I interviewed Haytham Omar who discussed Supply Chain Decision Making and Artificial Intelligence.
Can you first provide a brief background of yourself?
Thank you. It's a pleasure to talk with you, Dustin. I'm Haytham Omar. I'm currently a lecturer of logistics and supply chain management in the American University in the Emirates, located in Dubai. I am interested in, of course, supply chain because I teach it. But now I am exploring also the field of data science and artificial intelligence, and I'm trying to bring those worlds together. And I have also a good background in procurement because I was working in a procurement department before, in the petro-chemical industry. So you can see I have a good background in logistics and supply chain overall. Not as senior as you'd expect, yet we all learn, and we grow up learning every day.
Supply chain decision making is the making of decisions whether it's replenishment decisions or assembly decisions or transportation decisions in the flow of your supply chain. And these decisions, we face them every day. So the traditional way of doing this kind of things was by planning, forecasting, spreadsheets, having brainstorming meetings with the managers, let's say. But now with the evolution of the Internet of Things and sensors being everywhere, used in our material flow especially in parcels, the packages, also in the warehouses... This has been lots more of data, big data, this has given us more data that we can get.
These insights now can help in making better decisions with regards to supply chain decisions — the decision I was talking about. The replenishment, the manufacturing, the production, warehouse space. All of those are supply chain decisions. So [inaudible 00:02:30] has a bigger impact to come with a relevance to better decision making in our supply chain.
How is it done effectively?
Now our business systems, I think, everybody all the companies. We have many types of ERP systems. We have the in-house systems. We have the customized ones. And we have the best-player system that you get a full ERP system to your company. And also, we have the cloud ERP systems. And I think this is growing exponentially now. All of the companies are putting data in the cloud or they share within the enterprise.
So this has been more opportunity to gain insights from data and [inaudible 00:03:35] in a single location but across the company as a whole. So by [inaudible 00:03:41] from this data and analyzing it, this will enable more effective decision making in the supply chain. And this is part of what I'm trying to do in my research and when I'm working with companies — trying to enable to use of machine learning, data intelligence and Internet of Things in supply chain decisions.
Do you have any final recommendations?
Well, my final recommendation is enabling the learning of big data and machine learning for supply chain employees in companies, because the normal way of doing things is for collaborating with the employees and having collaborative decision making. This is excellent. This is the best to do. I agree.
But now we have an added value. We have an extra opportunity to add artificial intelligence into the game. So my recommendation is to enable the employees that work in supply chain to have more awareness and technical expertise in artificial intelligence and big data. I think that this, in the long run, will have a more effective approach to our supply chain performance.
About Haytham Omar
Supply chain & Business Intelligence