Finally… We Have Deployed!
May 17, 2021
Along with my colleagues, we have come to the end of a chapter. Over the last number of months, we dove into the subset of Artificial Intelligence, machine learning (ML) with a focus on supply chain. This exciting technological solution which surrounds us in our everyday personal and business lives helps us solve a wide range of problems or create opportunities!
With the patience and support of our facilitators we learned about ML, the process, the operating system and finally applying our knowledge to a business project. The business project not only enables us to build and deploy predictive models, it worked towards solving a business challenge.
The business opportunity I decided to address was to utilize machine learning to classify our stand alone P-card spend report to the organization enterprise taxonomy system (material code). This would provide benefits to the supply chain department to fully utilized the P-card report when conducting spend analysis, detect maverick/off contract spending, find future contract opportunities and/or detect potential fraudulent transactions.
“If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it.” Albert Einstein
With the two unrelated data set files, we spent a majority of our time gaining insights and connecting the files along with data wrangling.
One of our first tasks was to add logic that would assist in the training of the ML operating system. Having good data is key to successfully deploying the machine learning models. We completed several data wrangling functions (e.g. data cleansing of non-words, missing data, etc.) to remove the noise.
In total, we created and deployed three models to classify the data each time training the machine learning operating system with additional logic. With the third model, the system was able to classify over 72% of the data to the organization’s enterprise taxonomy material coding. The remaining 28% of the data creates an opportunity to conduct additional efficiencies to the data that will allow the next model to classify more P-card transactions.
Other supply chain business challenges that were tackled by my classmates ranged from classifying an organization purchases to the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) to addressing the empty miles that the transportation industry incurs.
Early in my career, I came across a quote from the former Hewlett Packard’s President and CEO Carly Fiorina “the goal is to turn data into information and information into insight.” To me, that is one of the benefits of utilizing machine learning as it uses the data to create information that provides insights. It’s these insights that will assist supply chain professionals to make better decisions in solving business problems we encounter on a daily basis.
Throughout the course, we were asked to rate our confidence noting that we all started from zero. Like any new skill, the more you practice, the more you open your mind to learning the stated subject, the more confidence you will build.
I would like to leave everyone with these thoughts: Challenge yourselves to embrace technology and to add tools to your toolbox. You’ll not only grow as a supply chain professional, but you’ll continue to enhance the customer experience and bring value to your organization.
PETER’S CONFIDENCE METER
Peter Buscemi brings energy in his role with Manitoba Hydro’s Supply Chain Management Strategic Sourcing group.
With over 25 years of business experience specializing in supply chain management, Peter has worked in a number of industries including Utilities, Public Sector, Retail, Distribution & Warehousing, Technology and Aerospace.
His past directorships include serving on Supply Chain Management Association’s (SCMA) Board of Directors along with local contributions with Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and YES Winnipeg.
Peter holds a Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP) designation and in 2015, he received the Fellow Award from the Supply Chain Management Association for his career achievements, contribution to the association and service to the community. It is the highest honour bestowed by SCMA.
Peter is actively involved in the community supporting the Kidney Foundation as a Board member. During his downtime, he enjoys cooking, gardening and time with his family.