I had the pleasure of attending Zero100 Live in San Diego last week. The event brought together around 100 Supply Chain executives who share a common goal of achieving a zero-percent carbon and 100% digital supply chain. What stood out to me was the perfect alignment of Zero100’s community mission with our own mission of a world where waste is eliminated by using Enterprise AI technology. At Noodle.ai we focus on developing solutions that allow supply chain practitioners to “make profit, not waste” and seeing our capabilities resonate with so many industry leaders was inspiring.

AI As Tailwind, Don’t Wait

Unleashing the Power of Predictive AI Engines - Cover ImageKevin O’Marah’s keynote presentation “Rewiring Zero100 Supply Chains” set the stage for the 2024 Megatrends that Chief Supply Chain Officers and Supply Chain Executives are most interested in and the topics we’d be diving into over the course of the event.  Artificial Intelligence was at the top of the list, defined as a must-win productivity challenge for 2024 and beyond.

According to Zero100’s research, utilizing AI for Supply Chain Planning specifically has been drawing the greatest and ever-increasing interest over the last few years.  Kevin concluded with this specific advice: “Be alert, but don’t wait on AI, it’s for everyone.”

The Good News is the advances in computational power coupled with reductions in compute and memory costs have made practical applications of AI in supply chain planning processes possible.  The Bad News is that all the current planning systems built approximately 30 years ago rely on outdated architectures which create a barrier to unleashing the promise AI provides.  Specifically, deterministic math, fixed rules, and simple assumptions force Supply Chain executives to chase certainty that’s impossible in an obviously uncertain world.  These “old math” approaches were necessary when computing power was slow and expensive, but now they have left supply chain stuck in the 1990’s.

At Noodle.ai, we help you address the deficiencies of current supply chain planning systems and their “one number plans.” We advocate that you utilize the power of probabilities unleashed by “New Math” and AI to make risk-adjusted decisions with knowledge of the likelihood of successful outcomes of each decision you make.  The individuals I had the opportunity to are eager to take advantage of AI to drive productivity improvement and found the concept of “Probabilistic Planning” encouraging and a practical opportunity to produce measurable financial results.

The Future is [Re]Generative Supply Chain Planning

If you’re a member of the Zero100 community and haven’t read “Regenerative Business Planning: A Quiet Resilience Revolution” by Steve Hochman, I highly recommend diving in. In the report Steve introduces a new planning frontier, Regenerative Business Planning (RBP), that drives further than traditional S&OP and IBP.  Six RBP enablers are introduced for closed loop planning and execution capability backed by survey data, real world cases, and comprehensive frameworks.

I had the opportunity to have lunch with Steve and was excited to see that one of the layers of an RBP next generation tech stack is Probabilistic Models.  The report states: “Probabilistic solvers start from the premise that vital history is missing. As such, these solvers are designed to simulate thousands of what-if options simultaneously, essentially synthesizing data to predict a model best fit.”

At Noodle.ai we are completely aligned with this vision of the future state.  It’s why we’ve been working so hard on our patent pending Generative Supply Chain Planning solution. Hyung-il Ahn, Noodle.ai Chief AI Scientist, mentioned in our recent press release “Noodle.ai’s Generative Planning incorporates cutting-edge generative AI technologies—such as attention-based graph neural networks (GNN), offline deep reinforcement learning (Offline RL), and probabilistic policy simulations. This potent combination generates dynamic supply action plans that are both feasible and network-wide optimized and consider time-varying supply chain objectives and probabilistic factors like demand, lead time, and production variabilities.”

A Community Ready to Shape the Future

The collective knowledge of the Zero100 community, fostered by Olly and his team, was evident. As we face the uncertainties and challenges of 2023 and beyond, the determination and collaboration of supply chain leaders across domains are sources of hope. Their willingness to share best practices and innovations shows an industry ready for change.

As we move forward, I am energized by the possibilities of Probabilistic and [Re]Generative Supply Chain Planning. The conversations and connections made at Zero100 Live have only reinforced my belief that we can lead transformative change together.

Until next time, San Diego!

Watch full stream here