Supply Chain Monthly

Supply Chain Innovation Award - A Winning Team Reminisces

Print this Article | Send to Colleague

A Flood of Data

It is estimated that more than 90 percent of the data in the world was generated in the last two years.  It is impossible for supply chain managers to keep up with the amount of data being generated through traditional means, such as reading newspapers and reports. Fortunately, much of the data generated today is stored digitally and is thus amenable to analytical methods. Can we determine what data is relevant and why? With the advent of technology solutions to handle Big Data and unstructured data thru’ advanced analytics and data science tools, we embarked on developing next-generation solutions. Intel is also on a path towards Digital Supply Chain and our advanced analytics solutions are paving the way.

AI/Cognitive Computing Based Sourcing Intelligence

Improvements in AI algorithms and the computing power to run those algorithms in real time are resulting in true cognitive computing applications. Some applications such as autonomous cars are becoming familiar however less familiar is the application of algorithms to find, for example, connections of interest in unstructured text. Our data scientists have utilized and built such capabilities to automatically alert our supply chain professionals to potential items of interest. We have also focused on developing dashboards with clear, targeted visualizations of relevant data. We like to use the analogy of “maps and gauges.” Analogously to a person using a smartphone for easy GPS navigation (e.g., Google Maps), we want to provide Intel’s sourcing decision-makers with the information they need to make the best decisions possible about selecting suppliers – whether for materials, equipment, labor, or software. Once those decisions are made, we can monitor them similarly to how gauges monitor the performance and health of an engine. We were able to combine prediction, prescription and cognition to provide a robust supplier intelligence through our solutions.

Final Thoughts

Thanks again to CSCMP's Research Strategies Committee (RSC) and SupplyChainBrain for the privilege of presenting our work and acknowledging Intel with this prestigious award. It was great to be able to share our work among the excellent innovation award entries from Pfizer, Schneider Electric (along with Vector Consulting), Kansas City Southern Railway Company, and BuySeasons (along with FastFetch). Upon winning the award, we have received a lot more interest in the work both internally and externally. It is also a validation of the data science community as to how we can leverage massive data to convert it into useful information and insight for value-add decision making.

About the Intel Team Members

Mani Janakiram, Ph.D. is a director in Intel’s Global Supply Chain organization and leads the Supply Chain Intelligence and Analytics group. David Bayba is the senior data scientist on Mani’s team. The mission of the Supply Chain Intelligence and Analytics group is to deliver high impact results across Intel’s Global Supply Management Chain by driving business process excellence through modeling, analytics, supply chain intelligence, and leading-edge supply chain research.