12 Sep

Logistics and supply chain: the AI wind is blowing at their back

AI is changing the world of logistics. Could Amazon have such a global success, if it didn’t have astonishing logistics behind its shopping engine? Presumably not, and most e-commerce brands would fail without efficient warehouses and accurate delivery services. Digital economy is dragging supply chain and transportation businesses, as a recent Forbes Insight survey outlined.

Not surprisingly, logistics organisations are looking for reliable, innovative technologies and tools to improve their productivity and better control costs: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is emerging as a big player in this arena. Image the incredible load of information generated by products, pallets, inventories, carriers, vehicles and staff. Advanced data collection systems and analytics are already in place in most companies, together with automation solutions to support goods handling and management.

Thanks to AI, we now have the opportunity to leverage more computing power, data mining and machine learning techniques to improve processes and operations, as well as resource planning. Leading-edge solutions, including IBM Maximo, allow logistic businesses to evolve the supply chain from reactive to proactive, strengthening the collaboration with sales and marketing teams to perform predictive analysis of customer orders. This would also apply to transportation and fleet management, supporting preventative maintenance to avoid breakdowns and reduce customers’ dissatisfaction.

AI enables better real-time decision making. Selecting the best possible carrier, optimise routes and schedules, adjust plans when facing unexpected events requires the ability of quickly gathering and comparing data from different sources, resulting in smarter, evidence-based decisions. AI could squeeze all this in a matter of seconds, also granting superior accuracy.

Thanks to automated tools that continuously learn and improve, logistics professionals would be able to boost their Enterprise Asset Management processes, taking advantage of increased network velocity, fewer disruptions, lower costs, improved workforce utilization and more on-time deliveries. At the end of the day, this would lead to enhanced productivity and the ability to see end-to-end across the value chain, possibly anticipating customer needs and safeguarding competitivity.

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