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Category: Manufacturing

Supply Chain News: Google Announces AI Tools for Manufacturing

Offers Five Use Cases in Manufacturing for Generative AI


Oct. 17, 2023

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and related Machine Learning (ML) are of course all the rage these days, with technology heavyweights such as Microsoft, Google, Oracle, SAP, Amazon and many others developing AI-based tools and solutions.

Supply Chain Digest Says...


Interestingly, Google states that “Gen AI can act as a supply chain advisor, providing greater visibility across complex networks and delivering recommendations for best-suited suppliers based on relevant criteria.

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Google Cloud made news last week by announcing a suite of AI-based tools that it says will drive efficiencies in manufacturing operations. The new tools are based on what is called generative artificial intelligence (GenAI), which in great summary means AI that can produce content.

The tech giant made a similar announcement relative to AI solutions for the healthcare sector.

For manufacturers, Google detailed a series of AI use cases, as summarized below:

Machine-generated events monitoring: The Google Cloud blog post announcing the new products noted that “Gen AI can play a key role in transforming maintenance workflows and staying one step ahead with predictive maintenance. It helps manufacturers optimize operations by interpreting telemetry from equipment and machines to reduce unplanned downtime, gain operating efficiencies, and maximize utilization. If a problem is identified, gen AI can also recommend potential solutions and a service plan to help maintenance teams rectify the issue.”

Customer-service automation: Google Cloud says that manufacturers are finding that GenAI “provides a helpful, value-added customer service experience that automates and accelerates time-to-resolution for common interactions like product troubleshooting, ordering replacement parts, scheduling service, product information, and product operation.”

Document search and synthesis: Here, Google says that “Gen AI can quickly sift through generations of documents throughout the product lifecycle, extracting and summarizing the information needed by sales teams and technicians.” It can also synthesize purchase orders and quickly provide customers a quote, eliminating the need for sales teams to manually cross-reference emails with inventory availability.

Product/content catalog discovery: Here, the blog says that “Using gen AI, manufacturers gain an efficient method to match requirements to the specifications of products they buy, and provide the same service to their customers.” It adds that “Gen AI-enabled sales applications can provide sales recommendations based on historical sales data, in-stock data, master data, and more, adding that results could be combined with more descriptive statistics on sales data joined with meta-information that is uploaded by sales agents, giving a clear visibility into the buying process.”

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Supply chain advisor: Interestingly, Google states that “Gen AI can act as a supply chain advisor, providing greater visibility across complex networks and delivering recommendations for best-suited suppliers based on relevant criteria — such as bill of materials specifications, raw material availability and delivery schedules, or sustainability metrics.” Google adds that GenAI is adept at extracting provisions using natural-language processing from legal and contractual documents, and can deliver real-time insights into supply chain performance to help improve decision-making.

While not particularly well explained as to how this really works, it still seems like a lot of potential applications. Google in the blog does note the availability of an “executive’s guide to generative AI” to help with understanding the basics.

The blog notes that supply chain disruptions have often negatively hit that bottom line, with 45% of the average company’s yearly earnings expected to be lost over the next decade.

Closer to home, companies are struggling to fill critical labor gaps, with over half (54%) of manufacturers facing worker shortages. It is not clear where these numbers came from.

“Challenges like these demand new solutions. And gen AI has the potential to deliver them,” Google argues.

Any thoughts on Google's AI apps? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.




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