I am reading this absolutely fascinating book “Deep Thinking: Where machine intelligence ends and human creativity begins” by Garry Kasparov, former world chess champion. As the title suggests, in this book Kasparov shares a highly provocative point of view on artificial intelligence and its implications for the human race, with the backdrop of his 1997 loss in a highly publicized chess match up against IBM’s chess computer Deep Blue. The book did make me reflect on my own experiences and views on the division of labor between the machines and human supply chain planners.
Much has been written and said about how machine intelligence is impacting supply chain planning in the form of automating a human planner’s function, with implications on the future of the profession itself. I would be remiss in stating that automation will have no impact on planning profession. Yes! The focus on automation in planning is increasing and will continue to increase. However, this has to take place in the context of empowering planners and significantly augmenting their productivity to handle activities with larger scope and with higher levels of cognition that can drive strategic value for business.
When done in a thoughtful and deliberate manner, automation initiatives can significantly benefit planners who are willing to adapt and change, and organizations as a whole.
I come across many organizations that made extensive investments in advanced planning technologies with the intent of bringing more automation and standardization into their planning process. However, the tragic reality is that most of these deployments languish, only to see the planners bypass these systems to revert back to their excel spreadsheets and manual means of planning.