Future of AI in Supply Chain: What You Need to Know

April 17, 2024 · 12 minutes
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The use of artificial intelligence in supply chain management is only gaining more and more momentum with each passing year. AI with its predictive analytics is helping companies make more informed decisions, automate processes and optimize efficiency like never before.

At the same time, the global supply chain is also growing into a more complex ecosystem. There are enough and more challenges impacting supply chains worldwide today.

But AI and other advanced technologies are offering the requisite support to navigate these complexities. As technology develops further, the future of AI in supply chain is expected to make it more resilient and transparent. 

We all know how artificial intelligence-powered tools and platforms are already helping in reducing costs, optimizing inventories, streamlining operations and are continuing to contribute in multiple ways to make supply chains fail-safe and more accurate.

As 2024 rolls out, we decided to take you through a few trends, predictions, challenges and considerations to make supply chains future-ready with AI.

1. Supply Chain Tracking Has Evolved (Pretty) Fast!

Monitoring goods, production and managing logistics optimally to meet customer expectations remains a big challenge for supply chains.

With AI platforms, many of these concerns are being overhauled and it is predicted to improve further with time.

There are a few trends in the domain of supply chain tracking that may be of particular interest:

Increased visibility across the supply chain is no more a thing of the future. It is happening right now with cloud-based platforms that share tracking information seamlessly with suppliers, carriers and customers. Thus, an ecosystem of greater transparency, trust, responsiveness and collaboration is already being created in the industry. 

Of course, the next step is to proactively move towards actionability.

ThroughPut AI, for instance, has been combining visibility and actionability to drive improved efficiencies across the supply chain.

ThroughPut AI_Future of AI in supply chain

Advanced data analytics using AI and ML is being leveraged to predict delays and help optimize inventory, logistics and production. The more advanced tools analyze historical and real-time data to offer meaningful insights that help companies save costs.

Sustainability tracking is helping supply chains monitor their carbon footprints by ensuring optimized sustainable practices. With the advent of AI, a lot of important work has happened in this space. 

Take the case of a global cement manufacturer that used Throughput AI to optimize truck yards per hour utilization leading to minimizing carbon emissions and waste.

The future of AI in the supply chain will further help boost such sustainable and regulation-compliant practices.

Future of AI in supply chain_case study

The predictive capabilities of AI is bringing greater accuracy to demand forecasting. The trend will only catch up making supply chains more resilient as disruptions can be predicted much before they occur. 

2. The Role of Humans in an AI-Driven Supply Chain?

As AI gradually penetrates deeper into different aspects of commercial businesses, there have been a lot of doubts and questions about the role of humans in an AI-driven ecosystem in the future.

Well, in an AI-driven supply chain, artificial intelligence can automate almost all repetitive and routine tasks, minimizing the need for manual intervention phenomenally. As different stakeholders in the ecosystem progressively invest in helping their workforce adapt to the new environment, there’s going to be a new talent pool of developed and upgraded skills.

Such investments will help humans take up tasks that require more creativity, intuition, emotional intelligence and decision-making skills.

After all, even though AI can help with novel ideas and data analytics, it cannot fully replicate human capabilities in innovation or critical thinking.

With further evolution in the sector, it is predicted that the demand for humans skilled in AI technologies, data analysis and cyber security will experience a surge.

The human workforce is also expected to assume more supervisory roles to ensure accuracy, efficiency and ethical standards in operations.

Consequently, training and continuous learning will gradually become an integral part of organizational culture as the staff will be required to stay up-to-date with the latest technological advancements. 

What will work in this case? 

A collaborative approach where human workers and AI technologies join hands to improve operational efficiency, innovation and decision-making. 

3. Advanced Supply Chain Analytics Looks Promising.

The supply chain has innumerable challenges like natural calamities, port congestions, delays and disruptions, regulatory compliances, exchange rate volatility, lack of visibility and supply shortages. Many of these uncertainties will soon become less shocking and chaotic with advanced supply chain analytics. 

AI can work through huge, intricate and highly complex data to predict potential market trends and disruptions. It has been empowering supply chains to proactively plan the future rather than wait for things to happen and then react to it.

It is expected that advanced supply chain analytics will revolutionize the ecosystem by helping decision-makers make faster and more efficient strategies.

Deeper insights into demand forecasting, inventory management, and operational risks will create a more resilient global supply chain. 

4. Supply Chain Decision Intelligence is the Need of the Hour

Future of AI in supply chain_decision intelligence

Decision fatigue in the supply chain is real. There are just so many decisions to be made at a strategic, operational and tactical level that oversights, errors and misjudgment are becoming way more commonplace.

Supply chain decision intelligence is an emerging AI-powered solution that solves this problem.

A data-driven process that helps businesses make profitable decisions in real-time, and scale up efficiently, AI-backed supply chain decision intelligence (SCDI) uses diverse data to understand market preferences and trends quite accurately and fast and suggest the right decisions to be made in any given situation. 

SCDI integrates advanced analytics, ML and AI to speed up decision-making and make it more effective. The system analyzes gigantic amounts of data from varied sources providing actionable insights for risk management, operational improvements and strategic planning. 

ThroughPut AI has been named by Gartner as a representative vendor in this category.

ThroughPut, for instance, enables decision makers in supply chain to identify and act on the decisions with the most improvement potential in the shortest time.

5. The Future of AI in Logistics – Hopeful or…?

AI in logistics means transformative changes.

AI technologies can automate complex logistics operations like never before. From optimally managed last-mile delivery to predictive analytics, logistics companies can achieve optimized routes in real time, reduce costs and improve delivery times with dramatic results.

In the next few years, autonomous vehicles and drones, guided by AI, can revolutionize delivery processes. 

Besides, artificial intelligence in logistics will help deliver superior customer experiences with real-time tracking and personalized delivery options.

With further penetration of AI in logistics, the efficiency of the system will be further boosted and the environmental impact further reduced. 

Predictions for the Next Decade in AI-driven Supply Chain Innovations

AI-driven innovations in the supply chain are expected to literally ‘revolutionize’ the space in the coming decade. These innovations have the potential to redefine how we operate and make decisions in supply chain.

For instance:

  • As years go by, AI will further empower supply chains with accurate demand forecasting and disruptive risk assessments. 
  • AI will improve various aspects of the supply chain – from inventory optimization to supplier selection, compliance monitoring, ethical and sustainable sourcing, building trust and transparency across the chain, minimizing errors, and taking safety to another level. 
  • All of these, together, will create supply chains that are more adaptive and intelligent.

Future of Supply Chain Automation

Integrated with AI advancements, the future of supply chain automation is poised to grow as a space for precision and efficiency. 

  • The future of AI in supply chains will see automated decision-making emerge as a game-changer.
  • AI will facilitate adjustments in supply chain operations in real-time to maximize productivity and minimize costs, parts of which we are already witnessing right now.
  • Automated systems with real-time capabilities will lead to more accurate demand predictions. 
  • Not just that, artificial intelligence will help manage inventory levels dynamically and optimize logistics routes.
  • It is expected that with AI-powered technologies, human errors will be reduced and speed enhanced phenomenally. 
  • Operational delays will be reduced. Sustainability practices will be a part of optimizing resources.
  • Supply chain automation will become more and more complex and sophisticated, enabling holistic insights into operations and capabilities.

Scope of Supply Chain Management in the Future and How AI Will Influence It

Supply Chain Management is all set for significant transformations, all of which will be heavily influenced by AI offering greater visibility and actionability,  making supply chains more agile and resilient. 

Predictive and other advanced analytics will empower demand forecasting, automate inventory management and improve logistics routes, making the supply chain efficient on different levels. 

Facilitating decisions in real-time, AI will empower companies to become agile and respond swiftly to market disruptions and market changes. 

AI-recommended actions will support strategic sourcing, ensure sustainability and compliance, and optimize supplier management.

 Integrating AI into supply chain management will make your operations more streamlined. It will also drive innovation, giving your business a competitive advantage. 

Role of Information Technology in Future Supply Chain Management

Information Technology will be the backbone of supply chain management and the adoption of AI will drive operational efficiency, transparency and innovation. 

IT practices will need to be up-to-date to enable seamless integration of complex data streams from diversified sources. Things like cloud computing, the Internet of Things, blockchain technology and big data analytics that form the basis of predictive insights and real-time tracking will need to be a part of this ever-changing ecosystem. 

Without a doubt, your IT infrastructure will have to be robust and adaptive to ensure high-end security, helping reduce instances of counterfeiting and fraud. In fact, the strategic application of IT in supply chain management will help streamline operations while ensuring resilience even in the backdrop of rising global challenges.

Challenges and Considerations While Discussing the Future of AI in Supply Chain

  1. Data Privacy and Security Concerns

One of the most significant challenges of AI integration in supply chain is data privacy and security. This is primarily because AI requires vast amounts of data. The risk of sensitive information breaches can be considerably higher. 

Data protection and security is paramount. Adherence to regulatory standards, transparent data handling practices, and following robust security protocols and encryption methods, are some of the considerations that you need to focus upon.

Potential bias in AI algorithms needs to be addressed so that customer and partner trusts are never compromised.

Using credible AI platforms like Throughput can help resolve data security and breach issues with greater effectiveness. 

  1. Technical and Implementation Challenges

There are challenges associated with the technical aspects and implementation of AI and the future of AI in the supply chain. It requires significant investment both in hardware and software as well as technical skills and expertise to deploy and manage these systems. 

One of the most common challenges is the compatibility issue between legacy systems and AI solutions. Operations can be hindered and disrupted if there is a lack of seamless integration. The lack of skilled professionals who have the expertise to navigate the complexities of the AI landscape can also be a barrier for many supply chain companies. 

The other aspect of the challenge is that the AI system needs to adapt to the dynamic nature of supply chains. Two things that stakeholders need to ensure to face these challenges are – continuous learning and adaptation capabilities to address changing market demands and multiple supply chain variables.

  1. The Importance of Skilled Workforce and AI Literacy

The entire gamut of the future of AI in the supply chain emphasizes the critical need for a skilled workforce. One that is AI literate. 

With AI evolving further, the landscape is going to get even more complex. Basic know-how of AI platforms is not enough. You need a workforce that has a higher level of proficiency in artificial intelligence.

Having a skilled workforce is not the end of the story though. You need to continuously upskill your workers so that they can keep utilizing the full potential of AI tools. Getting such a highly skilled workforce is a big challenge and demands considerable investment for supply chain optimization.

Be ready to invest in education and continuous learning programs to let them thrive in an AI-enhanced supply chain environment.

  1. Balancing Human Oversight with AI Autonomy

This is one of the most nuanced challenges where the future of AI in the supply chain is concerned. The crucial context is that AI tools and platforms cannot help optimize operations, predict trends, and streamline decision-making without human intuition and ethical judgment. Without human intervention, there can be challenges in terms of oversights and unintended consequences. 

A symbiotic relationship must be established where AI handles data-driven jobs and humans are present to handle tasks involving emotional intelligence, complex problem-solving, and moral considerations. 

FAQs: Preparing for the AI-Driven Future in Supply Chain

  • Will supply chain in the future become automated?

Automation in the supply chain is inevitable if businesses want to leverage the full potential of AI and related technologies.

Since these new-age technical means can streamline operations optimally, supply chains have to embrace automation to create a win-win situation. 

  • What will be the strategies for businesses to adopt and integrate AI into their supply chains?

Businesses have to invest in the right AI technologies that are relevant to their operations and can be seamlessly integrated with their existing systems.

Investments need to be made to ensure a data-driven culture is established with the right monitoring systems to ensure that AI is impacting operations at the ground level.

  • What is the importance of collaboration between tech companies and supply chain operators?

Supply chain operators will depend heavily on tech companies to equip them with innovative AI-based platforms.

On the other hand, tech companies will rely completely on data and real-world insights of supply chain operators.

When both sides work hand-in-hand, powerful technologies like artificial intelligence can produce futuristic results for the industry.

  • What are the future skills and competencies needed in the AI-enhanced supply chain workforce?

Human resources have the most vital role to play in an AI-enhanced supply chain.

They need to have higher proficiencies in skills like data analysis, strategic decision-making, and AI system management.

Companies have to invest in continued learning, as well as equip the workforce with key skills so that navigating the AI landscape can be done effectively.


The future of AI in the supply chain is a rapidly evolving reality that promises to revolutionize the industry. Whether it is about making supply chain operations agile or automating decision making, every stakeholder in the chain can gain meaningfully by adopting this new-age technology. A big part of this exercise would require:

  1. Supply chains to overcome the common challenges while implementing AI
  2. Have access to a clearly defined way of implementing AI in supply chains

As the pace of technological evolution accelerates, it is time for policymakers, businesses and technology providers to embrace these advancements. Timely adaptations will ensure a competitive edge for businesses while fostering a culture of innovation and sustainability in the global supply chain.

This is the time to act and integrate the right AI-powered tool into your ecosystem.

Throughput’s cutting-edge AI solutions can help you optimize efficiency and stay ahead of your competition. 

Contact us today to explore how our platform can transform your supply chain operations to be future-ready.

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Anita Raj
Product Marketing Specialist