WHU General

WHU contributes to optimization of supply chains with AI research

"With the SPAICER project, we want to enable companies to proactively react to unexpected crises."

The SPAICER project, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy with more than ten million euros, is entering its first phase. WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management, with its focus on business and the economy, is strengthening the project on the use of artificial intelligence in industry.

The SPAICER project, which stands for "scalable adaptive production systems through AI-based resilience optimization", was launched in April 2020, and it investigates how companies can use artificial intelligence to better respond to disruptions in production and supply chains. For a medium-sized company, disruptions such as a delivery failure by a supplier or a production downtime can cause costs of up to 500,000 euros per hour. The project aims to develop a platform that uses technologies based on artificial intelligence to report such sources of error and to adapt and optimize supply chain management. The concept has already proven its worth in the innovation competition "Artificial Intelligence as a driver for economically relevant ecosystems" of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and will be funded with more than ten million euros until March 2023.

"Not only in times of crises such as Corona, is the project relevant and prevailing. Even before Corona, research into AI technology and industry 4.0 was an important topic of our work at the chair," assures Professor Dr. Stefan Spinler, Professor and Chairholder of the Endowed Chair for Logistics Management of the Kühne Foundation at WHU. "With the SPAICER project, we want to enable companies to proactively react to unexpected crises through anticipatory resilience management." Spinler describes resilience as the ability to avoid a total failure in the event of external or internal disruptions and, for example, to maintain essential system processes in the value chain.

WHU contributes findings from its research work in the area of supply chain management. It analyzes the entire supply chain, from raw materials to the product, and in turn, the respective players such as suppliers, production companies, logistics service providers, and end customers. In doing so, the business school makes use of its network of companies and the orientation of its research towards practical applications, which already have a long tradition. The aim is always to relate academic findings to real-world applications.

The project's objective is to strengthen the German economy vis-a-vis international competition with the help of AI technology. In addition to WHU, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) of RWTH Aachen University, Saarland University, University of Freiburg, Technical University of Darmstadt, and the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management at RWTH Aachen University are participating as scientific partners. Industry partners include deZem, Feintool, SAP, SCHOTT, SCHAEFFLER, SEITEC, SENSEERING, and Waelzholz, as well as more than 40 other partners.

Read more about the SPAICER project