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  • Maneek Mohan

A conversation with AI on its role in Supply Chain Management

We sat down for a conversation with ChatGPT to understand what the hype was about and test its knowledge on the all-important supply chain.


We wanted to understand its thoughts about AI's role in supply chain management and whether it's time for us humans to start developing new skills and looking for new job opportunities outside the supply chain.


Although it's not the exact AI that would replace your job, talking to it and knowing its potential is like talking to the guy trying to flirt with your girlfriend. I mean, I know she won't leave me, but I see why she might think about it.


Is AI going to replace human in supply chain industry?
Image credits: Dall-e (cousin algorithm to Chat GPT)

In its own words, ChatGPT is a natural language processing (NLP) model developed by OpenAI. The following is a “text-style” conversation with the AI chatbot with specific questions on the roles of AI in supply chain management.

Me: What do you know about supply chain management?

will robots replace human workforce in logistics and supply chain?

ChatGPT: Supply chain management is the process of coordinating and optimizing the movement of goods, services, and information from suppliers to customers. It involves the integration of all activities, people, and resources involved in the production, sourcing, and distribution of goods and services. This includes the management of suppliers, inventory, transportation, distribution, and customer service. Effective supply chain management can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction.



Me: What do you think AI's role will be in Supply Chain Management?


ChatGPT: AI has the potential to play a significant role in supply chain management by improving efficiency and decision-making. For example, AI algorithms can be used to analyze data and identify trends and patterns, which can help businesses make more informed decisions about their supply chain operations. Additionally, AI can be used to automate routine tasks, such as monitoring inventory levels and predicting demand, which can help businesses reduce costs and improve their overall supply chain performance. Overall, AI has the potential to revolutionize supply chain management by enabling businesses to make more accurate and timely decisions and respond more quickly to changing market conditions.


Me: What kinds of AI models would be best suited for such tasks?


ChatGPT: Some AI models that may be well-suited for supply chain management tasks include


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  • Machine learning algorithms ----- These algorithms can be trained to analyze data and make predictions or recommendations based on that data. For example, a machine learning algorithm could be used to predict demand for a product based on historical sales data or to identify patterns in transportation routes that could lead to cost savings.

  • Decision tree models ---- Decision trees are a type of AI model that uses a series of branching rules to make predictions or decisions. These models can be effective in supply chain management, as they can be used to make complex decisions based on multiple factors, such as inventory levels, transportation costs, and customer demand.

  • Natural language processing (NLP) models ---- NLP models are AI algorithms that are specifically designed to understand and process human language. These models can be useful in supply chain management for tasks such as automatically generating reports or analyzing customer feedback.

Overall, the best AI models for supply chain management will depend on the specific needs and goals of the business, as well as the type and amount of data available.


Me: Will adopting such models reduce the manpower required in supply chains?


ChatGPT: The adoption of AI models in supply chain management may reduce the need for certain types of manual labor, as many routine tasks can be automated using AI algorithms. However, it is unlikely that AI will completely eliminate the need for human workers in the supply chain. In fact, the adoption of AI may actually create new job opportunities, as businesses will need skilled workers to manage and maintain the AI systems, as well as to make strategic decisions based on the insights and predictions generated by the AI models. Overall, while AI may reduce the need for some types of manual labor, it is unlikely to eliminate the need for human workers in the supply chain.


Me: What happens to the human workers who lose their jobs?


ChatGPT: If human workers are displaced by the adoption of AI in supply chain management, they may need to seek new employment opportunities in other industries or fields. Depending on their skills and experience, they may be able to transition to similar roles in other businesses, or they may need to retrain or acquire new skills in order to compete in the job market. In some cases, workers who are displaced by AI may be eligible for government assistance or training programs that can help them find new employment opportunities. Additionally, some businesses may offer support and assistance to workers who are affected by the adoption of AI, such as providing training or helping them to find new job opportunities.


Me: What can humans do to pull themselves back up?

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ChatGPT: If human workers are displaced by AI in supply chain management, they can take a number of steps to pull themselves back up and find new employment opportunities. For example, they can:

  • Develop new skills and knowledge --- Human workers can invest in their own education and training in order to make themselves more competitive in the job market. This could involve taking classes, attending workshops, or pursuing further education in a related field.

  • Network and build connections --- Building connections and networking with other professionals in the industry can be a valuable way for human workers to find new job opportunities. This could involve attending industry events, joining professional organizations, or reaching out to contacts and connections for advice and support.

  • Seek support and assistance --- There are a number of organizations and resources available to help human workers who are displaced by AI find new employment opportunities. These may include government agencies, job training programs, and other organizations that provide support and assistance to workers who have lost their jobs.

Overall, human workers who are displaced by AI in supply chain management will need to be proactive and take steps to improve their skills and knowledge, build connections, and seek support and assistance in order to find new job opportunities.


Final Thoughts


This concept is not new. IBM Watson is an artificial intelligence (AI) platform developed by IBM. It is still in operation and continues to be developed and improved by IBM. Watson also uses natural language processing and machine learning to provide advanced AI capabilities, such as the ability to understand and interpret unstructured data, generate insights, and make predictions. IBM has used Watson in various applications, including healthcare, finance, and customer service, and has also made the technology available to other organizations through cloud-based services. IBM continues to invest in Watson and develop new applications and capabilities for the platform.


About half of all companies, including us, currently utilize AI in some fashion. While there’s no agreed-upon research methodology or expected economic impacts, AI could take the jobs of as many as one billion people globally and make 375 million jobs obsolete over the next decade.


Newer, better-paying jobs likely won’t replace those lost, so without widespread retraining and reskilling, ordinary people will have significant difficulty finding new work.


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