SAP’s AI Joule set to Transform Supply Chain Manufacturing

SAP has shown off its AI assistant at this years Hannover Messe, supply chain manufacturer SMA Solar Technology reports positive results

SAP, a manufacturing giant and global leader in enterprise applications and business AI, made major announcements about its supply chain solutions at this year's Hannover Messe.

The biggest was the company’s development of a natural-planet, AI copilot that will be an integrated part of its enterprise software tools.

The AI is called Joule, and here’s how it’s set to benefit manufacturers going forward.

The Key AI Improvements To Sap’s Supply Chain Solutions
  • Using AI-driven insights to optimise supply chain decision-making: Joule allows companies to integrate AI-driven visual inspection into their production process and leverage higher volumes of machine data, using automation to increase quality.
  • Streamlining product development: Joule can gather and enhance new product ideas quickly and effectively with its natural language query feature. The AI copilot also tags product designs with business data, to visually contextualise important business information.
  • Detecting equipment anomalies: Asset operators can use Joule to proactively address issues based on sensor data collected from edge gateways and smart devices. This feature utilises Software AG’s cutting-edge Cumulocity IoT platform, which SAP plans to embed in its Asset Performance Management application in Q3.
  • Improving field response: Customers can efficiently allocate job assignments and optimise driving routes with machine-learning-trained models and integrated real-time traffic data. All these elements allow the right field service technicians to reach their destinations on time.

Companies implementing SAP’s solutions like Joule are reporting substantial benefits. SMA Solar Technology AG has reported a 10% decrease in overall supply chain planning costs, a 15% increase in supply chain workforce productivity and a 10% reduction in inventory carrying costs and stock turnover rate. According to SMA Solar's Head of IT, the company has utilised SAP’s AI-enabled visual inspection to support sustainable, risk-resilient manufacturing operations.

Christian Klein

“At SAP, we infuse Business AI across our portfolio," says SAP CEO Christian Klein.

“First of all, Joule will be our new user experience via natural language, our one front end. We have based our Joule roadmap on an analysis of the most frequent business and analytical transactions of our end users. This way, we make sure that the most heavily used transactions will be fully AI-enabled by the end of this year.” 

Joule’s focus on language will make it a universal tool - for manufacturers and companies in all other sectors - adds Christian: “No matter if you do work on travel, on finance, on supply chain, on procurement, it will all happen via human language, and that is included in our premium AI offering, which is consumption-based.” 

This announcement comes during rampant AI investment in the manufacturing field. 52% of operations executives and 63% of supply chain executives have an AI strategy linked to business objectives, according to a global 2024 IDC InfoBrief.

The survey of 2,000 manufacturers revealed that over half were actively embedding AI into supply chain business processes. Results showed that 58% of executives use AI to increase employee productivity and operational efficiency. 

Mitigating the impact supply-chain disruptions have on global disruptors, suppliers and manufacturers is paramount. SAP’s solutions intimately understand the unique cybersecurity challenges supply chain operations face, providing real-time, highly accurate information to manage risk. AI tools like Joule intend to enable better decision-making across supply chains, improve manufacturing efficiency and streamline product development. 


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