Blog

Democratizing Artificial Intelligence for Supply Chain

By David Lengacher
Head of Data Science, MonarchFx

AI

With all the hype around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science these days, it’s easy for sellers to feel lost in the mix. Some of the most common questions about AI include:

  • How much AI do we need?
  • Should we build it or buy it?
  • If we build it, what is the hiring strategy?

Clearly all these questions are related, creating a potential minefield that organizations must navigate. Fortunately, the Harvard Business Review recently published an article, Why AI Will Shift Decision Making from the C-Suite to the Front Line, that may aid this navigation. This article highlights a critical mistake many organizations make which can be summarized with a simple statement, companies need chefs with the right tools, not engineers who design ovens.  

In other words, building large data science teams will likely be less impactful than equipping existing teams with AI tools. Or as the article states more articulately, “To extract real value from AI, employees at all levels of the organization need to be empowered to make final decisions aided by AI, and act on them. In short, there needs to be a democratization of judgment-based decision-making power.”

This is relevant advice to sellers because complex tasks like building omnichannel fulfillment operations, designing networks, and creating inventory allocation strategies are often completed by different teams with visibility to different data and insights. This is why MonarchFx views AI as a continuum, where each level represents the breadth and depth with which AI is used within your organization.

Democratization of AI

When more teams are equipped with AI tools and insights, value can manifest in a variety of ways:

  1. A single ecosystem of insights grows over time and starts to represent a single source of truth for the organization.
  2. Increased transparency reduces timelines because competing hypotheses are more quickly exposed and can be resolved by supporting evidence flowing into teams.
  3. Cause and effect relationships can be more accurately measured.
  4. A reinforcement loop for innovation is created. AI helps teams, which in turn identify new questions for AI to explore.

MonarchFx knows that complex decisions require a team to generate a holistic understanding of both the competitive and customer landscape. That is why MonarchFx developed the Distributed Inventory Flow & Forecasting (DIFF) model, which leverages AI and makes it available to collaborative teams. When teams are equipped with DIFF, they can evaluate both quantitative performance measures and qualitative events occurring in the market place in real time. DIFF’s AI is flexible and can operate in full autopilot mode or act as only steering assist, providing suggestions to human decision makers.

MonarchFx, with its unique AI solution and innovative alliance model, brings together world class technology and providers to offer a comprehensive solution from demand generation to distributed fulfillment. At the core of this offering is a nationwide network of AI-connected and highly automated fulfillment centers designed to optimize the unit order requirement that is so critical in today’s eCommerce, direct to consumer market.

The result is the profitable expansion of your business by exceeding your customer expectations.

More Resources

Article: Is Artificial Intelligence A Radical Change?
Blog: Augment Your Current Fulfillment Network
Blog: Why Accurate Prediction isn’t Always Enough