, what CIOs are starting to discover is that there is the very real possibility that bias may be finding its way into our software. The result of this is that our company may end up making poor decisions. CIOs need to understand what is going on and how it can be fixed.