AI-Based Approach To Make the Supply Chain More Sustainable It has become imperative to leverage the wonders of AI to make the supply-chains immersive, improved and hassle-free

By Thirukumaran Nagarajan

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Modern times brought with it a plethora of technological disruptions. Each of these advancements leads to results so bewildering that once integrated with the daily processes of business operations, individuals are bound to experience incredulous outcomes. Out of these new developments the concept of artificial intelligence (AI), which upholds the progression of computer systems to an extent where it efficiently performs those jobs which require human intelligence, has left mankind in a state of sheer appreciation.

It is a well-established fact that for any production cycle to be rendered successful, a robust supply chain is a primary prerequisite. However, in today's world, the complexities entailed by these systems have been on a significant rise, making it imperative to leverage the wonders of AI to make the supply-chains immersive, improved and hassle-free. A recent study by McKinsey reports an increase of 53 per cent in revenues and a decrease of 61 per cent in costs; with the application of AI in supply-chain systems.

Even with a worldwide pandemic into play which brought all the activities to a stand-still, the agriculture industry continued to thrive. The contribution of this sector to the Indian economy is so prized that it can be best understood with the help of a report published by IBEF, that suggests over 58 per cent of rural households depend on agriculture as their cardinal means of livelihood and the exports generating from this segment constitutes 10 per cent of the nation's total.

Bearing these details in mind, it can be inferred that the presence of a technologically empowered supply-chain system, which is not only glitch-free but also sustainable, is a necessity for the growth of agricultural India. Here are some ways through which AI boosts these channels of distribution, processing, farming and retail, among others.

Supplier Management

Quality is of paramount importance in the offerings hailing from this particular industry. As an endeavour to supply top-notch products to consumers, it is essential to manage one's suppliers with efficacy. AI-backed applications provide individuals with enablers that digitalize all supplier information, such as registration, evaluation, supplier approval, supplier rating, risk and compliance as well as data analytics, on an integrated platform.

SMART Farming

The involvement of machine learning in this arena led to the development of IoT chips and sensors which hold the capacity to provide real-time data input for agricultural operators allowing them to emerge triumphant in managing, controlling and monitoring production. Water management, soil management, and plant management are some of the functions carried out under the SMART farming medium. During these processes, battery-operated sensors are installed to capture various digital measurements, drones are used to monitor the health of plants, and other steps are adopted to ensure proper management.

Autonomous Transportation

It is a widely accepted fact that agricultural products are not only durable but they have a very short life cycle, making it indispensable to ensure transportation channels that are associated with characteristics like minimum risk and accurate delivery time. The integration of AI-based software has made transportation of these fragile products stress-free and even promises enhanced consumer satisfaction. This is achieved by installing advanced sensor technology and GPS devices that offer information about the travel time and help in consignment tracing.

SMART Retail

The infusion of AI with the retail segment has worked wondrously towards elevating the entire grocery shopping experience. Under the concept of SMART retail, customers can seamlessly shop with the help of an AI application installed on their mobiles, which allows them to make payments effortlessly via cloud systems, subsequently avoiding the conventional modes of scanning and cashier payments. In light of the COVID-19 menace, this technology is a great boon as it facilitates the idea of social distancing. Finally, it even assists suppliers and farms to further, understand consumer buying patterns and plan their activities accordingly.

Food Traceability

Food traceability and safety have become important more than ever. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 600 million people fall sick each year after consuming contaminated food, resulting in roughly 420,000 deaths. Globalization has increased incidents of contamination and led to more foodborne illnesses and health panics among consumers. Automatic farm equipment incorporated with AI systems and sensor technologies are being used to understand needs which are necessary to fulfil agricultural targets. Additionally, AI enables remote monitoring of conditions to ensure the safety and improved quality of the final product. Furthermore, at the consumer level, one can trace the fresh produce by getting an insight into the journey of the food from farm to home.

To conclude, many start-ups in agriculture are adopting AI-enabled methods to surge the efficacy of agricultural production. Applying AI-empowered tactics could identify diseases or climate changes faster and respond promptly. To minimize the unfavourable results the businesses in agriculture with the help of AI are processing the agricultural data. It will be interesting to see how AI further redefines this space by offering a fundamental revolution with progressive methods.

Thirukumaran Nagarajan

Co-founder and CEO, Ninjacart

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