AI and Machine Learning in Modern Logistics

Rohan Mathew

In many companies, technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning can transform critical aspects of the business, making it easier to redefine the experience of existing clients and attract new ones. Logistics is one of the industries for which artificial intelligence mechanisms open up new opportunities.

Currently, we can observe how the unpredictability of logistics processes is gradually passing in favor of intelligent and information-focused supply chains. That, in turn, guarantees the continuity of the flow of various types of goods. The new technology is fascinating, but how will individual organizations benefit from it? You can read about it in the article below.

Supply Chain Planning

The Supply Chain Planning (SCP) systems are part of Supply Chain Management (SCM). Machine Learning (ML) is a field dealing with the issues related to artificial intelligence. The major goal of this technology is to create automatic systems capable of self-improving with the help of accumulated experience (coming from data) and acquiring new knowledge on this basis. In the logistics world, self-learning systems enable more precise forecasting of demand or delivery times. They use historical data on the production preparation time and the reliability of logistics service providers.

Machine learning also allows you to determine the availability of products for incoming inquiries and orders from customers in real-time. That solution paves the way to negotiating with clients more effectively, informing them about the product availability immediately, or proposing a replacement.

Supply support chatbots

Essentially, chatbots are applications that can recognize a given question and then try to assign the correct answer to it. These computer programs act as virtual assistants that, thanks to artificial intelligence, can talk to people in natural language. They can recognize the meaning of asked questions and provide correct answers, thus obtaining information about their needs. Chatbots have a certain amount of knowledge about the company and its products or services and can simultaneously conduct many conversations. In addition, it can use its databases or obtain information from external sources.

Effective warehouse logistics

High-grade supply chain management is strictly reliant on properly conducted warehouse logistics. In warehouse logistics, machine learning enables the analysis of vast amounts of data generated in warehouse management systems relating to orders, returns, and inventory. That allows you to detect patterns of customer behavior, for example:

  • What goods do customers order most often?
  • When customers usually order certain goods?
  • Which products are most often ordered by buyers in sets?

In warehouse logistics, companies also often use synthesis and speech recognition techniques to improve logistics. For example, employees equipped with headphones and a microphone receive instructions on the execution of the order and information on where to find the goods and then inform the WMS system about completing the task.

Another solution is AVGs (Automated Guided Vehicles), which often support transport inside warehouses. Thanks to machine learning, such vehicles can “learn” to move around the warehouse and automatically adapt to changes in their environment, thus increasing work safety.

This cooperation is more efficient in distributing available resources within logistic processes and more effective planning of operations related to the flow and distribution of inventory. In addition, the use of artificial intelligence eliminates the risk of errors caused by the action of the human factor. That mainly applies to errors in the order picking process and situations where the wrong person could damage the load.

Intelligent vehicles for road transportation

Autonomous trucks can independently control their work and automatically respond to changing external conditions. As a result, intelligent vehicles can revolutionize the road transport market because they will:

  • Solve the problem of the shortage of professional drivers in the labor market
  • Reduce transport costs
  • Increase road safety
  • Shorten the delivery time of goods

Road transportation is becoming more and more automated due to more commonly used Internet of Things technology. Currently, many automotive companies conduct regular tests of intelligent vehicles. Already in mid-2016, trucks without driver control made their way to Rotterdam from several places in Europe. There was a man in the car, but their task was limited to reacting to possible emergencies. Of course, the serial production of this type of vehicles can start in a few years at the earliest. Still, it is already a fascinating and promising topic in modern logistics companies.

Optimization of logistics routes 

Logistics companies use artificial intelligence to decide on the most efficient routes, which allows them to lower shipping costs and speed up the transportation process. Large enterprises that fulfill many orders for a wide range of customers appreciate the possibilities of artificial intelligence.  AI solutions allow you to analyze alternative routes and choose the most optimal variant. Thanks to this, the recipients receive the order without delays in the fastest possible time, and e-commerce companies achieve better results and thus have higher profits.

The use of drones for the implementation of deliveries

Logistics companies regularly face difficulties in delivering parcels to hard-to-reach places as part of their activities. Transportation to some locations may be unsafe or straight-up impossible. That is why one of the latest AI solutions has appeared that effectively eliminates this type of complication. We are talking about delivery drones that allow companies to deliver products, even to the most challenging places in the world.

In particular, drones are appreciated by companies dealing with the logistics of pharmaceuticals. Time is of the essence in that case, as medical devices often have a short shelf life. Smart drones eliminate the waste of pharmaceutical products. Thanks to using this type of transport, there is also no need to build specialized warehouses, which are a costly investment.

AI and ML are revolutionizing the logistics industry

Logistics is one of the industries that use the solutions offered by AI and ML very intensively. AI will play a significant role in logistics in the future. There is no doubt about it. Above, we have only presented some of the benefits of implementing AI and ML. Technological changes bring many more improvements. Artificial intelligence allows you to change the warehouse organization, streamline deliveries, or maximize customer service efficiency. All logistics companies need is the right AI and ML solution provider to implement them with a better understanding of modern logistics technologies. Thanks to this, nothing will attain in the way of moving their services to a higher level.

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