The logistics industry is a rapidly evolving sector that deals with the process of managing the acquisition, storage and transportation of resources. Technological evolution has increased the complexity of logistics and introduced new dimensions to the process of goods and service delivery. The development of artificial intelligence in logistics has brought advancements such as warehouse automation, self-driving vehicles, predictive analytics, smart fleet management, smart roads, etc
The Advancing Role of AI in the Logistics Industry
Automated Warehouses: Large corporations like Amazon are in the race for better logistics solution with innovations like the automated warehouses. These warehouses use AI and robotics for sorting goods and analysing inventory data. Ocado, an online-only supermarket in the UK uses about 3,000 robots to expedite the order fulfillment process by sorting through inventory to pick ordered goods. Beyond these use cases, the possibilities of AI in automated warehousing are very many. AI can be used to make demand predictions going by the analysis of previous order data, making sure that in- demand are always in stock, thus helping to save time and money over time. AI can also be used to quickly make adjustments to orders and order routes, a process usually dependent on human effort. Computer vision technology can also be used in automated warehouses to recognise and organise items during order fulfillment or housekeeping.
Self-driving Vehicles: Artificial intelligence in the logistics industry makes it possible to explore the use of driverless vehicles for transporting goods and raw materials. While current regulations and technology do not allow for completely autonomous vehicles, with the evolution of improving safety mechanisms in these vehicles and the improvement of the technology, this is expected to change soon. Companies will be able to save the cost of human efforts and reduce risks of accidents, and save the environment by reducing fuel usage as many of these vehicles are likely to be electric. Other vehicles in the logistics fleet can also be managed using AI with real-time route optimisation that increases delivery efficiency, predictive maintenance, dynamic routing, tracking, mileage and driver downtime.
Back Office Automation: The use of cognitive automation - a combination of artificial intelligence and robotic process automation (RPA) enables employees to improve their performance and increase productivity and accuracy. Repetitive data related tasks such as billing, email processing, and scheduling can be automated with this software to reduce human error due to monotony.
Product Inspection and Quality Control: An important aspect of the logistics process is ensuring that products sent out to be delivered are in good condition. Through computer vision technology, Artificial Intelligence can be used to identify damaged items and highlight them for replacement.
The inclusion of Artificial Intelligence in the evolution of the logistics industry is inevitable. Therefore, it is important for companies to embrace new technologies to make production and distribution easier and more effective. All of these are achievable with AI which ensures a more economic and profitable manufacturing and distribution process.