Coined in 1956 by John McCarthy, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is essentially human intelligence exhibited by machines. With computers getting both faster and smarter, they are being programmed to mimic human intelligence. The fundamental component of AI is the ability to understand, learn and solve problems. This dash of autonomy has helped technology to venture into operations that were initially carried out only by human beings, particularly in industry, trade, and commerce.
Supply chain management is one such industry that is benefitting from artificial intelligence by maximizing their resources and reducing time & money in the decision-making process. The network-based structure followed by the logistics industry helps in providing a natural background for the application of AI in all facets of their supply chain benefitting this process greatly in the long run. The industry can gain insights about how AI can be productively applied in logistics based on learnings from various sources like consumers, enterprises and manufacturing sectors. Some of these insights are:
- Logistics companies generate high volumes of structured and unstructured data every day. With the use of AI, companies will be able to use this to their benefit. The data can then be deciphered, streamlined easily and made business-worthy.
- AI can help the logistics industry in various practices such as planning, forecasting and predicting, converting manual processes to autonomous and providing personalised services. It can be used to place requests for identifying the products, purchasing the same, checking for damage, weighing and packaging as well as filing invoices. It cuts down human interference to the minimal, thereby reducing the possibility of mistakes.
- Customs is a very complex process requiring accurate knowledge about regulations and customers. It involves information and documentation that must be cross-referred and validated based on protocols from various regulatory bodies and government policies. With the use of AI, this process can be completed sooner with a reduced margin for error thereby making it more cost effective.
- In transport management, AI is used to automate the process. Using live tracking can help collect a lot of data including scheduling trips, traffic, delays as well as live updates of the location. This is done with the use of simple applications and has helped many companies improve their management. In addition to this, the black boxes in vehicles can help provide information like the tire pressure, the temperature of the engine, etc. which in return will help manage transport better.
Despite being slow on uptake, the use of AI in the logistics industry is being viewed from various aspects. It will help the logistics industry interact with customers in a more efficient way and develop a broader approach on how to transform logistics. This is, however, not without issues and challenges. The ethics of AI models could come into question because the intent of the developer could get entangled with the company’s business-related functions. There is also the predicament of ensuring time to set it up, making this is an issue as many companies shy away from investing in AI unless necessary.
AI is set to become an integral part of day-to-day business, leading to superior interaction & connection with a hands-on & automated future for logistics.