@ Supply Chain Management


Artificial Intelligence in Supply Chains

InformationWeek has a dated article about Artificial Intelligence making a foray into the Supply Chain Management space. The article by David M. Ewalt talks about how

Software makers such as IBM, i2 Technologies, Manugistics, and SAP are rushing to imbue supply-chain-management tools with artificial intelligence, allowing them to make better choices and even learn from mistakes.

Since the article is dated to April 2002, which is roughly 4.5 years ago, now would be an appropriate time to evaluate the progress made so far.
Have you heard anything remotely intelligent in Supply Chain Management from SCM software players? (Hah, haha!!)
On a more serious note,

Supply-chain-management programs are structured sort of like flow charts, following a make-and-sell model of supply and demand. Software that IBM Labs is building works more like bees in a hive, with lots of autonomous agents going out into the world collecting data. The result, says Grace Lin, a senior manager at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center, is a system that can more easily consider new sources of information. These “sense and respond” systems make their own decisions based upon the variables at hand and aren’t strictly confined to a set of rules.

Further as to what this AI would be doing,

IBM’s effort essentially gives the program artificial intelligence, so it compares current business conditions to historical ones and forecasts what’s likely to happen next. “It doesn’t just react, but anticipates,” Lin says. And based on what actually does occur, the program can compare its forecast against reality, learning if it made a mistake. Lin says she expects a finished prototype later this year and a commercial version within five years.

Its about 4.5 years since this article and so I went searching for an IBM AI based software that is either in its last developmental stages or commercially deployed for supply chain management.

The fact of the matter is that I didn’t come across anything remotely resembling that but it sent me in other (more fruitful?) directions. So here are some interesting links that I came across:
Managing the Supply Chain – An AI Perspective
In this presentation, researchers from the Enterprise Integration Laboratory at the University of Toronto, put together ideas that invoke forms of AI for the supply chain management. They also introduce the concepts of intelligent agents in the light of the internet and advances in supply chain management.

AI Meets Web 2.0: Building the Web of Tommorrow Today. This was a very interesting site that has a presentation given by Dr. Jay M. Tenenbaum, Chairman, CommerceNet presented at IAAI-05, Pittsburgh, PA.

Imagine an Internet-scale Knowledge System where people and intelligent agents can collaborate on solving complex problems in business, engineering, science, medicine, and other endeavors. Its resources include semantically tagged Web sites, wikis, and blogs, as well as social networks, vertical Search engines and a vast array of Web services from business processes to AI planners and domain models. Research prototypes of decentralized knowledge systems have been demonstrated for years, but now, thanks to the Web and Moore’s Law, they appear ready for prime time. Architectural concepts for incrementally growing an Internet-scale knowledge system are introduced, with descriptions of early commercial deployments in manufacturing and healthcare.

The presentations (Slides – low quality, Slides – high quality) are available at the Wiki site as well.

Evolution of a supply chain management game for the Trading Agent Competition. This article from a group of researchers from the Swedish Institute of Computer Science.

Write software to automatically control a manufacturing company and maximize profits while competing with adversarial manufacturers for limited and variable product demand and component supply. This is the challenge of TAC SCM, a supply chain management game for the Trading Agent Competition.

Building Agents for Internet-based Supply Chain Integration. This article by two researchers – Craig A. Knoblock and Steven Minton from USC, delves into how intelligent agents can make use of the internet to achieve integration and the implications for supply chain integration.

As supply chains become more and more dynamic, the problem of rapidly integrating the data sources of new suppliers is becoming increasingly important. This paper describes the Ariadne system, which can be used to quickly provide access to data sources of new supplier and requires only that the data of the suppliers is available on the Web. Our approach does not require reengineering the individual systems to work together, which is both costly and time consuming.

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Category: Supply Chain Management, Supply Chain Software


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