Eliminate supply chain disruptions with AI-powered playbooks

7 ways AI-powered digital playbooks can elevate your supply chain

By | 3 minute read | February 5, 2020

In the next four years, your supply chain organization has a 1 in 5 chance of experiencing a disruption that could result in related damages exceeding $120 million.

Organizations deal with business and supply chain disruptions on a daily basis. We get so used to dealing with these hiccups that sometimes we lose perspective of the very real dangers and costs that can arise. If small headaches aren’t tended to quickly, there is a real threat they can lead to a much bigger one.

There is often a disconnect or a gap between data (visibility) and action that can be a root cause of these headaches. While progress has been made in managing data and establishing visibility in recent years, that hasn’t translated into managing how knowledge is captured, shared, leveraged and put into action. So, how should you protect your organization and adapt to meet the challenges posed by modern supply chain disruptions?

Supply chain playbooks – what could be considered an “old-school” solution – are being updated for the digital era and already demonstrating that they can make teams significantly more effective in managing disruptions. These playbooks are trained in supply chain to capture and archive a company’s supply chain knowledge, learning from past events and resolutions over time.

Many supply chain organizations have some type of playbook, but digital playbooks can comprehensively capture organizational knowledge, pair it with real-time relevant data, and allow users to instantly and automatically access it to apply to current tasks and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

7 ways AI-powered digital playbooks can elevate your supply chain

How do best-in-class digital playbooks improve the traditional playbook process and help your organization better mitigate supply chain disruptions? Let’s dive in to these 7 areas:

  1. Centralizing and digitizing best practices – Too often, knowledge capture of events, decisions and best practices used to handle specific disruptions are captured via paper-based, siloed processes. This leads to resources becoming quickly outdated or difficult to track down. With digital playbooks, the process is centralized and digitized – ensuring knowledge capture occurs in real time, with rapid access to critical information.
  2. Defining and capturing execution steps digitally – In a traditional or manual system, the steps to handle an exception – such as a shipment delay – are often ‘lost in translation’ via email and personal conversations. With digital playbooks, the steps for managing specific exceptions are clearly defined and available across the organization. This leads to better compliance and adherence to best practices.
  3. Updating and refining process with AI – Because execution steps are defined and captured in most organizations manually, these steps are often not kept up to date. As a result, steps may become obsolete. With digital playbooks, processes are updated and refined with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence (AI). They can observe conversations about resolutions to capture actions and best practices in order to recommend updates to processes for the future. Designated supply chain professionals can then accept or edit those recommendations as required.
  4. Continuously capturing tribal knowledge – In traditional supply chain playbook processes, ‘tribal,’ local or specialized group knowledge is often lost. Whereas with digital playbooks, there is no limit on knowledge capture. It is continually secured, readily accessible and can be leveraged for ongoing improvements.
  5. Preserving every disruption resolution with AI – Rare scenarios and events are often not captured and documented in the manual supply chain playbook. However, digital playbooks with AI capture these effectively so that lessons learned are available for reference by supply chain teams in case similar events occur in the future.
  6. Easily managing role changes – Different steps in a process are taken by certain subject matter experts (SMEs) and certain job roles. And the personnel, as well as their job roles or functions, often change. It is difficult and time-consuming to update playbooks as these shifts occur. Digital playbooks allow you to easily manage role changes and give personnel access to the right information to perform their jobs.
  7. Easy updates with each system upgrade – As supply chain and operational systems change or are updated, it can impact execution steps. Organizations using manual playbooks have a difficult time keeping up with such system changes. Digital playbooks make it is easy to update the playbook as systems are upgraded.

Based on the real-world applications that we’ve seen, AI-powered digital playbooks that curate organizational knowledge and leverage smarter and quicker responses can drive up to 95% greater efficiency when tackling recurring supply chain disruptions. Arming your team with these modern tools enabled by, and made for, the digital era can help you create and empower a team of supply chain heroes.

If you’re interested in how to get started with digital playbooks, IBM Sterling Supply Chain Insights provides end-to-end supply chain visibility, also provides AI-empowered decision-making assistance and digital playbook capabilities.

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