The logistics industry is increasingly finding itself at the intersection of traditional, familiar practices and the novel technologies of the future. Among these emerging technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) stands at the forefront, offering transformative potential for a host of industries, logistics and supply chains included. While it will be fundamental in helping streamline operations, identifying supply chain risks, and optimising route solutions, AI will also bring some challenges.
AI-powered autonomous vehicles will revolutionise the transport industry. With self-driving vehicles, human error is reduced, fuel efficiency is increased, and operations can be sustained continuously. Connected vehicles will be able to provide real-time route information to further optimise fleet movements ‘on the fly’. This could also enable intelligent predictions of future traffic flow and the likelihood of delays across a range of parameters – unfavourable weather, congestion, traffic incidents, and more.
However, the transition to autonomous vehicles presents immense challenges. Not only does it require the technology to work reliably in all conditions, but it may also require substantial infrastructure investment to maximise system functionality. This is especially true when the shift toward more sustainable propulsion – electric, hydrogen, whatever it may be – is taken into consideration. There are also immense unknowns regarding public safety and liability, which will require thought, understanding and effective legislation to ensure safe operation – a particular concern for large logistics fleets.
What are some key benefits you can receive from connected vehicles?
• Real-time route information for optimising fleet movements
• Intelligent predictions of future traffic flow and potential delays
• Ability to consider various parameters such as weather, congestion, and traffic incidents
For warehouse operations, AI will prove to be a game-changer. Automated storage and retrieval systems, smart robotics, and AI-enhanced inventory management will transform warehousing practices. With faster processes, minimal errors, and optimised space utilisation, the benefits will be immense. Effective data collection can also be used to establish predictive maintenance of equipment and systems, further reducing downtime, and increasing productivity, leading to reduced costs and increased profitability. One potential concern is the accessibility of AI systems to smaller organisations and businesses, without which they will struggle to compete with larger AI-enabled competitors.
More data, more power
The amount of data generated, and the scope for expansion, highlight the key strength of AI – interpreting large and varied sets of data to provide optimised solutions. As the industry embraces AI, the ability to provide real-time visibility and rapid decision-making becomes a competitive advantage. More data means an increased ability to identify trends, make accurate forecasts, and continually optimise operations at every timescale.
Some key considerations you should take with optimising the data analytics of your business:
• Understanding the hurdles and limitations in data collection, validity, and interpretation is crucial.
• Despite the benefits, it is important to be aware of the potential obstacles and constraints related to data utilisation in AI implementation.
Moving forward with AI
AI-powered logistics is not just a transformation of technology, but a reinvention of the industry itself. When leveraged with an understanding of its limitations, AI has the power to overhaul efficiency and find optimisation in even the most complex networks and logistics programmes. It is a shift that comes with immense technological, cost, and human challenges. Nevertheless, it offers an unrivalled opportunity for a step-change in the sector.
At Evolution, we’ve used algorithmic optimisation extensively, and are embracing the integration of AI into our human-led premium logistics operations. Combining the best of human understanding with machine interpretation, we can find the ideal solution and implement it effectively, benefitting from a global network of Evolution sites and trusted partners. If you are interested to learn more from our teams, we are available for contact here.