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Interview: Harmonizing human and artificial intelligence

Philip Vervloesem - April 9, 2020

Reading time: 2 min

Q&A with Philip Vervloesem, SVP OMP USA for Supply Chain Management Review.

Harmonizing human and artifical intelligence

Is it realistic to fully robotize supply chain planning?

"The level of automation in supply chain planning has tremendously increased and I strongly believe that it will continue to do so, both on the demand and supply side. AI technology is used to achieve this. However, a human touch is still essential. You need to automate the regular routine tasks and provide planners with strong analytics so that they can optimize a closed-loop plan. AI also helps to ensure that all planning levels—from the strategic to the operational—are synchronized, carefully balancing the priorities and concerns of all stakeholders, including business, finance and commercial. At OMP, we call that the Unison PlanningTM approach."


How do your customers benefit from AI in managing their global value streams?

"AI is used to achieve vertical and horizontal integration of the supply chain network and full visibility of the global value streams. This takes people out of their silo-based thinking, for example, by showing the locations of the inventory they need. AI allows you to anticipate, sense demand, limit disruptions and maximize value to outsmart the competition. It allows you to see what demand you should cut or push to maximize your profit. This also proves tremendously useful in dealing with major events such as the COVID-19 crisis. There’s an important UX component in this. Unison Planning is not only smart, it deploys AI in such a way that it’s easy for stakeholders to present the outcomes. That’s because they want to show executives which scenario will give the best market share, profit or growth."

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How will this impact the roles of team members?

"Planners will adopt a different mindset, thinking beyond their role as operations or demand planner for example. They will think more globally, better understand the interdependencies of actions, see the impact of decisions through simulations and have a real end-to-end view on it all. Also, company-wide collaboration becomes more important. You need solid cross-functional processes and real team players to be successful. AI-driven planning will help your teams to reach a consensus."

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How does OMP ensure that the technology is optimally used?

"Unison Planning is not only about technology, it’s also about people and about the services we provide. It is no coincidence that advisory and user engagement services are among our fastest growing service areas. Upfront, advisory turns projects in the right direction to maximize value. User engagement includes hands-on coaching to make people smarter and shows them how to be successful."


Philip Vervloesem

Senior Vice President OMP USA


With 22 years’ supply chain digital transformation experience in a whole range of industries, Philip currently leads OMP’s business and market development globally while heading up the company’s US operations. Focusing on vision, strategy, and global community building, Philip has a proven history of boundary stretching and thought leadership in supply chain planning innovation, building new markets, and growing and supporting high-performing teams on both sides of the Atlantic.

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