Skip to content
Warehouse worker using tablet near a number of packed boxes
RouteiqueDec 11, 2023 5:52:29 PM4 min read

Automated Decision Support and Decision Making at a Distance With Supply Chain Technology

What Are Automated Decision-Making and Automated Decision Support, and How Is Routeique Providing Them?

In our interview series on our Warehouse Optimization Project, our CEO and Co-Founder Mike Allan noted, “We're really in service of one thing, which is decision making and decision support autonomously at scale at a distance.”

In this blog post, we’ll unpack some of the ways that AI/ML projects can help do just that through automated decision support and automated decision-making.

Need background on the project? Check out the project overview here


  • The difference between automated decision support and automated decision-making.

  • How both of these types of supply chain solutions can help teams by enabling human workers to reallocate their efforts towards other tasks, such as business strategy and customer care. 



Automated Decision Support

Mike explains that automated decision support analyzes data or provides options, but ultimately leaves the final call up to the human worker. This often looks like, “...[the solution] gathered all the information, and [the solution] assessed all the options. Here are ten options. [It] recommended these one or two. But of course, you know, as a human, you're going to need to have the final say and you're going to need to put your stamp on this.”


Automated Decision Making

Automated decision-making is when the supply chain solution is able to choose the best course of action entirely on its own. An example in the supply chain space might be the system automatically placing an order when product runs low, and basing the amount on past seasonality data. 

Mike points out that by adding automated decision-making into the mix, businesses can ensure they’re running well 24/7, saving human teams time and allowing them to reallocate their efforts towards other things: “They just want to be able to put the day-to-day processes on autopilot, go to sleep, and have the network run as efficiently as possible without human intervention and save the humans for the things that humans do well.” Watch the clip below to learn more!




Powering Decisions at Scale, at a Distance

While our main project sponsor was Big Rock Brewing, we also had roughly a dozen other customers directly or indirectly participating in the results. We have always had a strong focus on customer interaction. This includes listening to customers when they tell us what they would like to see, and how they would like things to evolve. 

Mike described the significant demand for both automated decision support and automated decision making that our solution will aim to meet:
"One of the customers at the beginning of the project had said to me, you know, I wake up in the morning and Routeique tells me, do these ten things, and you're going to have a great month next month. I absolutely love that. 

My vision, my dream would be I wake up in the morning and in a year from now, and [the solution] actually says, I've taken the liberty of doing these ten things, and you're going to have a great month.”

This is why, throughout the Scale AI project, our team has often asked questions like, “Can we have that shoemaker's elves kind of approach where you wake up in the morning, and this work is done for you? I've taken the liberty of improving this, making sure this didn't happen, and mitigating this risk. If we can't do that in every case, how close can we get to that? How close can we get to automated decision-making and, if not, automated decision support?”

Find out more about why our solutions are particularly timely in this blog from our archive.


Benefits in the Warehouse and Beyond

As we’ve touched on in past blogs, the Warehouse Optimization project will harness AI and ML to optimize demand forecasting, slotting, and space use significantly. But, the broad benefits can’t be understated either. 

Mike notes, “The biggest benefit goes to customers who really see the value in crushing the inefficiencies out of their network and moving stock as quickly as possible through the system.” 

This includes those who sell:

  • Fast-turning products
  • Code-dated products
  • Fragile products

This is because demand forecasting and effective warehouse management solutions ensure the most efficient movement of goods from where they originate to where they get consumed. 

Reduce Waste
Efficient movement from point A to point B can cut down on expired and wasted products. With many businesses implementing ESG practices or looking for ways to become more sustainable, this can be an important benefit. 

Save Money 
Boosting efficiency and getting the most out of your space allows for a more efficient operation. 

Keep Customers Happy
Effective demand forecasting ensures that you’ll always have the right amount of product on hand.

Want to Learn More?

Over the course of the month, we’re sharing a look back at the Warehouse Optimization Project, an AI and ML-powered supply chain solution. Our retrospective includes video clips, blogs, and more. 

Follow us on LinkedIn for regular updates, or if you prefer to get a curated monthly recap (plus bonus content), sign up for our newsletter here.