thyssenkrupp creates Azure-based AI bot to optimise supply chain

thyssenkrupp creates Azure-based AI bot to optimise supply chain
‘alfred’ will support his colleagues by managing logistics and improving the customer experience

Elly Yates-Roberts |

thyssenkrupp Materials Services, parented by German industrial group thyssenkrupp, has created a Microsoft Azure-based artificial intelligence (AI) bot. ‘alfred’ will support his colleagues by managing the global logistics network with 271 warehouse sites and improving the customer experience. 

‘alfred’ is currently helping to optimise transport routes, making materials more readily available at the right locations. thyssenkrupp Materials Services will be able to make all processes along the supply chain more flexible, for example by more effectively considering specific customer requirements for delivery speed, pricing or material quality.

“AI is one of the technologies that will make a decisive contribution to competitiveness in materials distribution in the future,” said Klaus Keysberg, CEO of thyssenkrupp Materials Services. “With ‘alfred’ we are taking an important step towards making our processes even more efficient and optimising our value chain. At the same time, he gives us better insight into our customers' needs so that we can align our offerings accordingly. In the medium term, this holistic approach will also open up new business opportunities for us.”

Using AI, thyssenkrupp Materials Services can process and analyse the 14 million order items it receives each year much more efficiently. Using self-learning algorithms based on Microsoft Azure Machine Learning, ‘alfred’ studies all relevant information, generates insights and supports employees with appropriate recommendations, such as ‘What would be the most intelligent transport route to supply the customers with materials in the best possible way?’

“Joining forces with Microsoft allows us to use advanced technologies for our in-house developments,” says Berger. “This enables us to ensure that the projects are very closely linked to our core business on the one hand and that they are technologically state-of-the-art on the other.”

‘alfred’ works in tandem with the firm’s self-devleoped industrial internet of things platform ‘toii’, ensuring continuous enhancements in the speed and service quality through intelligent data processing.

“At this point in history, manufacturers need to become digital companies to lead in their industries,” said Çağlayan Arkan, global lead of Manufacturing and Resources at Microsoft.  “thyssenkrupp Materials Services is not only adapting digital technologies, it is building its own digital capabilities and portfolio to elevate its logistics business with AI services to the next level. It unlocks new business opportunities by merging its industry know-how with the core of AI: large volumes of relevant data as well as strong machine learning methods and algorithms.”

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