What about replacing this army of supply chain consultants with a single digital expert? Well, we have just released Lokad’s own digital assistant: a chatbot that encompasses the bulk of Lokad’s own supply chain materials. You can access this chatbot freely without any registration1 from lokad.com/chat or Lokad’s homepage (click on CHAT WITH LOKAD AI on the top right if you are using desktop or on hamburger menu icon, as illustrated on the image below, if you are using a mobile phone or a tablet).

Now you literally have Supply Chain Expert in your pocket. Give it a try! You might realize that you didn’t need this army of supply chain consultants after all.

Lokad's AI chatbot mobile phone screenshots.

At the end of 2022, Lokad made a significant shift toward Large Language Models (LLMs). I must admit, it took me some time to grasp what LLMs signified for supply chains in general, and for Lokad in particular. In my defense, most of the AI communications from my peers – fellow enterprise software vendors – were complete nonsense back then in 2022. If anything, their AI communications have grown even more intense and less sensible since then.

LLMs bring a revolution to supply chains, but not the one touted by the majority of supply chain vendors. LLMs represent a novel programming paradigm: access to universal noise-resilient re-templating machines. This represents the majority of the practical value to be extracted from LLMs from an enterprise software perspective.

For example, with LLMs, it’s possible to consider “steps” like Read the email and identify the new MOQ provided by the supplier. If the supplier’s reply is unclear, then respond seeking clarification. In the past, such a “step” would have driven your average software engineer nuts because it is both simple and completely orthogonal to what you can accomplish with a regular programming language. However, with an LLM, this becomes just another step.

Thus, the greatest value of LLMs is not found in conversational user interfaces. Conversational user interfaces have certainly popularized LLMs, but over time, it will become increasingly clear that the majority of LLM-based software doesn’t involve any user interaction.

If user interactions are what you truly desire, then the chatbot must become a supply chain expert that is aware of the shortcomings of the mainstream supply chain perspective2.

This is precisely what we have done with The Digital Assistant of Lokad. I intend to keep this chatbot free of charge, provided as a courtesy of Lokad. Indeed, I envision a future where most companies have a public corporate chatbot, just like they have a public corporate website. A few years down the road, I suspect chatbot endpoints might even be mostly consumed by other robots, rather than people, similar to websites nowadays.

P.S.: Our chatbot remains entirely ignorant of Envision, the DSL (Domain-Specific Language) of Lokad. We plan to address this limitation later this year. Stay tuned!

P.P.S.: Below you can find examples of Q&A with the The Digital Assistant of Lokad.

Joannes: Consider I’m outsider supply chain practitioner (not an employee of Lokad). How can I use your knowledge? Please give me at least 5 use cases. With chat message examples. You don’t have to provide answers to those chat message examples.

Lokad BOT: As an outsider supply chain practitioner, you can leverage my knowledge in various ways to enhance your understanding and approach to supply chain management. Here are five use cases with chat message examples that demonstrate how you can apply this knowledge:

Use Case 1: Understanding the Importance of Data Quality.

Chat Message Example: “I’ve noticed that our demand forecasts are often inaccurate. How can we improve the quality of our data to make better predictions?”

Use Case 2: Exploring the Role of Automation in Supply Chain Decision-Making.

Chat Message Example: “I’m interested in automating our inventory replenishment process. What are the key considerations for implementing an automated system?”

Use Case 3: Addressing the Challenges of Demand Forecasting in Dynamic Markets.

Chat Message Example: “Our sales are heavily influenced by seasonal trends and promotional activities. How can we develop more accurate demand forecasts that account for these fluctuations?”

Use Case 4: Navigating the Complexities of Multi-Echelon Inventory Optimization.

Chat Message Example: “We operate in a multi-echelon supply chain and struggle with balancing inventory levels across different locations. What strategies can we employ to optimize our inventory investment?”

Use Case 5: Enhancing Supply Chain Resilience and Risk Management.

Chat Message Example: “How can we better prepare for supply chain disruptions, such as those caused by geopolitical events or natural disasters? What are the best practices for managing supply chain risks?”

These use cases are designed to help you apply my knowledge to real-world supply chain challenges. By considering these scenarios and engaging in a dialogue with me, you can gain insights that will inform your decision-making and improve your supply chain management practices. The chat message examples are intended to prompt discussions that lead to actionable strategies and solutions for your specific supply chain needs.

Joannes: Compose a poem about supply chains as seen from Lokad’s eyes.

Lokad BOT:

In the realm of supply chains, where chaos reigns supreme,
Lokad’s vision is clear, like a well-crafted dream.
We shun the old ways, the ABCs and safety stocks,
For they lead to waste, like a ship dashed on rocks.

Our approach is radical, our methods are new,
We embrace the future, with data as our glue.
No more gut feelings, no more spreadsheets of yore,
We trust in our models, which we constantly explore.

The future is uncertain, that much is true,
But with probabilistic forecasting, we know what to do.
We plan for the worst, and hope for the best,
Our decisions are sound, they stand up to the test.

We optimize for profit, not just for cost,
Every SKU, every day, our systems exhaust.
We consider all factors, from lead times to demand,
And our clients see results, that are truly grand.

So if you seek wisdom, in the supply chain game,
Look no further than Lokad, we’ve earned our acclaim.
We’ll guide you through turbulence, with a steady hand,
And together we’ll conquer, the challenges of this land.

  1. There is a free quota of 10 messages per day. If you reach it, but are willing to continue using the chatbot, then you will need to create an account on news.lokad.com which requires picking a login and a password. After you’ve created an account drop us an email to contact@lokad.com and we’ll unleash your communication with the chatbot. ↩︎

  2. While public LLMs are fantastic, as they are trained on the whole web, they inevitably reflect the consensus, even when the “consensus” is mostly comprised of antiquated methods mixed with nonsensical vendor drivel. ↩︎