Thyssen Krupp has integrated an artificial intelligence solution (AI) into its materials distribution and service processes. "Alfred" supports his colleagues at Materials Services in dynamically managing the global logistics network with 271 warehouse sites and more than 150,000 products and services.
Essen/Germany — Artificial intelligence is one of the technologies that will make a decisive contribution to competitiveness in materials distribution in the future, Klaus Keysberg is convinced. The CEO of Thyssen Krupp Materials Services summarized the advantages of the company's new AI "Alfred", which he describes as an important step towards making processes more efficient. In the medium term, this holistic approach is also supposed to open up new business opportunities.
"Alfred" is based on Microsoft's cloud platform Azure and will help to optimize transport routes and thus save the transport of thousands of tons of material per year. In addition, materials will be available more quickly at the right locations in the future. In the medium term, Materials Services will be able to make all processes along the supply chain more flexible, for example, in order to better take into account specific customer requirements for delivery speed, pricing or material quality.
Using Big Data Systematically
With the AI, the approximately 14 million order items received annually by Materials Services can be processed and analyzed more efficiently. For the first time, the materials experts are also bringing all company data together on a single platform. Using self-learning algorithms based on Microsoft Azure Machine Learning, Alfred analyzes all relevant information, generates important findings and supports employees with appropriate recommendations: Which materials have to be assigned to which industry? Where are materials processed? What would be the most intelligent transport route to supply the customers with materials in the best possible way? What are the needs of the individual locations?
The Focus Is on Customer Benefit
At Materials Services, the digital transformation is aligned along the value chain and placed at the service of customer benefit, the company announced. To this end, digitalization concepts are consistently integrated, reaching from procurement through warehousing and logistics to sales. This includes a cloud platform the area of procurement and networking internal machinery with the self-developed IIoT platform toii. In sales, customers have access to 150,000 products and services at 271 warehouse sites in the world's largest virtual materials warehouse. Alfred is to function as a link between all these areas, and to ensure continuous optimization of speed and service quality through intelligent data processing with corresponding recommendations.
Lifelong learning with Microsoft
In the company's own Digital Transformation Office in Essen, all strands of digitalization flow together. Here, integrated teams of IT experts, engineers and business coordinators work under the direction of Axel Berger on various digitalization projects that arise directly from the core business of Materials Services — including Alfred. The materials experts were supported by Microsoft and its global cloud platform Azure. "Joining forces with Microsoft allows us to use advanced technologies for our in-house developments. 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," says Axel Berger.