• April 25, 2024

Researchers from Auburn University and the United States Air Force Academy conducted a focus group on how digital transformation efforts are impacting supply chain management. The report, which appeared in a supply chain industry trade publication, concluded that to take digital transformation of supply chain to its logical conclusion, businesses must redesign processes “so that the responsibility for execution lies primarily on technology,” not humans.

“We believe that to achieve this final stage, companies will need to embrace what are known as intelligent workflows or the purposeful planning of interactions between humans and technology,” the authors wrote. “Intelligent workflows are a blending of technology and human workers that offer a comprehensive approach to orchestrating automation, AI, human workers, and system integration across entire business processes.”

According to the researchers, the focus group showed that many companies are still in the first of three phases: converting existing data into a digital format that can then be leveraged in the digitalization and transformation phases where AI and intelligent automation evolve into fully automated intelligent workflows controlling most of the global supply chain.

“Digitalization improved the speed and quality of decision-making not just by increasing visibility and data sharing across the supply network, but also by improving the decision-making processes themselves,” researchers said in the report. “It also was clear that even as organizations used more AI, there is still a key role for human workers. Companies still need to draw on humans’ tacit knowledge to assess the recommendations made by AI and to provide feedback to the process automation and AI portions of the intelligent workflow.”