Tuesday April 29, 2020 – 12:15-13:45pm – online

Artificial Intelligence in Supply Chain Management: A review and synthesis

Dr. Alexandra Brintrup, Cambridge University


Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its impact on Supply Chains has become a popular topic of discussion prone to hype, hope and fear, with recent studies proposing purchasing managers being at significant risk of losing their jobs due to automation. In industries where purchasing costs can amount to over 50% of total costs automation can become a key contributor to profit margins, making it an attractive option. However, there is a distinct lack of conceptual frameworks with which to categorise and review how various sub-topics of AI can help in various sub-fields of Supply Chain Management (SCM). To address this gap, this talk will conceptualise the new topic of “Supply Chain AI” through a human-mimicking Intelligent Agent that exhibits “smart” Supply Chain behaviour. We will then develop a number of SC AI capability blocks for the Intelligent Agent, and sythesise studies to date within these capability blocks, giving case examples from a number of industrial studies conducted by the speaker. We will then conclude by highlighting a number of extant challenges reported in literature that need to be tackled to move this exciting new field forward.

Relevant References:

Brintrup, A., Pak, J., Ratiney, D., Pearce, T., Wichmann, P., Woodall, P. and McFarlane, D., (2020). Supply chain data analytics for predicting supplier disruptions: a case study in complex asset manufacturing. International Journal of Production Research58(11), pp.3330-3341.

Brintrup, A., Wichmann, P., Woodall, P., McFarlane, D., Nicks, E. and Krechel, W., (2018). Predicting hidden links in Supply Networks. Complexity2018.

Wichmann, P., Brintrup, A., Baker, S., Woodall, P. and McFarlane, D., (2020). Extracting supply chain maps from news articles using deep neural networks. International Journal of Production Research58(17), pp.5320-5336.

Brintrup, A. (2020), Artificial Intelligence in the Supply Chain. In The Oxford Handbook of Supply Chain Management, Edited by Thomas Y. Choi, Julie Juan Li, Dale S. Rogers, Tobias Schoenherr, and Stephan M. Wagner

Brintrup, A., Ledwoch, A. and Barros, J., (2016). Topological robustness of the global automotive industry. Logistics Research9(1), p.1.

Brintrup, A., McFarlane, D., Ranasinghe, D., Lopez, T.S. and Owens, K., (2011). Will intelligent assets take off? Toward self-serving aircraft. IEEE Intelligent Systems26(03), pp.66-75.


BIO Dr. Alexandra Brintrup

Dr. Alexandra Brintrup is leading the Manufacturing Analytics Research group at Cambridge University. Alexandra’ research interests include:

  • Development of automated and scalable optimisation and distributed decision making technologies, particularly with nature-inspired algorithms and Multi-agent Systems
  • Predictive Data Analytics, especially for predicting and handling uncertainty in supply chains and other emergent manufacturing systems
  • Identification of emergent patterns in industrial systems, particularly in relation to robustness, resilience and quality outcomes