Artificial intelligence (AI) is already making its way into the supply chain. If you missed the launch, then it’s time to track the trajectory of AI’s impact from managing initial demand to final-mile delivery.

So, where does AI fit in today’s supply chain?

Only six short years ago, the trade association MHI published a supply chain roadmap looking out to 2030. In that, AI and several other emerging technologies were discussed. They were also treated as if they were silos. Even curiosities. And to say the least, all were considered a long way from migrating into real-life supply chain applications.

Well, the world moves at a much faster pace. AI has already worked its way into several aspects of the supply chain. Each of the stories that follow are examples of that. Interestingly enough, at least a couple of them were live before that supply chain roadmap was written.

Applications here include last-mile and on-demand delivery, on-demand manufacturing, demand forecasting and document processing. That’s a fairly wide dispersion of applications. What they all have in common is that AI makes them better than what humans can do. In some cases, humans don’t stand a chance at doing—at any pace or degree of accuracy—what AI can do. The more complex the task, the better the AI fit. It is all about taking mammoth mounds of data, finding patterns that matter, and translating that information into actionable to-dos that improve, in these cases, the supply chain.

This is a good time to remind ourselves that AI, for all of its grand accomplishments and outrageous hype, is still an emerging technology that is finding its place. The following five stories will give you some insight into the trajectory of AI in the supply chain. Each speaks for itself.