Why 82% of supply chain leaders are frustrated with AI

Over four fifths of supply chain professionals had problems with AI systems during Covid, according to a report.

The report, by consultancy Secondmind, said a survey found that 82% of supply chain leaders experienced frustrations with AI systems during the pandemic due to poor data quality and organisational barriers.

According to respondents, the biggest frustrations around AI-powered decision-making during to the outbreak were caused by a lack of reliable data (37%) and “rigid processes and internal structures” which prevented quick responses to changing market conditions (41%). 

Additionally, around one in five (19%) found that historical data was no longer useful due to the unprecedented changes. 

The survey was conducted between August and September involving 506 supply chain managers across UK, US, Italy, Spain, Germany and France.

Over a third (34%) said a lack of understanding of what was needed to make faster data-driven decisions also fuelled frustrations.  

The report said 96% felt this affected their ability to make effective decisions, with 50% saying they had to spend significant time manually analysing and interpreting the data to help inform decisions, and 31% highlighting expensive forecasting and planning mistakes.

“Data pain points” resulted in professionals having less time to work on initiatives to increase supply chain resilience, including preparing scenarios and plans for unexpected black swan events (30%), in-depth planning for major events such as Christmas and Black Friday (41%), and conducting analysis using their experience and expertise (51%).

The report highlighted that 2.83 hours were wasted daily from carrying out manual tasks that could be automated, such as moving or exporting data. 

It said: “These blockers clearly impacted upon the ability of planners and managers to be decisive. Expensive forecasting mistakes and reduced accuracy were cited as key concerns, and a significant number felt these challenges led them to have less credibility and support from the wider business as a result.”

Vishal Chatrath, CEO and co-founder of Secondmind, said: “Covid-19 has been a wake-up call for businesses operating in global supply chains as they prepare to rapidly accelerate the implementation and deployment of AI in the coming years.

“For AI to realise its potential, it will be critical for organisations to deploy systems that can cope with sparse or incomplete data environments and promote the effective collaboration between people and AI.”

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