Robots managing warehouses, drones doing last mile delivery and data predicting the ETA of our cabs or food delivery agent, are classic examples where AI is implemented.
As we move ahead with the time, the term Artifical Intelligence (AI) is becoming a part of our day-to-day conversations. We hear all sort of things about machine learning and robotics technology making a global impact by optimizing the process we perform to do a task more efficient and less time-consuming. eCommerce, logistics or shipping is such industry where AI has started showing its influence by making supply chain management a more seamless process. We hear about robots managing warehouses, drones doing last mile delivery and data predicting the ETA of our cabs or food delivery agent.
Before we dive into the impact of AI in logistics, let us understand what the term means.
What is Artificial Intelligence
In simple terms, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the ability of a machine (or a combination of different machines) to make intelligent decisions (similar to what humans can take) based on the available dataset. Such machines have the ability to learn on their own to make more corrective decisions based on the decisions they took and the collected data. This process of self-learning by machines is also known as machine learning.
How AI making the Warehouses More Advanced
Many different eCommerce companies have already started utilising the robots to automate the process of product sorting and packaging. Robots are programmed to pack a product and sort it based on the delivery requirements.
AI Helping in Finding Quickest Delivery Route
Necessity is the mother of invention. In case of the logistics sector, this necessity is the Travelling Salesman Problem (TSP), which is used to understand the shortest possible route needed by a salesman to the given list of locations. In simple terms, what will be the time taken to deliver the package in the most efficient manner?
If you look at it from the basic level, there are myriad ways to deliver a wide variety of items. However, there is a need to analyze information related to the task of completing deliveries, such as delivery schedules, real-time traffic, and so on. As the demand for consumer needs have increased, it has become more difficult to take the right business decisions. To cater to this one should have a well-defined supply chain cost process in place.
For example, the last mile delivery in this age of digital technology is all about creating a personalized experience for the customer. After the order is placed, the executive will be assigned to look after it and process it, and then they need to provide an ETA for the delivery based on dynamic data. To manage all this data becomes a very tedious task.
This is where the significance of Artificial Intelligence comes in as it enables you to manage even the most elaborate dataset properly. Through AI, you will be able to leverage data platforms and create datasets to regulate patterns and anomalies. The data patterns are based on predictive analysis.
AI Helping in Determining the Truck Freight between two points
Many different logistics service providers are trying to get some insights out of the day-to-day freight between any two points on the map. Such data points are stored and analyzed to predict the freight in the future. The data captures inputs such as the kind of material that is being moved, seasonality (for instance during the festive season in India, the freight charges are high due to non-availability of vehicles and drivers) and the risk of getting a reverse load from the destination.
At every level of logistics, AI has a role to play. Warehouses utilise AI to automate and interconnect the internal processes within. Advanced processes, such as geocoding and location intelligence are being used for optimum performance. The B2B and B2C sectors will use AI-based systems to allocate vehicles and choose the most optimized routes for vehicles and plan dispatches based on the freight trend.
The world where we live leaves a digital footprint in almost all activities and that serves as the stepping stone for machine learning algorithms. When AI will take over manual decisions and deliver packages more effectively only time will tell?
— by Varun Biyani, CEO-Founder, SuperProcure.