Navigating the Future Wild West of B2B Operations with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have several strengths that we’ve examined throughout this series. These include the ability to create insight from large data sets, provide customization at scale, decrease labor through intelligent automation, and decrease business risks with 24/7 monitoring of real-time data streams. Arguably, the most powerful strength of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are their abilities to provide predictions based on data. This is where the future of AI and ML lie.

In the previous article of this series, we examined the ways that AI and ML can empower your organization’s B2B operations and supply chain today. In this article, we’ll explore how AI and ML will continue to shape the future of B2B management and operations in the next five years.

The future of success: what’s in store for your business?

The next five years will completely transform the landscape of business operations and management. What we’re able to achieve is already remarkable, but there are a number of developments underway that you need to know about.

Machine learning systems currently require input from humans to ensure that they don’t take unnecessary or undesired actions based on their limited knowledge and experience. As algorithms become more robust and data sets become more diverse, AI and ML technologies will be able to provide always-accurate solutions for your needs with minimal input and management from you. DHL wrote in their Logistics Trend Radar Report that “machine learning systems will become a game-changing enabler for completely autonomous data-driven optimization in logistics.” They predict that these completely autonomous systems will emerge over the next three years.

A study from the Pew Research Centre predicts that AI- and ML-enabled robotics will dominate every corner of our businesses by 2025. Currently, AI- and ML-based robotics are deployed in limited capacities because of continued safety concerns and their inability to be as flexible as human labor. As AI and ML technologies develop over the next 5 years, the study notes that “we [will] be witnessing the disappearance of AI and robotics into the ordinary landscape.” These new and ubiquitous robotic systems include self-driving vehicles and transportation fleets, intelligent and dynamic manufacturing machines, and autonomous warehouse robots. Each one of these in their own right will redefine their respective verticals and provide unprecedented value for early adopters.

Mass customization is a familiar buzzword that will become a reality over the next three to five years as AI and ML technologies become as dynamic as human labor. CB Insights points to a number of patents filed in the last 12 months in which leading companies like Amazon are planning to retool their whole supply chains to shift their focus towards on-demand manufacturing of customized products. These patents currently focus on AI- and ML-powered 3D printing and dynamic apparel manufacturing systems. While this may be a great convenience for customers, it will force a complete reconfiguration of traditional supply chains that have been optimized around large quantities of a product moving from distant manufacturers to local warehouses to customers. The complexity of this new supply chain would be unmanageable to a human workforce and is only possible by the autonomous AI and ML systems mentioned earlier in this article. As products become manufactured on a per-customer basis, your supply chain will need to be created and managed on a per-customer basis as well.

Wrap up

There are innumerable competitive advantages that your organization can gain by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Being an early adopter of these technologies can give your organization capabilities that can’t be matched by your slower-moving competitors. Get in touch with the Hanu Rock Stars to explore how your sales, marketing, and entire B2B operations can be revolutionized with AI and ML in the cloud.