A recent study estimated that businesses lose about 6,500 hours a year doing busy work that could be more efficiently and effectively handled by digital automation — including processing papers, tweaking purchase orders and answering supplier inquiries. Which is precisely why many companies have begun implementing AI technology for logistics and supply chain tasks. As a result, human workers are freed up to perform more complex jobs that computers can’t handle. Not yet, anyway.
Areas of impact within the supply chain and logistics realms include operational procurement using intelligent data and chatbots, supply chain planning to forecast demand and supply, warehouse management to optimize stock, quicker and more accurate shipping to reduce lead times and transportation expenses and optimal supplier selection through the use of real-time data.
Here are 12 examples of how AI is used to improve those processes.
Location: Santa Ana, Calif.
How it’s using AI in supply chain and logistics: Manufacturers use C3’s AI-powered Inventory Optimization to manage inventory levels in real-time across purchase parts, components and finished goods. Using advanced AI (machine learning) algorithms, C3’s system continually learns from data culled from production orders, purchase orders and supplier deliveries to glean stocking recommendations and more.
Location: Downers Grove, Ill.
How it’s using AI in supply chain and logistics: AI helps HAVI offer multiple solutions in the areas of supply chain management and logistics through the use of predictive analytics. The former includes planning, optimization, sourcing and data management. The latter encompasses procurement, freight management, warehousing and distribution.
Location: Wilmington, Mass.
How it’s using AI in supply chain and logistics: Symbotic designs, builds and tests AI-powered robots that provide flexible manual or fully automated solutions based on a company’s products, operational flow and customer needs.
Location: Englewood, Colo.
How it’s using AI in supply chain and logistics: TTEC’s Intelligent Virtual Assistants aim to cost effectively optimize customer experience by providing bots that have human-like empathy, can learn from past interactions, listen across voice and text channels and comprehend inquiries and sentiment. And if a bot can’t answer a query, it transfers the customer to a human.
How it’s using AI in supply chain and logistics: Uptake uses AI and machine learning to analyze data for telematics with the goal of predicting failure in order to reduce downtime for a variety of vehicles and machinery, including trucks, cars, railcars, combines and planes.
How it’s using AI in supply chain and logistics: Acquired by UPS, Coyote uses a variety of methods — including predictive analytics, AI and machine learning — in pairing customer shipment information with outside data (like real-time traffic and weather) to help shippers predict supply-chain issues, including delays, before they occur. As a result, they’re able to make alternate plans so shipments still arrive on time.
Location: Lincolnshire, Ill.
How it’s using AI in supply chain and logistics: Zebra’s logistics and supply chain AI solutions include SmartPack and SmartPack Trailer, which integrate hardware, software and data analytics to provide real-time visibility into the loading process and increase efficiency. Specific benefits include the optimization of space to ship less air and reduce operating costs; the quicker and more efficient processing of parcels; the reduction of parcel damage and loss; and improved worker safety.
How it’s using AI in supply chain and logistics: Epicor employs Microsoft Azure, a cloud-based AI solutions platform, to make its business solutions for manufacturers and distributors — including supply chain and logistics — even smarter. As of last spring, the company was also looking into incorporating Microsoft’s speech-to-text and advanced search capabilities to improve the way customers interact with its applications.
Location: New York
How it’s using AI in supply chain and logistics: LivePerson’s AI-driven conversational platform, Maven, facilitates customer support by measuring consumer intent and sentiment while determining where a conversation should go next. Maven also juggles every conversation simultaneously, whether it’s being held by human, bot, third-party tech or a combination of all three.
Echo Global Logistics
How it’s using AI in supply chain and logistics: Transportation management company Echo uses AI to provide supply chain solutions that optimize transportation and logistics needs so customers can ship their goods quickly, securely and cost effectively. Services include rate negotiation; procurement of transportation; shipment execution and tracking; carrier management, selection, reporting, and compliance; executive dashboard presentations and detailed shipment reports; and much more.
Location: Bedford, Mass.
How it’s using AI in supply chain and logistics: Aspen uses AI to profitably optimize procurement, production, distribution and inventory plans that meet customer demand and revenue goals. Its Aspen Supply Chain Planner employs value-driven analysis to imagine and dissect numerous hypothetical scenarios “that optimize inventory management, minimize transportation costs and balance supply and demand.”
Location: New York
How it’s using AI in supply chain and logistics: Using AI and machine learning, DataArt helps its clients “improve operational efficiency, predict shopping behavior and engage consumers in a meaningful way.” The company also offers real-time analysis of supply chain data as well as the synchronization of logistics processes and other key factors.
Location: New York
How it’s using AI in supply chain and logistics: Infor’s intelligent supply chain applications employ advanced algorithms, optimization engines and machine learning to “connect digital information about the supply chain to the physical world” so companies can make more informed business decisions. Solutions include supply chain planning, procure-to-pay automation, supply chain finance, supply management, supply chain visibility, transportation management and warehouse management.
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