Hyperautomation in supply chain

Hyperautomation in Suppy Chains

8 October 2020

One of the top 10 strategic technology trends defined by Gartner in 2020, is the concept known as hyperautomation. Whereas automation uses technology to automate tasks that once required humans, hyperautomation deals with the application of advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), to increasingly automate processes and augment humans. Hyperautomation extends across a range of tools that can be automated, but also refers to the sophistication of the automation (i.e., discover, analyze, design, automate, measure, monitor, reassess). The goal is to increase the automatization and AI-driven decision-making in more complex business processes which previously have required human contribution.

In a time where supply chain connectivity is increasing, where more and more processes are digitalized and where large amount of data becomes available, hyperautomation and its effect of the human involvement in supply chains has the potential of becoming a true game changer.

Robot Process Automation with AI

Hyperautomation can become the highway towards a broader transformation of supply chain processes which today require human involvement. “The word is out”; It is now possible to upskill RPA with intelligence for more advanced automation that not only replaces monotone work, but also is capable of reading data and continuously assess and act upon it. Hyperautomation is creating so called “Digital Workers” which can be connected with different process-critical applications, analyze and act on structured and unstructured data as well as make decisions and explore new possibilities for improvement of processes.

Combining RPA and AI technology create possibilities to automate processes that previously were not possible to automate (i.e. non-documented processes, partly based on unstructured data).

Automotive has the capabilities to succeed

The automotive industry and the changes the industry is facing, are favoring the development of initiatives such as hyperautomation. There is a fundamental change in the industry, driven by both digitalization, electrification cloud services and AI. In one of their latest reports, Accenture writes that 75% of industry decision-makers (“CXOs”) are making the assessment that the automotive industry will experience major changes due to new intelligent technology. They further write that another 60% believe that AI will be used extensively in organization processes. Half of CXO’s also assess that the coexistence and collaboration between human and machine will be an important basis if companies are to succeed in their strategical goals.

My reading of the state of the market is that new technology will affect the industry far more than traditional automation has affected production. Not the least since AI has the potential to affect the whole supply chain and not only single processes within a single company. Most likely, this will at least force automotive manufacturers to transform its staff both education-wise and when it comes to the strategic implications on the companies’ future.

People + Technology = Future strength

Interestingly, Accenture also points out that that the majority of employees in the Automotive industry that were part of their recent study, state that their jobs would be made easier with the help of intelligent new technology and would encourage creativity and innovation. Personally, I think this is assessment is correct, but it is also reasonable to assume that hyperautomation will mean fewer people employed. While those jobs that remain will most likely be more interesting and more advanced.

Smarter technology means more digital integration and better decisions

Another positive feature of new smarter technology is that it opens up for closer and more transparent collaboration in supply chains. Companies’ data sources can to a higher degree be shared with trading partners, allowing cross-boundaries decision making in supply chains. This creates further opportunities. And by adding AI, I think that we can make a leap, maybe even a quantum leap, in seamless value creation in supply chains.

Hyperautomation with AI – To see the forest through the trees

For years, PipeChain has worked with KPI’s and performance management in our software suite, with the purpose of helping our customers to see problems before they become costly and identify sources for further improvement. These kind of KPI’s are often focused on what has already happened. With AI-enabled software support, we will be able to identify things that are likely to happen, which in turn will increase the opportunities for greater value creation at a lower risk among our customers. You will finally get an opportunity to see the forest through the trees.

I believe that hyperautomation is a hype that will become a reality.

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