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AI liftoff delayed?

A new analysis says only 11% of firms have moved beyond the pilot stage, but is it accurate?

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This is an excerpt of the original article. It was written for the July-August 2024 edition of Supply Chain Management Review. The full article is available to current subscribers.

July-August 2024

Artificial intelligence is everywhere these days. But what if it isn’t? I would guess that at least 50%, and probably closer to 70%, of the article pitches I receive these days involve AI. Most conversations I’ve had at conferences this year have at least touched on AI and its impact on the supply chain. Almost every technology company touts its AI-infused software. It seems that AI is not only mainstream, it’s Main Street.
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Artificial intelligence is everywhere these days. But what if it isn’t? I would guess that at least 50%, and probably closer to 70%, of the article pitches I receive these days involve AI. Most conversations I’ve had at conferences this year have at least touched on AI and its impact on the supply chain. Almost every technology company touts its AI-infused software. It seems that AI is not only mainstream, it’s Main Street.

And if you look outside the supply chain, you will see similar data points to support that theory. Statista data shows that the average global monthly web search volume for keyword AI has risen from 6.58 million searches in July 2022 to 30.45 million by March 2023. When searching Google, 11.5% of sampled websites have AI content as of May, according to Originality.ai.

But, I recently received a report from a company called Zero100, a research firm focused on integration of digital and physical supply chains. The company wanted to know how much AI has infiltrated the supply chain. It scoured earnings reports of publicly held companies, looking for mentions of AI.

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Sorry, but your login has failed. Please recheck your login information and resubmit. If your subscription has expired, renew here.

From the July-August 2024 edition of Supply Chain Management Review.

July-August 2024

Artificial intelligence is everywhere these days. But what if it isn’t? I would guess that at least 50%, and probably closer to 70%, of the article pitches I receive these days involve AI. Most conversations I’ve…
Browse this issue archive.
Access your online digital edition.
Download a PDF file of the July-August 2024 issue.

Artificial intelligence is everywhere these days. But what if it isn’t? I would guess that at least 50%, and probably closer to 70%, of the article pitches I receive these days involve AI. Most conversations I’ve had at conferences this year have at least touched on AI and its impact on the supply chain. Almost every technology company touts its AI-infused software. It seems that AI is not only mainstream, it’s Main Street.

And if you look outside the supply chain, you will see similar data points to support that theory. Statista data shows that the average global monthly web search volume for keyword AI has risen from 6.58 million searches in July 2022 to 30.45 million by March 2023. When searching Google, 11.5% of sampled websites have AI content as of May, according to Originality.ai.

But, I recently received a report from a company called Zero100, a research firm focused on integration of digital and physical supply chains. The company wanted to know how much AI has infiltrated the supply chain. It scoured earnings reports of publicly held companies, looking for mentions of AI.

What it found was interesting, to say the least. While most businesses are interested in AI and are rapidly investing in AI, the majority have not moved past the pilot stage, it found.

“AI is fundamentally changing the landscape of supply chain management—and it’s happening at a faster rate than we’ve seen before,” said Kevin O’Marah, chief research officer and co-founder of Zero100. “It’s the biggest tech inflection point since the internet and, while AI experiments have been ongoing, the rise of generative AI is pushing digitization to the forefront. Boards recognize that the ability to digitize and embrace AI will be the difference between prosperity and decline over the next decade. They now need a clear path forward to capitalize on this opportunity.”

The analysis found that 88% of CEOs talked about their company’s AI vision, but only 11% said they have advanced an AI project beyond the pilot stage, and only one in four could cite the results of an AI project.

So, is AI dominating supply chain or not? I posed a version of that question on my LinkedIn page and got a response that makes some sense. “Brian, these results are surprising, and I will ‘guess’ based on the technology inflection they are keeping their GTM, results and cards close to their chest until ready to share strategy,” wrote Ann Marie Jonkman, vice president of industry strategies at Blue Yonder.

Based on industry chatter, it certainly seems there are more companies leveraging AI than Zero100’s analysis of earnings calls may suggest.

Jonkman may just be right.

AI will undoubtedly be a large part of the conversation at our upcoming NextGen Supply Chain Conference at the Chicago Athletic Association hotel in downtown Chicago. Taking place Oct. 21-23, the event brings together the top leaders in supply chain from some of the biggest companies. This year, keynote addresses will be given by Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Whirlpool, and Walmart will be honored with our Visionary Award.

Visit our NextGen website at nextgensupplychainconference.com to learn more, register, and book your hotel stay. Special rates are in effect until Oct. 4.

I hope to see you there.

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About the Author

Brian Straight, SCMR Editor in Chief
Brian Straight's Bio Photo

Brian Straight is the Editor in Chief of Supply Chain Management Review. He has covered trucking, logistics and the broader supply chain for more than 15 years. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and two children. He can be reached at [email protected], @TruckingTalk, on LinkedIn, or by phone at 774-440-3870.

View Brian's author profile.

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