SAP unveils AI supply-chain tech at Hannover Messe

  • April 23, 2024
  • Steve Rogerson

At this week’s Hannover Messe in Germany, SAP unveiled AI-driven supply-chain innovations to transform manufacturing.

SAP announced AI advancements in its supply-chain technology that it believes will unleash a transformative wave of productivity, efficiency and precision in manufacturing. AI-driven insights from real-time data should help companies use their own data to make better decisions across supply chains, streamline product development and improve manufacturing efficiency.

“Businesses today are confronted with challenges ranging from supply-chain disruptions and labour shortages to geopolitical uncertainties,” said Muhammad Alam, SAP executive board member. “SAP recognises the imperative for agility and intelligence, driving innovation with AI to streamline supply chains and manufacturing processes. Companies can enhance operational efficiency and improve supply-chain resiliency while delighting customers with superior service, paving the way for sustained growth and market competitiveness.”

Accurate and relevant real-time information helps mitigate the impact supply-chain disruptions have on suppliers, manufacturers and distributors worldwide. SMA Solar Technology ( and other users have already witnessed the benefits of SAP’s technology, including an approximately 15% increase in supply-chain workforce productivity, a 10% decrease in overall supply-chain planning costs and a 10% reduction in inventory carrying costs and stock turnover rate.

“SMA Solar modernises its manufacturing execution systems to support sustainable, risk-resilient manufacturing operations with the power of AI-enabled visual inspection in SAP’s digital manufacturing,” said Heiko Kehm from SMA Solar.

Sixty-three percent of supply chain executives and 52% of operations executives have an AI strategy linked to business objectives, according to IDC. Fifty-one percent of the 2000 survey respondents are embedding AI into supply-chain planning business processes and key applications for real-time decision-making. Another 58% are using AI to increase operational efficiency and employee productivity.

Improvements to SAP’s supply-chain technology to support an AI-centric strategy include:

  • Optimising decisions across the supply chain with AI-driven insights: Companies can leverage higher volumes of machine data and integrate AI-driven visual inspection by computer into their production processes, enabling an increase in quality through automation.
  • Streamlining product development: Product developers can use SAP’s AI co-pilot Joule to gather and enhance product ideas quickly and effectively using natural language queries. Joule also helps tag product designs with business data, so they visually contextualise business-critical information.
  • Detecting equipment anomalies: Using AI, asset operators can proactively address potential breakdowns based on sensor data collected from smart devices and edge gateways. This capacity uses the Cumulocity IoT platform from Software AG (, which is planned to be embedded in the SAP asset performance management application later this year.
  • Improving field response: Users can optimise driving routes and allocate job assignments efficiently with integrated real-time traffic data and machine-learning-trained models, which enable the right field service technicians to reach their destinations on time.

For more than 50 years, organisations have used SAP ( to unite business-critical operations spanning finance, procurement, HR, supply chain and customer experience.