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Will the Power of AI Transform Supply Chain Planning?

by | Jul 19, 2023

Are you struggling to improve visibility, synchronize supply and demand, and optimize your planning processes with limited resources? If so, you are not alone. Many supply chain planners face these challenges daily, searching for new insights, automation, and ways to leverage their teams more effectively. In this blog post, we explore how Firstshift, a pioneering startup in AI-driven supply chain planning, can help you overcome these obstacles and achieve success.

Before we dive in, I invite you to read an enlightening article by Lora Cecere, who is known as The Supply Chain Shaman. In the article, “The Dance with AI,” Lora delves into the transformative power of AI in supply chain planning. You can find it here.

After reading the article myself, I wanted to share how we are tackling these challenges and driving innovation for large and midsize businesses. Let’s look at four key areas.

New Startups Driving Innovation

The challenges faced by supply chain planners require innovative solutions, and Firstshift is at the forefront of this innovation. As a startup dedicated to AI-driven supply chain planning, we are reimagining the entire “planning experience “and addressing the needs of capacity-constrained planning teams with insights and automation to drive faster decision-making. Our focus is on empowering your team, streamlining planning processes, transforming data into actionable insights, and leveraging the latest AI technology for planning recommendations and automation. Our goal is to deliver innovations that enable you to make faster, smarter decisions and stay ahead of your competition.

Harnessing data in all forms with AI

Leveraging data efficiently and reliably is crucial for success in AI-driven planning solutions. Afterall, AI is known to be “data hungry.” As such, we recognize the significance of data and have developed robust mechanisms to handle both internal (within the enterprise) and external (partner provided, third party sourced, etc.) data. By tapping into a wealth of both internal and external information, including historical sales data, customer behavior patterns, market trends, and social media insights, our AI algorithms can quickly uncover patterns and correlations that lead to more accurate forecasts and informed decision-making. We empower you to sense and respond to market changes faster, gain greater visibility, streamline operations, and improve overall supply chain performance.

To apply this to your specific use cases, consider scenarios like demand forecasting where you can let the AI pick the “best fit” algorithm instead of manually testing out different statistical techniques or let AI prioritize planning alerts that are time critical for your planners.

Semantic Layer is the Catalyst for Leveraging AI

Whether it be AI-driven supply chain diagnostics or AI-driven planning recommendations, an extensive “supply chain domain model” is needed to leverage the most powerful AI models (including foundation models in Generative AI) in supply chain use cases. That’s why we’ve brought together some of the brightest minds in supply chain planning and artificial intelligence to build the Firstshift supply chain semantic model. This sophisticated framework captures the nuances of supply chain planning and the relationships between various supply chain and broader business elements including financial metrics.

The semantic model acts as the translation layer between natural language, other easy to use interfaces, and powerful AI and optimization algorithms to provide insights and recommendations for supply chain decision-making.

Planning Democratization will Level the Field

With many supply chain planning teams still bogged down with spreadsheet-driven planning and analysis or rigid monthly processes, it’s time to rethink how planning is done. Whether your team has hundreds of planners, or you run lean with fewer than 20 planners, Firstshift can help you redefine your planning process and elevate your team from spreadsheet-jockeys to business analysts with fresh insights to drive faster decision-making. By streamlining the planning process and embracing AI-driven solutions, you can accelerate your ability to sense and respond faster, gaining tangible outcomes for your business.

Are You Ready for Transformation?

Supply chain planning transformation can be a complex puzzle. As Lora Cecere said, “Stop the stupid RFPs that are circulating in the industry. Instead, partner with a few technologists to test and learn.” You need a partner to move your business forward faster. With Firstshift as your partner, success is within reach. By harnessing the power of cloud computing and AI, you can transform your planning processes and overcome the supply chain planning challenges you face.

Ready to make the smart shift? Schedule a demo to get started.