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date: 30 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter looks at emerging technologies and their use in supply management processes as a means to improve effectiveness through improved speed and accuracy, at a reduced cost. Many technologies are finding their way into supply management, with differing levels of penetration and application and with mixed results. It may be challenging for supply management professionals to understand how, when, and where these technologies are likely to yield positive results. This chapter reviews several technologies, including artificial intelligence/machine learning, big data/advanced analytics, blockchain, cloud computing, conversational things (e.g., chatbots), immersive technologies (e.g., virtual and augmented reality), and robotic process automation. Findings indicate that the primary advantages are achieved by improving current processes and workflows, rather than that these technologies are currently disrupting or will fundamentally change supply management. Another important finding is the importance of “clean data” inputs, something that artificial intelligence can help with and that is foundational for successful robotic process automation.

Keywords: supply management, process improvement, 3D printing/additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence/machine learning, AI, big data/advanced analytics, blockchain, robotic process automation, RPA

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