AI to drive supply chain sustainability

By Damian Brett

Image source: Shutterstock

Smart data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will unlock supply chain insights and drive sustainable procurement decisions, according to Topo Solutions.

Tobias Grabler, chief operating officer of the low-code supply chain platform, told delegates at the Made in Asia Sourcing Symposium that advanced analytics and AI will help brands and retailers predict risk at product design or development stage to align with consumers’ sustainability demands and avoid greenwashing.

Grabler added that brands and retailers must drive sustainable supply chains by accelerating digitisation, enabling informed procurement decisions, and predicting risk using smart data and analytics.

Describing sustainability as the “new competitive battlefield”, Grabler said data could provide insights about a product or supplier, adding an additional dimension to existing commercial data on price or quantities to empower procurement managers to make more sustainable procurement decisions.

“Going one step further, collected data, for example, about materials and components, in combination with advanced analytics and AI, can help predict risk at product design or product development stages,” Grabler said.

He continued: “Data creates transparency in the supply chain and in the products that consumers are buying, which is the first steppingstone to driving sustainability.

“We see a lot of pledging, goal setting, and strategizing these days about sustainability and climate change, but we need to get into the execution of things.

“Technology is a great facilitator, what needs to happen now is a mindset change with companies accelerating the adoption of that available technology.”

Topo is a platform for cloud-based remote collaboration, process automation, and advanced analytics covering a product’s journey from sourcing, product development, ordering, and production, to quality, chemical, and sustainability management.

“Sustainability is a very wide field, especially in the supply chain, and you need a holistic approach to avoid quickly going down the greenwashing road,” Grabler said.

“Supply chains are by their nature complex and involve different stakeholders and elements, from factory workers, to chemicals, packaging, and CO2 emissions, and a joint effort is definitely needed to achieve sustainability along the entire chain.

“Old ways of working such as sending emails and Excel are too siloed to achieve the necessary transparency.

“Technology provides the efficient collaboration tools needed for the different parties in the chain to achieve the overall sustainability goals.”

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