thyssenkrupp Materials Services continues to drive digital transformation: Since early 2019 an artificial intelligence solution (AI), supported by Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure, has been integrated into the processes of the largest materials distribution and service provider in the Western world. "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. As with his namesake – Alfred Krupp – all information comes together at alfred. As a first step, alfred 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.
Klaus Keysberg, CEO of thyssenkrupp Materials Services, summarizes alfred’s strengths: "Artificial intelligence is one of the technologies that will make a decisive contribution to competitiveness in materials distribution in the future. With alfred we are taking an important step towards making our processes even more efficient and optimizing 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 Big Data systematically
With the AI, the approximately 14 million order items received annually by Materials Services can be processed and analyzed much 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 intention is very clear: With alfred we are improving our own processes so that we can serve our customers all over the world more efficiently," says Axel Berger, Head of Digital Transformation Office at Materials Services.