How Artificial Intelligence Can Help to ERP Software?
When John McCarthy first coined the term AI in 1956, he hadn’t thought in his weirdest dreams that one day, AI would be turning the wheel in every industry. What makes this technology so desirable is its ability to emulate human functions within the blink of an eye. Though AI is still in its nascent stage, its achievements are incredible. From a robotic tea maker serving you a glass-full of aroma rich tea, to processing loan applications much faster than their human counterparts, to sending you personalized web series and movie recommendations in Netflix, to carrying out more accurate medical diagnosis. And just when the list appears to finish, AI has also found an application in ERP systems as well. According to Gartner, by 2020, every software product will be using AI technology.
But how will AI make this shift possible?
Since the advent of ERP systems, businesses have gained access to tons of structured data that was not possible earlier. This helped them to streamline resources, automate tasks, reduce human dependence, and helped different departments work in tandem with each other. But with the emergence of unstructured data, ERP systems will be rendered useless. This is where AI will play an important role as it can transform large sets of unstructured data into meaningful information, actions, and decisions.
AI-Enabled ERP Systems Will Disrupt Customer Service
Customer service is a critical business function. If not handled properly, your customer base will shrink. ERP systems handle the job efficiently. But when coupled with the power of AI, they can do wonders. AI inspects work reports and critically analyzes past calls between service agents and customers. Based on this, it prepares smart solutions that aid service agents while responding to questions. Though it is upon the discretion of the service agent to use the answer partly or wholly, it nonetheless provides massive support. Also, the smart solution database keeps on increasing and getting better with time.
AI-Enabled ERP Systems Will Significantly Improve the Work Management Process
Think of the following case: One of your customers is struggling with multiple service issues at the same time. And different service issues are in different stages of completion. Moreover, every issue is handled by a different department. A normal ERP system may not be of any help in such a scenario. On the other hand, AI-enabled ERP systems can efficiently plan and schedule the work process of service technicians based upon their technical capabilities, availability, and past work history. Owing to its ability to interpret information from multiple systems, it keeps the technicians updated about the current status of all the service issues, and also suggests the required service parts.
AI-Enabled ERP Systems Will Solve Management Issues Easily
ERP systems are good when it comes to handling management issues, but when coupled with AI, there will be a significant improvement in this ability. In the interim of ERPs evolving into AI-enabled Digital Assistants, service technicians can enjoy the liberty of drilling down to the root cause of problem statements for enhanced support and maintenance. DA has a large database that consists of the following:
- Instructions on how to deal with different kinds of maintenance issues
- Details regarding the current and past status of every equipment and also their performance as compared to similar units installed on other sites
- A huge database of evidence-based recommendations that assists technicians to solve issues on site
AI-Enabled ERP Systems Are Capable of Predictive Maintenance
Normal ERP systems work on the principle of ‘Preventative Maintenance’. What this means is that ERP can plan and schedule maintenance work as soon as it detects a malfunctioning in the system.
But it can’t predict the future!
Let us understand this with the help of an example. Suppose you produce motorcycle accessories such as brakes, horns, stands, etc. Suddenly one day, there is a drop in the number of manufactured products. A normal ERP system will note the decrease in the number of products manufactured, search for the problem area, and intimate the system manager about the affected area (In this case, consider that the conveyor belt has an issue).
An AI-enabled ERP system goes a step ahead. It uses the concept of ‘Predictive Maintenance’ to estimate the life of the conveyor belt by analyzing the ‘real-time’ status of its constituents. If the analysis indicates that the motors and pulleys in the conveyor belt are underperforming, it will intimate the systems manager about it. This helps the systems manager to take corrective action even before a real problem is encountered in the conveyor belt, greatly reducing the effect on productivity.