Artificial Intelligence has taken to the world like a fish takes to water- with ease, dexterity and by setting off waves in its immediate atmosphere. Apart from simulating human action and learning, it has taken the world by storm by performing tasks like humans would. As desperate times call for desperate measures, the emergence of AI in logistics and warehousing has witnessed a staggering rise over the past few months. In this feature, we unravel the integral points of what makes AI a force to reckon with, in this industry.
AI has brought about a revolution in the way machines replace manpower. With technologies such as machine learning, IoT and predictive analytics, it can solve common supply chain operational challenges by improving efficiency, traceability and safety.
Leveraging AI in logistics and warehousing is a recipe for increasing safety and quality control at warehouses. Apart from enabling companies to automatically inspect products, pallets or containers to detect abnormalities, quick and real-time alerts of those flaws help workers reach the source of supply chain issues faster, which greatly prevents the loss of time-sensitive products.
Enabling Autonomous decision-making and Labour-intensive work at Warehouses
AI is vested with immense capabilities to bring about a paradigm shift with respect to decision-making and labour-intensive work at warehouses.
“Talking about how AI has improved autonomous decision-making, I believe AI has played a pivotal role in structuring, organising and visualising data helping the operations team become more predictive and pro-active in the over-all decision making process. Being a Logistics orchestration platform, we have seen the extent of increased team productivity which can be achieved deploying the right AI driven robotic process automations in logistics and warehousing space.”~ Puneet Agarwal, Mentor and Investor, Fretron LLP
True enough, Artificial Intelligence has changed the way data is structured and infused into the overall decision making process. Inventory planning is also one of the facets that AI can greatly have an impact on.
Abhik Mitra, MD and CEO, Spoton Logistics, speaks about how AI enables businesses to leverage the collected data on a daily basis to enable intelligent decision making.
“The first and the foremost benefit of using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning tools is that it gives access to tons of important real-time data, which work as great insights to plan inventories well, predict demand and supply patterns and efficiently allocate orders. These AI algorithms allow companies to be smarter by giving them complete visibility into the whereabouts of all orders – availability of stock, order dispatching time from the warehouse, right allocation,etc.”~Abhik Mitra, MD and CEO, Spoton Logistics
Reinventing back office, operational and customer facing activities
Amongst its many benefits, AI can also be harnessed to power the core areas of any business: Reinventing back office, operational and customer facing activities.
“AI can be used to automate operations, accounting, daily MIS, reconciliation of orders, invoicing, approval life cycles etc from a back office & operations perspective. The typical functions like the availability of vehicles for order processing, the stock availability, manpower for packaging, loading & unloading etc can be derived, timed, recommended and over a period of time auto managed via AI driven algorithms. The customer facing activities include intelligent chat bots, recommendation engines, feedback and customer support functions, both over voice and email can be implemented via AI driven systems.’~Deepesh Kuruppath, Founder and CEO, CargoFL
With Robotic Process Automation, businesses can also automate several back-office tasks.
AI & Big Data: The Power Duo for Route Optimisation and Supply Chain transparency
The enormity of information available on the internet about consumer habits preferences, activities and tastes is surreal and would have seemed unthinkable, had it been a decade back. Collecting and analysing such data from multiple sources coupled with AI can lead to building a temple of knowledge that can allow one to make accurate predictions.
Big data-a field that powers one to analyse data sets that are too complex to be dealt with, by traditional data-processing application software, can be seen in a power combination with AI for route optimisation and supply chain transparency. AI’s ability to fuse so well with data analytics is a strong reason why AI and Big Data are now almost inseparable.
With contextual intelligence, insights of Big Data; especially when generated by AI, can lead to supply chain transparency as it aims to forecast highly accurate outlooks and optimise future performance. The percolation of AI into the crevices of the logistics and warehousing space indeed seems promising and is deemed to occur even in a faster pace, in the aftermath of the lessons learnt from the existing circumstances.
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