How blockchain opens the door to new use cases in the supply chain?

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Blockchain has been gaining interest for several years in several sectors of activity such as finance with crypto-currencies or the art world with NFTs. But how does blockchain open the doors to new use cases in the supply chain?

After the publication of the White Paper Supply Chain x Blockchain and a first webinar in June 2021 explaining the principles of blockchain and its use in the supply chain, a second webinar was held on 8 July 2022. Two companies were present to present their concrete use cases of blockchain in their Supply Chain.

  • Improve traceability of mica supply chains to ensure sustainable sourcing and eradicate child labour
  • Another example on the traceability of 3TG (ore)
  • Use case on milk and supply chain traceability to make flows and stocks visible
  • Example of increasing transparency to the consumer

Answers to the questions asked at this conference:

  • How does blockchain enable full auditability better than without?

    Matthieu Hug (Tilkal): A blockchain network acts like a decentralised database. It allows different actors to write data completely independently of each other, and without anyone being able to modify the written data. Each piece of data is electronically signed by the sender. The network records a fingerprint of each piece of data and copies it to each participant. Thus each participant in the network has an independent copy of these fingerprints (the database or register of the blockchain), which constitutes an independent and unalterable proof of the sending of each piece of data, by whom and when. All data uploads are therefore independently auditable, without a centralizing third party having the technical capacity to modify the data.

    This is simply not possible today without blockchain or similar technology.

  • Is the issue of traceability discussed with the States? If we take the example of traceability, in particular to ensure that the origin of the product does not involve child labour, blockchain will not solve the basic problem.

    Olivier Dubourdieu (RMI): Indeed, traceability is only a tool, serving the objective of eradicating child labour. In itself, blockchain will not solve anything on its own. On the other hand, traceability (based on blockchain technology) is an excellent tool for measuring, monitoring and evaluating progress towards the complete eradication of child labour (and other human rights violations).

    To answer the first part of the question, the RMI's approach is holistic. Thus, the issue of child labour is discussed with the States, but the initiative also implements programmes to support the communities of artisanal mica miners, to diversify and improve their sources of income, to guarantee access to quality education, to ensure an acceptable level of health and nutrition, etc. The causes of child labour are numerous and the initiative's objective is to address them all effectively. Once these programmes have been set up, the objective is to include the States in the reflection when it comes to traceability and performance monitoring, and also to include the communities (via cooperatives, mining groups, etc.).

  • With the Tilkal approach can you trace the carbon footprint from upstream to downstream?

    Matthieu Hug (Tilkal): Yes, Tilkal can trace carbon emission data, as well as any other type of data relating to the value chain, from upstream to downstream. For example, we track environmental data of this type as part of a vertical offer that we have developed with a partner for the textile sector (Footbridge).

  • Is it possible to see Tilkal's PF traceability live?

    Olivier Dubourdieu (RMI): unfortunately, the RMI platform already contains confidential data, but I'm sure Matthieu (CEO of Tilkal) will be able to offer you a demo!

    Matthieu Hug (Tilkal): with pleasure! Just contact us www.tilkal.com

  • Some actors must want to protect their information, is the blockchain 100% private or hybrid?

    Matthieu Hug (Tilkal) : Especially not private: a "private blockchain" (i.e. controlled by a single actor) has in essence no auditability properties because the single actor who controls it can technically modify all the data.

    The network deployed by Tilkal is said to be "permissioned": its access is reserved for identified and authorised B2B actors. Moreover, the confidentiality of the data is total because the blockchain network only contains "fingerprints" of the data: these are sufficient for the objective of auditability, but it is impossible to guess the original document from these fingerprints.

  • Do you have any use cases in agriculture, on how certain agricultural materials are grown, or how certain animals are raised?

    Matthieu Hug (Tilkal): Yes, several: milk collections, origin of vegetable milks (soya, almonds), fish and shrimps, and transport of livestock (sheep, cattle, pigs, goats) to an African country.

  • By whom and how is the source information (product origin) integrated into the blockchain? Did the traceability system require the equipment of certain stakeholders?

    Matthieu Hug (Tilkal): Each stakeholder writes the data that concerns them. This is done in different ways depending on the context: via API with existing systems or via simple mobile applications (provided and adapted to the use case) or via web forms or via IoT sensors. From the point of view of the operators capturing the data, the blockchain is invisible.

  • How do you ensure that the information entered by the suppliers is reliable? I can very well say that I hardly make the children work when I do? It's still a tool that hardly works on its own.

    Olivier Dubourdieu (RMI): Indeed, on the RMI side, it remains a declarative tool, where the veracity of the data entered is not guaranteed. That said, several safeguards have been put in place to ensure reliable data:

    • The data is reported by all members of the RMI, i.e. by both suppliers and their customers. We are able to compare the reported data and identify potential differences.
    • The blockchain, because it guarantees the link between the date, the identity of the person who shared the data, and the shared data itself, makes the data auditable. Thus, anyone who has a doubt about a piece of data shared on the platform can request an audit of the data and identify any inconsistencies.

    Matthieu Hug (Tilkal): see on Tilkal here.

  • Is it possible to see the RMI traceability platform live?

    Olivier Dubourdieu (RMI): unfortunately, the RMI platform already contains confidential data, but I'm sure Matthieu (CEO of Tilkal) will be able to offer you a demo!

  • What has blockchain technology enabled that not using blockchain could not?

    Matthieu Hug (Tilkal): data auditability, which makes it possible to create the traceability proof mechanism, which is increasingly required by new regulations in Europe and the US in particular (duty of care and reversal of the burden of proof). The Tilkal platform adds real time tracking and sharing while maintaining confidentiality.

  • What is the blockchain used by this platform? Is it private or public?

    Matthieu Hug (Tilkal): Blockchain network deployed by Tilkal. 74 independent nodes currently deployed, managed by our clients and some of their suppliers. This is a strictly B2B network, known as "permissioned" (authorised and authenticated access, subject to terms of use).

  • What is the name of this digital tool please? Platform used by Olivier.

    Olivier Dubourdieu (RMI): We use the traceability platform developed by Tilkal, which is based on blockchain technology. I'm sure Matthieu can tell you more!

  • Can we say that digital (via blockchain in particular) is a lever for a transition towards a greener supply chain?

    Olivier Dubourdieu (RMI): traceability based on blockchain technology allows (among other things) two things:

    • To emphasise that the solution to child labour upstream of a supply chain is everyone's business, that each actor in the chain shares a part of the responsibility for the problem, but also and above all for the solution.
    • Monitor and evaluate the impacts of actions implemented by supply chain actors engaged in transformation.

    Matthieu Hug (Tilkal): To talk about the transition to a greener supply chain, you have to be able to measure the supply chain permanently and end to end. It is therefore necessary to be able to trace the supply chain end to end, including in "scope 3" to use the terminology related to carbon emissions. However, such traceability is massively lacking today, or is very difficult to access and use (paper). In this sense, digital technology (and in particular blockchain) makes it possible to resolve the issue of end-to-end traceability, and therefore to measure the supply chain and assess its impact.

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Digital solutions for my transport operations

Customer experience, resilience, performance, environment... Transport is at the heart of your supply chain challenges. Faced with these challenges, many of you are accelerating the digitalisation of your transport operations.

For several months, the Digital Transport Lab has been collecting data on the digital tools that companies use to help them in this digitalisation process.

In order to go further, France Supply Chain organised a webinar on 30 June to enlighten companies on possible solutions, gains to be achieved and good practices. A radar of available offers, the results of the survey and concrete feedback from Nexans and Lesieur were shared during this meeting.

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Answers to the questions asked at this conference:

  • How many carriers are managed in the TMS?

    Between 30 and 80 carriers for the cases presented.
  • How many people manage the planning of WO? Is it centralised?

    5 to 10 people manage the OT planning. Planning is centralised for Nexans.
  • How are SPOTs managed in your TMS? Do you have a market price?

    The TMS used by Lesieur and Nexans allow them to request spot quotes from the referenced carriers.
  • How do you manage the back-up in case of refusal by the carrier?

    The automation of the chartering process makes it possible to achieve a very high rate of acceptance of the WO by the carriers. In the event of refusal, a TMS can be used to plan a scheme or an alternative service provider.
  • What are the limits of this tool in operational decisions (anticipation, decision scenarios...)?

    These tools automate and accelerate the processing of tasks performed daily by operational staff, but also give them the means to work by exception: operational staff can focus on actions that require human intervention.
  • What uses are made of the data collected and in what timeframe (weeks, months, etc.)? In your presentation, I did not see any reference to dashboards and monitoring of performance indicators (cost, quality, deadline,CO2, etc.). Are there dashboards in these different tools? Do you have any examples to share?

    The digital solutions include dashboards and the calculation of KPIs. The areas covered are generally operational (flows, quality, punctuality, filling, etc.), financial (budget monitoring, cost allocation) and CO2 emissions.
  • In the multitude of shippers' TMSs (for example), how to choose the one that would be suitable, how to perceive the differentiating element between a DDS, Generix, CJM... Why choose Oracle and DDS rather than another?

    Some answers provided during the webinar: the elements of differentiation are not only functional. Also assess the ability to integrate with the existing IS while meeting the security standards recommended by the organisation (which themselves must be compatible with the performance requirements imposed by the operational constraints of transport). Also take into account the project aspect and in particular the deployment lead-times announced by the various suppliers.

    The choice of Nexans (DDS) was made in 2004, I think we had other criteria at the time. Today, the choice of the right tool is very important because it is very engaging, it is imperative to define the need in detail and to have relatively precise quantitative data, the involvement of your IT is also the key to the success of the implementation! Don't hesitate to talk to users.

  • What resources did you rely on to identify the best options for this exponential number of modular solutions?

    The radar lists the main solutions available to shippers on the French market (it does not claim to be exhaustive), to give an initial insight into the field of possibilities. It is based on the expertise and knowledge of the market provided by the members of France Supply Chain who contributed to this project.

  • In terms of traceability, do you have feedback from your carriers (Batch or Courier) on delivery events, in particular before departure: Scheduled delivery time slot. After departure: Possible delay with a new time slot on the same day or delivery postponed to the next day

    These digital solutions offer different possibilities to transporters to make these returns: web portal, mobile application, EDI, visibility platform.

  • 10- Do Lesieur and Nexans use a "Visibility & Analytics" system in addition to their TMS (like Project 44 / Shippeo)? If yes, why this choice and what is the real gain vs. track & trace via the TMS? What are the decision criteria for the selection of traceability/ tracking/ in-transit visibility tools (Project44, Shippeo, Wadeo...) and are these systems integrated with the TMS? What percentage of your journeys can you trace?

    The connection of the TMS to a tracking tool is planned for Lesieur and done for Nexans. The criteria for choosing these tools are generally the coverage of transport modes and the number of carriers already connected. These visibility tools are often connected to the TMS.

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Quick wins in logistics automation

In the course of writing a white paper, we came to the conclusion that traditional automation projects, which can quickly become large and expensive, were too risky for many companies to takethe plunge.

In partnership with EOL and Wavestone, we are therefore seeking to collect your needs and examples of automation to meet your daily problems as logisticians while remaining modest in size and quick to implement.

Handling equipment: How to meet the energy challenges of today's and tomorrow's warehouse?

In a context where companies are implementing solutions to reduce their energy consumption and their carbon footprint, intralogistics is attracting more and more interest. Today, having an optimised and agile intralogistics is a competitive advantage. Companies are looking for new technologies, sources of energy for more efficiency, profitability and sustainability.

On 31 May, France Supply Chain organised a webinar with the companies EOL, Fenwick, Evolis Sympo and Andine to find out which innovations to implement for its handling equipment fleet (webinar replay below).

Supply Chain x Cybersecurity

On April 22, 2022, within the Digital Lab, France Supply Chain and Wavestone published the Supply Chain x Cybersecurity White Paper, dedicated to the problems of digital risk, a major challenge for the Supply Chain. After several months of work on this theme, on April 15 we organised a webinar to present the publication, which you can find at the end of this article.

CO2e Measurement Across Supply Chain by SupplyChain4Good

From a BCG survey of 1,290 companies in 2021, we know that :

85%

of organisations consider themselves concerned about reducing their emissions

9%

are able to measure their emissions comprehensively

11%

have reduced their emissions in line with their stated ambitions over the last five years

More broadly, respondents to this study estimate an average error rate of 30-40% in the measurement of their emissions.

Following the publication of the 6th IPCC report and the ambitions shared by The Shift Project in their Plan for the Transformation of the French Economy, it is clear that organisations are not up to the challenge.

This is why the SupplyChain4Good LAB is launching the "CO2e Measurement Across Supply Chain" project

To carry out this project, we are launching a survey to assess the impact of companies. The more people who participate, the more we can move forward together on low carbon best practice.

The objectives

  • Diagnose current CO2e measurement practices in supply chains.
  • Examine the prospects for improving measurement practices (automation, collaboration, granularity, completeness, etc.).
  • Agreeing on a targeted level of accuracy of CO2e measurement that could support the steering of the transition to a low-carbon economy with reasonable effort

Deliverables

  • Survey of all participants to assess the maturity of impact measurement, priorities and current concerns regarding existing methodologies.
  • Diagnosis of current impact measurement practices related to the value chain; the level of completeness, granularity, frequency and accuracy should be assessed and challenged
  • Best Practice Guide / Set of recommendations on the level of measurement targeted for each axis identified in the diagnosis and survey
  • SupplyChain4Good approved" label and/or commitment of all participants to adopt the recommended practices.
  • Proof of Concepts adapted to the revealed needs of the participants

Challenges and impacts of RPA in supply chain processes

After a first meeting in 2020, France Supply Chain organised a second webinar on RPA on 19 January, with FM Logistic and Groupe Avril. A look back at some concrete examples of how the technology has been used.

On 19 January, the Digital LAB of France Supply Chain, led by Anne-Brigitte Spitzbarth, VP Operations Excellence and Sustainability of Gefco, launched its first 2022 webinar on RPA with the aim of revealing concrete cases of implementation of the solution.

To kick it off, Virginie Fongond, Head of Optimisation and Automation Projects at FM Logistic explains how the logistics company has taken on the subject through a holistic approach. After three years of deployment and a first POC at the end of 2018, it has a portfolio of more than 330 automation projects, 141 of which are currently in production. It has already saved 16,000 hours since December 2020, i.e. a saving of 300,000 euros and as much time reallocated to higher value-added tasks.

Omnichannelity in the supply chain: how to get organised?

As a catalyst and accelerator of consumer behaviour, the Covid-19 crisis has pushed companies to develop their omnichannel strategy. Zoom on the best practices to apply in the new webinar organised by France Supply Chain with the help of the Diagma consulting firm, accompanied by two giants in their field: Decathlon & Sephora.

Taking care of your omnichannel supply chain from upstream to downstream

Increasingly efficient e-tailers, a constantly expanding offer, increased product availability, all in city centres that are less and less accessible and faced with increasingly mature customers: these are the factors that are pushing towards omnichannelity and the need to to think globally about the supply chain. Upstream - in purchasing, sales forecasting, procurement, stock management, order preparation and shipping - but also downstream via transport, returns and after-sales service, it is necessary to know how to structure and organise its supply chain to meet the needs of consumers, on physical and/or digital networks:

"In an omnichannel world, there is not one but many supply chains, and omnichannelity represents a blurring of the boundaries between channels. It is therefore necessary to provide a single response to a consumer who is navigating between channels and to offer him a seamless experience. This is the challenge facing retailers. The supply chain responds to these needs but is also active and a driving force in the development of the service proposal, and thus contributes directly to business development," explains Olivier Dubouis, partner at Diagma.

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Best practices for a seamless omnichannel experience

  • At Decathlon, Thibault Vandenberghe, chief supply officer in charge of supply for retail and digital transformation, mentions a first angle of attack to make a success of omnichannelity: think about the range, "what we sell and how we structure the offer". He also insists on the distribution network: "it is necessary to propose services adapted to the type of offer. At Decathlon, we set out the different scenarios, put in place industrial solutions and let the retailers use these solutions to tell us what worked best in order to continue learning. An example of this is the implementation of a drive-through system during Covid.

  • For his part, Adrien Homolle, supply chain transformation director at Sephora, adds two aspects to stand out: customer customisation and innovation. "More than 250 brands and 40,000 references with their own specificities require the ability to provide a demanding level of service and product availability. We respond to this via different types of delivery: classic, express, click and collect, but also via additional associated services such as engraving or smart sampling. The customer drives the need for pragmatic and adaptable solutions. In order to respond, several mixes must be taken into account: scalability, flexibility, cost, quality of service, etc.

Logistics industrialisation, customer customisation and adaptability, the keys to a successful strategy

Finally, while evoking their experiences and their projects, the two experts give some valuable advice: ensure perfect execution of operations, provide elements of differentiation to the customer, think about the industrialisation of its logistics tools, size the mechanisation solutions according to the fluctuations of the business and the evolving behaviour of the customer, but also analyse the transformation of the logistics professions and apprehend the question of return. A demanding organisation that the supply chain players integrate, implement and optimise every day in the service of the end customer.

To watch the full webinar and learn more about Decatlhon and Sephora's omnichannel strategies:

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Questions asked during the webinar

  • Concerning the IS adaptation part - we inherited 20 different ERPs in Europe which prevented us from having DCs for our clients, so we needed to enter the complex world of order orchestration layer

    Decathlon: Even with a relatively standard environment, there are major projects to make these new schemes possible. In the long term, this will require overhauls and a more modular organisation of our IS by product and teams in agile mode.

    Sephora: We have chosen an ERP (SAP) as a core model, an OMS, a front-end. Despite this, we still have other systems to connect (WMS, etc.) which require constant adaptation of our IT systems.

  • "The consumer demands what the citizen refuses"... how do you manage the time -CO2 balance?

    Decathlon: Our objective is to make environmental data visible in the choices of customers in order to make them actors (display on the product, on the services).

    Sephora: For us, the fastest delivery is the least "costly" in terms ofCO2: Click & Collect; in fact, most of our city centre shops are delivered by Green (electric or CNG). We are otherwise considering consumer expectations in terms ofCO2 information vs. type of delivery.

  • How have you readapted your SC on the reverse side (return, exchange...)?

    Decathlon: Still learning from the experience of returning to Decathlon, reverse logistics is still in its infancy.

    Sephora: The returns section for shops has been developed for many years: in particular, with the revaluation of products or packaging used and returned by our customers in shop. For web returns: these can be made in shop or directly by carrier; this last point is still being improved, although it represents a very low rate in France.

  • What key indicators do you track in order to measure the supply chain performance of your omnichannel offers?

    Decathlon: Product availability, asset turnover and reduction of environmental impact are the 3 key indicators of transformation (For efficiency it is indeed the triptych Cost, Quality, Time).

  • What criteria led to the internalisation of depots (Décathlon) and outsourcing (Séphora)?

    Decathlon: We have invested in this business since its creation, we work with partners, but in our opinion, the choice of know-how remains a determining factor in being innovative and differentiating.

    Sephora: The outsourcing of our logistics partners is historical; but we have a limited number of partners so as to gain synergy and speed in the implementation of new tools.

  • Are the indicators at Decathlon parameters of choice in the delivery solution to the customer? (Shipment of the product where it is available versus as close as possible even if it leaves from different points; the fastest versus the most economical...)

    Decathlon: The first priority is availability, then we will offer the target 3 scenarios for the customer: cheaper, faster, less environmental impact.

  • Do you have different legal entities in your network that have led to questions about margins, who carries the stock, internal re-invoicing, physical returns, etc.?

    Decathlon: Yes, this is an important issue to consider because in a model with more market place the options are even more numerous.

    Sephora: Yes, we have different legal entities per country.

  • What WHO technologies do you use?

    Decathlon: The technologies chosen are developed by our digital teams, and some of the components are those of the publishers of our stock sources.

    Sephora: We use Order Dynamics as our OMS, in conjunction with Salesforce and SAP.

  • What technical solution do you use for omnichannel?
    In particular for the management of stocks available for sale in mini-warehouses.

    Decathlon: The work of accessibility of stocks in shops and warehouses is managed in the website application. We are limited today by the choice of scenarios and this also means that we have to manage this intelligence on all fronts. Technical architecture work is underway to decouple the display of the promise from the scenario calculation modules and to make these functions compatible with an infinite number of stock sources. This is a project that is currently being deployed and is scheduled for 2022.

  • There is a lot of talk about ROPO. How do you manage web-based product search data on shop inventory?

    Decathlon: We display shop stocks in our shopping paths. If the customer decides to complete his purchase in shop without managing it in Click & Collect 1h, it is the customer identification data that allows us to reconcile the search and purchase. We do not monitor this data on a daily basis but it is done.

    Sephora: We take into account shop and warehouse stocks during the customer journey on our website, with the customer being offered purchase completion in/from a shop (C&C or SFS) or delivery.

  • You have talked about reducing the environmental impact of transport by 45% in 3 years. What indicators are you monitoring to ensure that this objective is achieved?

    Decathlon: We detail this objective with indicators for the choice of modes of transport, the evolution of the energy used for these same transports, the kilometres travelled and the fill rate of our trucks.

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Intralogistics at the service of performance

On October 17, the Intralogistics Commission organized, in partnership with Grand Paris Sud, a day of sharing best practices in intralogistics.

The morning was punctuated by lectures from various speakers:

  • Isabelle HAUTANT, Director and Pierre VEYER, Manager at Argon Consulting
  • Vincent RICCI, Business Development Director, Supply Chain France, XPO Logistics
  • Justine BAIN-THOUVEREZ, lawyer specialized in energy law for LLC Avocats & Associés
  • Franck LAMAS, R&D Director, Logistics Buildings, IDEC Group

The exchanges continued in the afternoon with two site visits: Sarenza and Private Showroom.


Automation,
at the service of e-commerce

Intralogistics is at the heart of the development of e-commerce. Picking activities for individual orders are much more complex than for traditional pallet orders. Automation has a particular influence on performance.

The capital increase that accompanies automation projects leads to automate with discernment, selecting high-stakes activities without trying to automate everything. In particular, robotisation is appropriate for picking and order preparation activities in e-commerce, whereas traditional technologies are often appropriate for traditional B2B logistics (i.e. per pallet).

Sponsorship, realism, involvement of the different actors are all essential factors in complex projects: company project, aligned actors, shared convictions.

A mini-survey proposed to the participants highlighted the concerns usually encountered in investment projects:

What's stopping you today from starting a mécanisation  project?


4 fundamentals
for a good implantation

During his presentation, Vincent Ricci shared 4 fundamental principles to automate his warehouse:

  • Being obsessed with customer satisfaction
  • Finding time and money to access new technologies
  • Mastering data
  • Operating innovations

Customer Satisfaction

Many constraints weigh on the Supply Chain to meet customer needs, whether B2B or B2C:

New technologies

For a logistics company like XPO, the investment in technology solutions is $550 million/year - far less than the IT investments made by pure players.

The combination of transport management tools (TMS) and warehouse management tools (WMS) is a must.

Using data

Data has a central role in automation and resource optimization, such as capturing data via IoTs or through integration with various upstream systems, combining data to better predict demand and saturate capacities, facilitating interactions with (mobile) employees or robots to benefit from automation.

Innovations

The main innovations relate to areas such as Plant 4.0, order management software, environmental optimisation of packaging, warehouse automation, etc. It is also wise to use 3PLs that have the capacity to make and return on the necessary investments in technology.

These solutions include, for example, the re-internalization of textile activities with low MO content, which will allow small production to be carried out as closely as possible to optimize environmental issues.


Integrate
energy performance

According to Franck Lamas, energy performance is becoming more and more important in companies, particularly with the RT 2012-2020 regulation.

On the other hand, buildings will be required to consume more, under the constraint of automation, recharging of electric vehicles, improvement of staff comfort with more lit, more heated buildings...

The sustainable reduction of consumption therefore requires a change in energy policy. Efficient and sustainable solutions exist, and it is up to companies to put energy performance at the heart of their concerns.

In terms of renewable energy, photovoltaics is very suitable for cold storage, with a ROI even in regions with little sunlight. This technology is supported by new regulations that lead companies to equip their buildings with photovoltaic devices or green roofs. The obligation is already in force for new buildings larger than 1,000m².

Heating accounts for a growing share of the consumption of buildings, with technologies that have not progressed for many years. Geothermal energy is a very efficient solution for heating warehouses with an average 60% reduction in consumption.

Highlighting AI applied to the supply chain

In an increasingly complex world, AI can produce analyses and projections fine enough to support organizations in their quest for agility. Back to the basics of the technology and its benefits for the supply chain.

Sales forecasting, inventory management, planning, scheduling... How to anticipate the vital functions of the supply chain in an unstable environment and in the face of demand that is becoming volatile? The answers include artificial intelligence and its most well-known branches, machine learning and deep learning. But how do they work? What use cases can be identified? And which companies exist on the market to serve these needs? To answer these vast questions, four experts from the sector took turns on September 30 during a webinar organized jointly by the Lab Digital de France Supply Chain and Wavestone.


Demystifying artificial intelligence
and understand the data

To demystify the subject, we must first understand it. So, what is AI? According to Ghislain de Pierrefeu, partner in charge of the Machine Learning Data Lab at Wavestone, it is the ability of a machine to perform complex intellectual tasks previously specific to humans. Machine learning, an application of AI, gives computer systems the ability to make decisions based on learned data. Deep learning, on the other hand, has the ability to imitate the functioning of the human brain in the processing of data and the creation of models. This trio is intertwined with the fields of data science and Big Data Analytics. For Ghislain de Pierrefeu, once these concepts have been integrated, the question must be asked: "Do I have data and how canI use it? »

Because the data can be of different types and AI algorithms too. The latter can be divided into two categories. The first, supervised learning, which consists of developing a predictive model based on input data and results. The second, non-supervised learning, is based on input data, divided into subgroups considered homogeneous: "The idea here is to use the data to build clusters and analyse the orientations found, using common human sense and understanding of the profession," explains Ghislain de Pierrefeu.


From exploration to exploitation
of AI for the Supply Chain

From a practical point of view, these AI algorithms have a positive impact on supply chain management: on data, demand forecasts, sales strategy, but also on stock replenishment, supervision and forecasting. Ivan Baturone, Michelin's Supply Chain Innovation Manager, gave a concrete presentation on the development of SAAM (Stock Analysis & Alerting Machine), a tool that "deals with the tsunami of supply chain data for the distribution of our products from our factories to our commercial warehouses. We have developed machine learning algorithms to help us detect three weeks before an item is out of stock at a distribution point. Ultimately, the Holy Grail would be to achieve a self-analysing and self-regulating supply chain. Thus, over 2019, thanks to SAAM, Michelin has notably increased its "product" availability by 7 points.


A radar, a panorama and exchanges
around AI applied to the Supply Chain

To reach this level of maturity, to understand AI and its benefits, many solutions are available on the market. The radar established by Wavestone and France Supply Chain was created to give an overview of these. At the same time, the France Supply Chain Digital Lab, the originator of this webinar, will very soon publish its panorama of digitalization 2020/2021.

There is still time to complete the survey on the association's website before the results are published on November 17 at the Supply Chain Event.

Two webinars will also be held, the first in November on RPA (Robotic Process Automation) with the participation of Michelin and the second in December, led by Daher on Supply Chain Innovation.

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