Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming every industry, but its impact on the supply chain sector is particularly noteworthy. To explore this shift, Zetwerk surveyed 1,000 supply chain professionals about AI’s role in the supply chain and its implications for the workforce. This report details the perspectives of those who manage logistics, operate machinery, and steer the industry’s future, offering a glimpse into the changes underway and the adaptations necessary for staying on the cutting edge of the supply chain field.
- Nearly 2 in 5 supply chain professionals use AI-based tools daily.
- Over 60% of supply chain professionals believe AI will create new career opportunities.
- About half of Gen Zers believe AI will improve supply chain job stability.
- Nearly 10% of supply chain professionals have advanced in their careers as a result of working with AI.
- 3 in 4 supply chain professionals say working with AI helps them achieve better outcomes.
- 30% receive financial support from their employer for tuition or certifications related to AI and automation.
The Pros and Cons of AI in the Supply Chain
AI is increasingly becoming a staple in supply chain management, but this growing integration creates a mix of perceptions and concerns among professionals in the field.
Although nearly 2 in 5 supply chain workers said they use AI tools every day, 44% voiced apprehensions about job displacement, fearing AI could supersede human roles. Another 41% worried about the diminishing human touch in various aspects of the supply chain due to integrating AI, and 37% expressed concerns over the potential for inaccuracies and errors it might cause.
Still, these professionals could not overlook AI’s potential to enhance operations. One-third (33%) acknowledged that it can increase supply chain efficiency overall, and 27% observed improved accuracy due to AI’s reduction of human error. An additional 20% reported a decrease in operational costs thanks to AI-optimized processes. Our youngest respondents were also optimistic: About half of the supply chain industry’s Gen Z workforce anticipated that AI would foster more job stability in the supply chain realm.
This balance of the benefits and drawbacks that could come with working AI into supply chain processes calls for strategic integration in order to ensure a harmonious transition.
Harmonizing AI Assistance With Human Expertise
Could AI technology and human expertise be partners instead of rivals? Let’s see what supply chain workers have to say about working with this new technology instead of against it.
A striking 75% of supply chain professionals recognized that the symbiosis between AI and human intelligence leads to enhanced outcomes. This wasn’t just theoretical; 63% witnessed a tangible boost in work productivity, and 45% reported an upswing in their career satisfaction. Also, 31% found that AI bolstered their job security, which could help dispel some of the fear that this technology spells doom for human roles.
The key to unlocking AI’s potential in the supply chain likely lies in strategic application. Nearly 60% of professionals said workers could leverage AI to automate repetitive tasks, freeing up time for more complex problem-solving. Many also said it could be helpful when researching (52%) or analyzing datasets (50%). These tech-forward approaches can accelerate supply chain careers as well, with nearly 10% of supply chain professionals having advanced their careers thanks to AI.
If you’re still concerned about how AI might affect the supply chain industry, our next findings might assuage your worries.
Career Growth and Upskilling Prospects
The emergence of AI in the supply chain sector could open new avenues for career growth, especially for professionals interested in continuous learning.
Over 60% of supply chain professionals said AI will create new career opportunities, suggesting a positive shift toward a more tech-integrated future. Nearly 20% have gotten on board by pursuing education or certifications to adapt to using AI and automation at work, underlining a proactive approach to embracing technological advancements.
Recognizing the need for upskilling in an AI-driven environment, many employers are stepping up. Over 30% of supply chain professionals who have been furthering their education received financial support (such as tuition reimbursement) from their employer to promote their upskilling efforts.
Many are likely studying the basics of AI and machine learning, with 40% of our respondents noting this as an area of focus that can help prepare supply chain professionals for AI integration. Data science and analytics were close behind, chosen by 38%, and nearly as many (35%) pointed to cybersecurity awareness.
Beyond formal learning, changing job requirements led nearly half of the professionals we surveyed to believe that staying informed about AI developments will be crucial for remaining competitive in the supply chain job market.
Our Role in the Supply Chain’s AI Revolution
The technological wave of AI in the supply chain sector is not necessarily a harbinger of displacement; more likely, it’s a beacon of professional transformation and growth.
While AI is a cause for concern among some, it’s also a catalyst for efficiency, accuracy, and career development. The key to harnessing its positive potential is to balance AI’s capabilities with human expertise. This balance should evolve as professionals adapt to and integrate AI into their roles.
In essence, the future of supply chain management lies in balancing a blend of technology and human insight. As AI reshapes the industry, professionals who upskill and stay informed will find themselves at the forefront of this revolution. According to the people in these positions today, those who do so will safeguard their roles and pave the way for innovative approaches to supply chain challenges. Our findings highlight the importance of embracing change, fostering learning, and maintaining the human element in a digitally accelerated world.
Zetwerk polled 1,000 supply chain professionals to investigate the impact of AI in supply chain positions, gauging worker perceptions of AI’s effects on job security. The average age of respondents was 36 years. The gender breakdown of respondents was 64% male, 35% female, and 1% non-binary. The generational representation was 6% baby boomers, 19% Gen X, 57% millennials, and 19% Gen Z. Not all percentages total 100 due to rounding.
Zetwerk is a global leader in manufacturing services, specializing in high-quality production with competitive costs and exceptional lead times. We cater to a diverse range of industries, offering unparalleled manufacturing capabilities for both capital and consumer goods, as well as precision parts. Our robust global network ensures reliable and efficient supply chain solutions, making us a preferred partner for businesses worldwide.
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