IMPRESSIONS from a Cross-section


How do you see the landscape changing with AI / robotics coming up in a big way? What are the changes that we may expect to see?

AI / robotics may challenge existing long value chains

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics are transforming industries across sectors, and the textiles-apparel industry cannot remain untouched. Fibre2Fashion asks experts about what to expect from these technologies.

Companies that incorporate AI to quickly make decisions throughout the operations ecosystem will get the right products from concept to customer much faster. Unlike the analogue, linear supply chain, a cognitive supply chain continually analyses situational data, determines optimal outcomes, and automatically executes transactions. AI technologies have matured to the point where they can be incorporated into supply chain decision-making.

Many industry leaders are responding to market pressure by adopting new technologies brought on by the fourth industrial revolution-from AI, the Internet of Things (IoT) and 3D to digitally connected tools and applications. While these things certainly enhance business processes, the secret is in finding the right solution that will impact your entire end-to-end value chain, resulting in a faster time to market, reduced costs and increased product margins.

Robots are going to be pervasive in warehouses, working and supporting people in the warehouses. RPA (robotic process automation) allows companies to automate repetitive tasks, even in a legacy environment, and can be applied to take manual work out of the process. This is an area where we see the ability to shorten implementation time by using business-focused questionnaires to pre-define setup.

AI has seen many applications at the retail end, but very few AI applications have sought to change the operations side of the industry. Robotics definitely has been used to do some heavy lifting, repeated jobs in the manufacturing but hasn't made an impact on tasks that have variations and need continuous adjustments.

AI / robotics have the potential to enhance supply chain speed and consumer responsiveness, but may challenge existing long value chains. Knowing that there is an opportunity from AI will not result in being able to exploit that knowledge, if companies can't add agility into the mix.

AI is being adopted largely in the areas of forecasting to improve buying decisions and allocations, but this is also being adopted in CSR and sustainability, decision support in logistics and leveraging forecasts as part of the postponement strategies within sourcing and order management.

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Published on: 30/10/2019

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of