The rise of the supply chain machines

Supply chain machines

Depending on who you ask, self-aware robots are either a grave threat to mankind or the solution to a myriad of mundane or dangerous tasks. Our fascination with all things A.I. or robotic runs deep, from the Terminator films to the novels of William Gibson, humans have long been captivated by the evolution of machine learning.

While experts have prognosticated and looked ahead, savvy manufacturers have been steadily employing more robots to handle ever more complex global supply chains. In the fifth installment of our series of reports on supply chain agility in the age of disruption, Tradeshift delves into this trend and its profound implications on global business.

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Phenomena like the Internet of Things, A.I. and robotics are transforming supply chains. These technologies and many others fall under the umbrella of The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Working with the World Economic Foundation, CNBC, and TechCrunch over the past year, Tradeshift has sought to bring an understanding of how these changes will affect business to leaders in procurement, supply chain, and finance.

The first question when it comes to this particular subject is, “Are robots taking over?” The answer is mixed. Robots won’t displace humans as decision makers in the near future, but they are assuming roles in society than were unimaginable even five or ten years ago. In the report, we cover the ways companies are driving transparency, cost reduction, and efficiency in ingenious ways.

The implications for supply chain and procurement leaders boil down to, “Innovate or be disrupted.” Those who embrace agility have the chance to solidify the strategic status of their role and help their companies gain market share. Those who cling to antiquated tools and processes will continue to fall further behind.

The Rise of the Supply Chain Machines quotes the WEF as saying the full implication of these hardware and physical technologies could be felt by 2018. If procurement and supply chain leaders and practitioners want to be beneficiaries and not casualties of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the time to start preparing is now.


About the Author

Tradeshift connects buyers, suppliers, and all their processes in one global network. We help you transform the way you work with suppliers today – and adapt to whatever the future brings.

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