14 Mar Growing Applications of Artificial Intelligence in the Logistics industry
Artificial Intelligence was never pursued seriously until real time applications started popping-up. Manufacturing and several other business processes got automated with Artificial Intelligence. Nowadays, they are found in all processes involving human life. To a large extent, it has reduced manual intervention and brought down the error ratio considerably high.
If it can automate and simplify manufacturing operations, it can do the same in a much better manner to logistics and supply chain as well. Yes, these are the processes which involved higher manual interventions and automating them would mean automating cross-border trade and reducing cost for all stakeholders. Surprisingly, artificial intelligence in logistics is already happening in several geographies globally. Here are some of them.
Demand forecasting is quite an essential factor involved in logistics. It helps logistics stakeholders to reduce cost, improve efficiency, optimal fleet management, managing logistics assets to name a few. For example, let us say a warehouse in an airport is to receive 100 tonnes of freight. But its capacity could be just 60 or 70. The rest maybe placed in nearby warehouses or placed in unsafe conditions.
Moreover, placing in other warehouses is subject to availability of space. With demand forecasting, the warehouse management can plan accommodating freight beyond its capacity in nearby warehouses. Tools which can perform such tasks will be in high demand in the near future as there is a long gap between demand and supply already.
Last mile delivery
This is the most spoken topic across the globe in the logistics space. However soon a product is manufactured, it is not reaching the customer at the right time. Logistics firms are finding it hard to stay in line with the quick delivery scheme they promise to the customers. Intervention of AI here will ensure all deliveries are fast-tracked and delivered on time as promised. Moreover, this will do a demand forecasting and tell all stakeholders on the movement of freight. Such community based platforms nowadays are leveraging the power of AI especially in the logistics space and building relevant technologies to simplify operations.
Some years before, Big Data became the buzzword in several industries. Especially with logistics and supply chain, there are several structured and unstructured data. With the use of AI, these can be analysed and utilized for potential process based applications. While the initiation of the word big data said how it can help businesses understand their customers, with logistics it can simplify processes to a large extent.
Right from data collection to inventory management, warehousing operations involve a lot of manual operations. Most importantly, they require an eye for detail. In turn, this could lead to delay in tasks. Already, several ecommerce players worldwide are leveraging the power of AI by using AI-powered robots. Order delivery is on time and less than the stipulated time. Similarly, air cargo stakeholders as well are leveraging the potential of artificial intelligence in logistics with the use of innovative digital technologies to see cargo movement in the warehouse. Also, long staying and unclaimed cargo can be taken note of with automated warehousing.
Tracking Movement with IoT
Visibility is a major issue pertaining to logistics and too specific to air cargo. After a point of time, movement of freight inside the airport is not known to any of the stakeholders. Potentially, this could lead to loss of cargo. This is the reason why several people in the industry call cargo as a Poor Cousin who cannot talk. Also, some experts have said that Internet of Things (IoT) could make cargo talk by connecting to all systems.
As we all are aware, IoT is all about integrations and it seamlessly integrates with any system. For example, if a ground handler uses a specific software/tool to manage operations and a freight forwarder uses another tool/software to manage their operations, IoT can integrate both the tools and provide 24/7 information on the freight movement. This will significantly improve efficiency in the overall process and bring down the time.
The role of AI in logistics is quite higher than what industry experts have predicted. While the applications coming up now are still limited, in the near future we can see an exodus in the use of AI based tools and technologies. While we keep you posted on those updates, do read on the impact of Coronavirus on the logistics industry globally.