Revolutionizing Renault: AI's Impact on Supply Chain Efficiency

Use Cases & Projects, Scaling AI Guillaume Trecan

This blog post is a translation of Republik Supply’s article, “L’intelligence artificielle irrigue les décisions de la supply chain de Renault.”

The Renault Group is building a platform with Dataiku that will enable AI solutions to be developed faster and more simply, in order to democratize the use of AI in the supply chain and maximize its benefits. Ludovic Doudard, General Manager Process Engineering Supply Chain at Renault, outlines these initiatives in this blog post.

After deploying its digital roadmap, Renault is beginning to put into practice, use case after use case, its desire to achieve "decision intelligence," i.e., to make more decisions, faster and with greater precision. At a presentation given by AI specialist Dataiku in March, Ludovic Doudard, General Manager Process Engineering Supply Chain at Renault, gave an idea of what this could mean for the company: Renault Group's supply chain aims to generate 45 million euros in digital value thanks to 25 projects aimed at developing AI tools. The Dataiku platform will enable the rapid deployment of some of these projects, which will contribute up to 10 million euros.

1/3 of the Supply Chain Dedicated to Processes and Digital Technology

The group has not hesitated to invest in order to obtain this value. One third of the supply chain workforce is made up of process and digital managers. 

We have a very strong digital and process function within the supply chain department to act as a link between Operations and IT. We're in the middle.

- Chief Data Scientist at a financial services organization, Forrester Total Economic Impact Study

Christian Serrano, Head of Data and AI Supply Chain, Renault, is in charge of the AI@SCALE project for the supply chain domain and works with a team of around fifteen people. 

We also have a training program aimed at integrating everyone into AI to facilitate change management.

— Christian Serrano, Head of Data and AI Supply Chain, Renault

The AI@SCALE initiative, launched in January 2024, consists in operations research, machine learning, and Generative AI projects. The program also includes the recently concluded partnership with the Cermics laboratory at Ecole des Ponts Paris Tech. Following four months of work with Dataiku, Renault's supply chain department will benefit from an AI platform that will accelerate the creation of multiple ready-to-use business applications.

Christian Serrano sums up the benefits of Dataiku: "Facilitate change management and accelerate the time-to-market of our AI projects." Five use cases are currently under development, including a transport route optimization use case. 

We had identified several barriers to scaling AI: a mathematical barrier, which we are trying to overcome thanks to our partnership with Cermics, and a change management barrier. Creating an atmosphere of trust and getting operations on board, requires easy-to-use platforms on which everyone can collaborate, and which remove the black-box effect.

— Ludovic Doudard, General Manager Process Engineering Supply Chain, Renault


A Data Lake: The Foundation for the Development of Digital Applications

Renault's supply chain's path to digitalization dates back to 2017, with the creation of a data lake into which 100% of the supply chain's data has been poured between 2018 and 2021. During this period, 10% of the IT budget was dedicated to data structuring.

This is an area in which the supply chain department potentially has a head start: "In the supply chain department, while we have digitized and structured our processes well, our data depends on information systems, it is thus naturally structured," notes Ludovic Doudard.

With this solid foundation, the supply chain department has been able to develop a control tower connected to partners such as Shippeo, which today enables it to control the supply of its factories with great precision. Thanks to this inbound control tower, Renault can know at any time the current status of the trucks supplying its factories. This is a vital asset considering that, when a truck arrives at a factory, there are at best two hours of stock left. Drawing on its data lake, Ludovic Doudard's team was able to develop a large number of POCs for 2022.

S&OP Overhaul Underway

This digital roadmap also includes a complete overhaul of its S&OP, imposed by tensions in the supply chain. 

The components crisis requires us to have an S&OP depth of 24 months, which is at least twice as long as before the crisis.

— Ludovic Doudard, General Manager Process Engineering Supply Chain, Renault

The supply chain's need for precision and responsiveness took on a dimension unprecedented in the automotive industry and called for a new mindset, illustrated by the repositioning of supply chain management in 2023. 

The new end-to-end supply chain organization reflects Renault's determination to reposition the supply chain at the level of the group's leadership team, and to make it a strategic axis of its digitalization.

— Ludovic Doudard, General Manager Process Engineering Supply Chain, Renault

Whereas the supply chain used to be just one component of the industry, it now interacts with all the group's key players: vehicle development, industrialization, sales, and after-sales.

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