Data Analytics And Artificial Intelligence For Effective Logistics

Written By Michael Eng, MSIPMM

Data Analytics And Artificial Intelligence For Effective Logistics

Written By Michael Eng, MSIPMM

by Michael Eng Tien Wah, MSIPMM

Our world today is surrounded with the ever-changing modern technologies and endless data exploration within our reach. On this constant development and the revolution of big data are evolving the human race on Artificial Intelligent (A.I.) dependence for a better managed environment and the convenience in life.

A.I. is the key driver of the fourth industrial revolution of new technologies that bridge the physical, digital and biological worlds. With the enormous explosion of data that powering this rapid growth rate of A.I. in recent decades, it will have a continuous increased impact on the economy and society to drive the business transformation in coming years.

Data Analytics

Picture extracted from https://www.forbesmiddleeast.com/en/artificial-intelligence-to-add-182-billion-to-u-a-e-s-economy-by-2035/

Connectivity – Intelligent Analytics – Automation

Like many other industries that have already successfully adopting A.I. into their everyday businesses, now is the best time for the logistics sector shifting its traditional operating model to a new class of intelligent assets and operational paradigms.

There is a massive flow of cargoes handled by logistics providers creating vast data base across the globe. Millions of daily shipments movement from different origin to various destinations, different contents in different sizes and weight are traced through the delivery networks of individual businesses.

All this data collection built around time can be use with the prevailing technology of analytics platform to assist the logistics companies to rethink, reinvent and reconnect in having a better insight on their existing business.

With the combinations of A.I, this business systems are able to learn and extract all the insights from the unstructured data to execute well-structured inputs giving a real time overviews, making decisions and minimising mistake on behalf of human workers.

There are numerous opportunities for A.I. to be applied in logistics by leveraging the right set of digital tools in building a truly effective supply chain to save time, reduce costs and increase productivity with cognitive automation, predictive studies on demand and intelligent logistics assets (IoT / autonomous).

Robotics with A.I. are supplementing and augmenting human roles in knowledge-intensive areas such as supply chain planning, customer order management and inventory management. The picture below shows a robot with inbuilt intelligent sensors examining the products in a warehouse.

Connectivity - Intelligent Analytics

Picture extracted from http://en.yibada.com

The ultimate goal is to create a seamless collaboration and connectivity among all involved parties treating the value chain as a whole, externally and internally, providing end-to-end visibility. The organisations have to ensure they have the capabilities to analyse from the collection of the bigger data, using it to improve their operational efficiency and facilitate to implement new innovated services, like last-mile delivery.

For logistics as the network-based nature industry with the shared real-time information through leveraging analytics intelligently, cognitive equipment and smart apps implementation, will positively amplify and improvise the human components of decision making and forecasting accuracy.

From the environmental point of view, the equipped capabilities can assist to monitor and reduce the harmful waste with clean tech, green tech & eco-friendly technology in preserving the environment through energy efficiency and obtaining a more sustainable product life cycle.

A.I. can ultimately assist the logistics business to redefine clients’ present behaviours and best practices, taking operations from reactive to proactive, planning from forecast to prediction, processes from manual to autonomous, and services from standardised to personalised.

The diagram below shows network effect of future logistics and supply chain utilising artificial intelligence.

supply chain utilising artificial intelligence

Diagram extracted from https://www.i-scoop.eu/industry-4-0/supply-chain-management-scm-logistics/

Challenges of Digital Transformation

Digital business requires digital supply chains, it is a must for all business to go through the game of transformation.

The digital transformation of the logistics industry is some decades of long journey that will require effective control, thorough understanding of the existing business value drivers, equipping the A.I. knowledge and a convinced organisational culture that supports the ongoing development of A.I.-driven business.

We should not underestimate the effort, funding and time to invest in attaining a successful A.I. development by taking on a transformation framework to define the areas to improve with the needed type of innovation approaches.
A proper framework is required in setting to exercise a careful planning in order to avoid any unnecessary disruption in the daily business.

The challenges we faced for implementation of A.I. technologies, including some of the consequences in business when the organisation resistance to change, in society with a negative sentiment of lost in job security after replaced by A.I.

There are some of the questions that will need addressing of talent gap in the industry, ethical issues of A.I. being lack of emotions and whether the program to stay competent with goals that it misaligned with ours.

Digital Transformation

Diagram extracted from https://www.logistics.dhl/content/dam/dhl/global/core/documents/pdf/glo-ai-in-logistics-white-paper.pdf

Conclusions

Firms that deciding not to adopt A.I. will eventually face the risk of obsolescence in the near future when competitors are aligning on todays’ customers expectation and meeting markets demand by elevating through the new technologies.

The future of data analytics and A.I. in logistics is filled with potential. With the build-up of a successful digital supply chain will unleash the full growth of bigger data and optimisation in logistics operations.

A quote from Max Teqmark, President of the Future of Life Institute, “Everything we love about civilization is a product of intelligence, so amplifying our human intelligence with artificial intelligence has the potential of helping civilization flourish like never before – as long as we manage to keep the technology beneficial. “
Humans cannot ignore and deny the beneficial of having A.I. in daily routine to improve our life, freeing our time in obsolete tasks allowing to contribute efforts to more meaningful work.


References

Alvin Tan. MSIPMM. (2017). “Key Strategies to Implement a Digital Supply Chain”. Retrieved from: https://sipmm.edu.sg/key-strategies-implement-digital-supply-chain/, accessed 10 Jun 2018.

Ben G., Steve J., Dirk M. (2018). “Artificial Intelligence in Logistics”. Retrieved from: https://www.logistics.dhl/content/dam/dhl/global/core/documents/pdf/glo-ai-in-logistics-white-paper.pdf, accessed 11 Jun 2018.

Jason Tan. MSIPMM. (2017). “Artificial Intelligence on Digital Supply Chain”
Retrieved from: https://sipmm.edu.sg/application-impact-artificial-intelligence-digital-supply-chain/, accessed 11 Jun 2018.

Pieter T. (2017). “Digital Supply Chain: How to Unlock the Real Value of Digital”. Retrieved from: http://prod.accenture-insights.be/en-us/articles/digital-supply-chain-how-to-unlock-the-real-value-of-digital-1, accessed 10 Jun 2018.

Skilton, M. (2017). “The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Business”. Retrieved from: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/impact/policybriefings/impact_of_ai_on_business_policybrief_final.pdf, accessed 10 Jun 2018.

About the Author: Michael Eng has more than 15 years of experience specifically in the logistics sector. He is currently Head of Sales for a global freight forwarding and logistics service provider, a company with expertise in intelligent logistics. He holds the WSQ Diploma and is a qualified member of the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (MSIPMM). He completed the Advanced Diploma in Logistics and Supply Management (ADLSM) course on July 2018 at SIPMM Academy.

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