Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help logistics providers deliver articles even before the customer has even ordered them, according to a new report from DHL and IBM.
The companies evaluated the potential of AI in logistics and determined how it can be best applied to transform the industry, giving rise to a new class of intelligent logistics assets and operational paradigms.
"Today’s current technology, business, and societal conditions favor a paradigm shift to proactive and predictive logistics operations more than any previous time in history” explains Matthias Heutger, Global Head of Innovation DHL. “As the technological progress in the field of AI is proceeding at great pace, we see it as our duty to explore, together with our customers and employees, how AI will shape the logistics industry’s future."
The collaborative report identifies implications and use cases of AI for the logistics industry, finding that AI has the potential to significantly augment human capabilities. While AI is already ubiquitous in the consumer realm, as demonstrated by the rapid growth of voice assistant applications, AI technologies are maturing at a great pace, allowing for additional applications for the logistics industry. These can, for instance, help logistics providers enrich customer experiences through conversational engagement.
With the help of AI, the logistics industry will shift its operating model from reactive actions to a proactive and predictive paradigm, which will generate better insights at favourable costs in back office, operational and customer-facing activities. For instance, AI technologies can use advanced image recognition to track condition of shipments and assets, bring end-to-end autonomy to transportation, or predict fluctuations in global shipment volumes before they occur. Clearly, AI augments human capabilities but also eliminates routine work, which will shift the focus of logistics workforces to more meaningful and value-added work.
“Technology is changing the logistics industry’s traditional value chains, and ecosystems are reshaping enterprises, industries and economies,” says Keith Dierkx, IBM Global Industry Leader for Freight, Logistics, and Rail. “By leveraging AI into core processes, companies can invest more in strategic growth imperatives to modernize or eliminate legacy application systems. This can make existing assets and infrastructure more efficient, while providing the workforce with time to enhance their skills and capabilities.”
The report concludes that AI will develop to become as omnipresent in the industrial sector as it currently is in the consumer world. AI stands to transform the logistics industry into a proactive, predictive, automated and personalized branch. Considering this, the report provides perspectives and best practices on how logistics players can seize and adopt AI in their global supply chains.