Two of the world’s most influential research and advisory firms predict major acceleration in artificial intelligence (AI) use as more businesses look to make the digital transformation leap.
Forrester projects AI investment tripled in 2017, and Gartner expects AI to be pervasive in almost every new software product and service by 2020. With its cognitive interfaces, in-depth analytics, and machine-learning technology, AI provides business users operating within complex systems and dynamic networks with powerful, actionable intelligence that drives faster decision-making.
While the technology is clearly applicable to companies across a range of industries, global logistics stands to benefit substantially.
Ripe for AI
The global logistics industry struggles with the ability to “make sense” of Big Data―and for some, even not-so-big data. Practical data consumption means something different to individual organizations, so the capabilities that AI brings to a logistics organization will be unique.
The intrinsic complexity of global logistic networks, coupled with the ever-growing volume of data, make it almost a “mission impossible” to gather the necessary intelligence for informed business decisions. That volume of data will only increase as the Internet of Things (IoT) pervades deeper into the supply chain. In order to compete in a global marketplace where speed matters, logistics organizations will continue to see real value in the world of connected devices.
The logistics world has so many moving parts that all have to work in sync with one another. These moving parts have historically been managed across multiple departments and various divisions, and by several different software systems with numerous suppliers and service providers. Logistics tends to suffer from the stigma of being a fragmented industry. AI is the most relevant and practical technology that will move the logistics industry past its current state.
Key Areas Where AI Will be Most Impactful
The role and capabilities of transportation management systems (TMS) have grown stale as logistics networks and operations have become more dynamic and complex. Companies that continue to manage their logistics operations with outdated systems, or worse, with manual spreadsheets, will find it difficult or impossible to keep up with customer and partner requirements of saving money and providing better services―not to mention trying to meet their own cost and growth objectives.
Three areas where AI will be most impactful for logistics organizations:
- Process and analyze Big Data. Many logistics companies still rely on spreadsheets and manage multiple―and outdated―systems which all contribute to their struggles with Big Data. AI technology will simplify and standardize the methods for real-time data exchange for the entire shipment lifecycle. Platforms built on AI can provide a single source of data management and data flow while also automating manual and redundant business processes.
- Advise intelligently. AI platforms with built-in business intelligence (BI) and industry-specific consulting intelligence (CI) provide deep insight into customers, carriers, and operations. This actionable intelligence allows for more real-time, impactful decision-making based on situations and scenarios across all business units, departments, and systems in a centralized, cohesive manner that otherwise would not be humanly possible.
- Take proactive, intelligent action. The most advanced AI platforms not only analyze and advise, but they also execute based on this intelligence. The ability to assess, analyze, provide recommendations, and execute change for numerous logistical and business situations that affect all shipping industry players will allow organizations to proactively address risks, take corrective actions, and minimize operational delays.
AI will set a new standard of core capabilities across all legacy industry platforms so that they all become intelligent, “expert” systems. The game is changing. This new way of thinking and the new capabilities that AI will bring to organizations will upgrade the entire industry. How? By creating a “new normal” in terms of how companies operate, how they manage data, and how they interact with suppliers, customers, and service providers―making these interactions more automated, intelligent and, ultimately, more efficient.