How Will Artificial Intelligence Improve the Global Logistics Industry?
We’ve finely tuned our global logistics network into a well-oiled machine over the last 30 years. We’re now looking at how AI and data gathering will impact our business (as an independent), and the wider industry moving forward.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is creeping into every industry imaginable and you can guarantee the logistics sector won’t be left out. As time goes on, it’s expected that the latest advancements in AI, big data and machine learning will provide even more ground-breaking innovations that can revolutionise the way we work now, in logistics or elsewhere.
One of the most game-changing aspects of AI in logistics is going to be its ability to predict demand, optimise delivery routes and manage networks. The predictive analytics part of AI can help companies make significant changes to their business based on the patterns that AI unearths. Its ability to objectively measure the factors that lead towards efficiency helps its prediction in demand accuracy. The forecasting is not a one-time thing, it can also predict trends based on different variables like weather, real-time sales and other metrics.
Any established worldwide delivery provider should have a solid idea of when demand will be high and when demand will be low; as an example, we find that historically Nov/Dec are extremely busy due to Christmas and July/August are very quiet due to holidays and businesses generally slowing down.
In between that though, it’s a bit of a guessing game and that’s where AI comes in. By gathering data on a multitude of barometers, analysing the data and then providing highly accurate information on expected workload it would remodel the way we operate.
Another applicable use for AI in logistics will be eliminating human error or just simply being smarter… in our industry there are a wide range of tasks that require data to make decisions. For example; finding the best possible route, scheduling and choosing the most optimal carrier. All of these decisions will take a few minutes for the average human mind to compute but with the help of AI, working its way through thousands of data points in a matter of milliseconds, a completely accurate and instant decision is made.
Now we’ve eliminated human beings… another interesting case study is online grocer Ocado. Their warehouse in Andover, UK is entirely run by robots. It fulfils more than 65,000 orders (or about 3.5 million grocery items) every week. The robots, using AI, moves, lifts and segregates the items which are then packed by the employees. It ensures that the entire space is utilised by stacking boxes high by keeping up to 17 of them on top of each other.
The AI is so smart that items which are rarely ordered are kept at the bottom while the ones that are frequently ordered can be seen on the top. This makes it easy to get the products that are ordered off the shelf saving a lot of precious time in completing orders.
So in conclusion, AI will help companies operating within the logistics sector to work better, quicker and more efficiently – great news!
The only downside is that mankind may be eliminated by evil, grocery wielding robots…