Articial intelligence (AI). “Most companies have an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that directly interfaces with their supply chain,” says Alice Globus, chief nancial ofcer with Nanotronics, an advanced machines and intelligence company. While this provides some information, it typically offers “an island view,” she adds. In contrast, “AI can be holistically infused into demand prediction, inventory management, and supply
The company can then decide whether to shift to a different production operation until the shipment arrives. Articial intelligence can also help supply chain organizations automate operational processes, such as auditing the numerous logistics bills owing through their operations. One example is Alliance Rubber Company, which provides rubber products for multiple sectors, including the military and retail and pharmaceutical companies. As the company has grown, it has also been looking to improve its freight spending, says Jason Risner, vice president of sales and marketing with the Hot Springs, Arkansas-based rm. Many freight invoices contain errors, he notes, particularly in rates and accessorial charges. Challenging errors means taking time away from other valuable activities. “If you can eliminate friction and automate, you can get resolutions more easily,” Risner says. Alliance partnered with Loop, a logistics payments platform that extracts information from documents, electronic data interchange, and other formats using articial intelligence to automate downstream workows such as invoice validation, payment, and exception management. CONTEXTUAL AI This technology, called “contextual AI,” creates a uniform source of truth for all parties in the transaction, as well as enriched and unied data formatting. It then can determine, for example, that 123 Baker Street in Billings, Montana, is the same as 123 Baker Str., also in Billings. Absent this technology, trying to reconcile bills would be akin to placing a call from, say, the United States to France, where one person speaks English and the other speaks French. The two can connect, but neither will understand the other. To connect with Alliance’s internal billing and other systems, and obtain the information needed, Loop uses
chain optimization to better understand a full picture of the business,” says Twiningdavis. Articial intelligence can process multiple sources of data to determine, for instance, if a weather event will delay shipment of a needed component. “Companies can use AI to predict things that will impact their suppliers,” says Jim Fleming, supply chain manager-product development and innovation and faculty member with the Institute for Supply Management.
Canyon Bikes, which manufactures world-class road, mountain, and other bikes, has its headquarters and design, sales, operations and engineering teams located in Koblenz, Germany. As the company looked to become a global firm and scale rapidly across the United States, it partnered with third-party logistics provider SEKO Logistics. SEKO worked with Canyon to transform their warehouse into a facility that could support supply chain fulfillment, quality control, and team integration. Through the partnership, the companies integrated the SEKO 360 WMS platform with Canyon’s enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management solutions. Through its proprietary integration hub, the iHub, SEKO can quickly and easily integrate clients’ ecommerce marketplaces, like Shopify, and their final-mile carriers with SEKO’s internal systems. “Our standard integrations are easily configured and do not require IT resources,” says Jamie Andrade, vice president, product management with SEKO. SEKO 360 optimizes Canyon’s inventory management, warehouse pick flows, and final-mile shipping, capturing the product’s serial number on outbound shipment for warranty and tracking information. PEDALING FAST WITH WMS
50 Inbound Logistics • April 2023
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