AI has been used to improve supply chain and demand forecasting for a couple of decades. Demand planning applications use data driven algorithms to take historical data and use it to forecast. Demand forecasting can include promotion planning or stock and sales forecasting. The machine looks at the forecast, compares it to actual shipments, and suggests alternatives and optimization options. Over time, many companies started doing more specific forecasting for specific regions, products or stores or for more granular points in time. Both retailers and their suppliers (CPG companies or 3rd party shipping and supply chain companies) use their data to help conduct automated decision making within the supply chain.
Smart factory technology allows factory sensors to communicate with each other, with employee mobile devices, and with management's software platform. This enables employees to monitor equipment 24/7 and receive immediate alerts whenever there is a problem. The technology also enables the equipment itself to automatically adjust operations in order to keep the factory running smoothly.