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Why chatbots are the future of supply chains

Among the challenges that are presented to supply chains is constant communication with suppliers, efficient logistics, inventory management.

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Today's economy could not be understood without supply chains. These networks comprise the entire set of activities necessary for the end consumer to purchase a product or service.

Supply chains involve different economic actors and some are more complex than others; In other words, due to the nature of the products, they involve more companies. However, the challenges they face are similar and include constant communication with suppliers, efficient logistics, inventory management, to name a few.

“In supply chains, each company involved has an important role and the proper functioning of all the gears largely determines the availability, quantity and quality of the products and services that reach the consumer. For this reason, it is important to emphasize that the new tools driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI) have the potential to connect each member of the chain, which drives not only the development of each company as an isolated entity, but of the economy as a whole " says Gustavo Parés, director of the Mexican company specialized in Artificial Intelligence solutions, NDS Cognitive Labs.

New technologies, such as chatbots based on Artificial Intelligence, have allowed supply chains to be taken to new levels of efficiency, in which materials, products and even transport monitoring is carried out based on analytics, predictive models and weighting the 24/7 communication between companies.

Currently, the concept of Supply Chain 4.0 is used to refer to current challenges and the leading role that new technologies have in this process, since they have allowed the generation of great competitive advantages such as process automation or more assertive decisions that drive growth. of allied companies.

According to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), companies that have already implemented Artificial Intelligence tools to improve supply chains have obtained “benefits of up to 30% in inventory reduction, improvements in order fulfillment of up to a 7% and profit increase of up to 15% ”.

The agency has also projected that by 2025, thanks to greater adoption of these technologies in supply chain operations, profits of $ 7 billion are expected globally.

Technology, the key to the functioning of supply chains

The comprehensive management of supply chains could not be understood without advances in information technologies, particularly tools powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), since "they are the key to streamline complex processes, achieve the analysis of a large amount of data and maintain constant communication with all the companies involved, without schedule limitations and allowing a continuous flow of information, ”adds Gustavo Parés.

One of the most efficient AI tools for supply chains are chatbots, which thanks to their characteristics are able to orchestrate these processes and avoid failures and / or delays in any area.

How do they do that?

Interorganizational communication not only favors the exchange of information between companies, it also drives business processes around the supply chain and makes the organizations involved more competitive.

According to NDS Cognitive Labs , chatbots are the ideal tool to drive the development of the supply chains of the future, as they:

  • They help manage inventory. These tools can control the quantity of products, either in warehouses or in physical stores. In this way they guarantee that the final buyer can have access to the product they need at the time they request it. They do this thanks to the fact that they can manage large amounts of data and notify when a product is about to be finished, so the company has the necessary time to stock.
  • They help to have more efficient logistics and transportation. Logistics and transportation are vital in supply chains, since the time and circumstances to ship the products directly impact the service that the end consumer receives. In this sense, the chatbots linked to the satellite tracking system are able to monitor transfers in real time and notify customers of this, they can also identify the best travel route and make suggestions so that shipments are made as quickly as possible.
  • They improve decision making. Chatbots are more than a communication platform; They are also capable of analyzing large databases and, based on this, making predictive models that serve both for the development of new products and for improving customer service.
  • Attention at all times. Companies involved in supply chains often do business with other organizations that are in different time zones. A chatbot is available at all times to facilitate interactions and business flow between the two, without schedules that delay business processes.
  • They get better on their own . Technologies such as machine learning allow chatbots to be more efficient as they are used; In other words, the chatbot learns by itself with each interaction and its response level becomes more and more efficient.