Artificial intelligence and the logistics sector: clear benefits
Published on 24 September 2021
As the global health situation leads to an unprecedented boom in e-commerce, 50% of supply chain organizations will invest in technologies supporting artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics capabilities by 2024 according to Gartner. But how is AI an essential ally in optimizing the operation and management of the intelligent warehouse?
Supply chain actors are confronted with margin reductions that require both a constant improvement of their performance (for example, reducing delivery times to increase customer satisfaction) and an optimization of their costs (square meters, personnel, transportation), in order to safeguard their profitability. Artificial intelligence allows you to take the lead and take advantage of these constraints!
First of all, let's remember that AI is much more than just automation. If AI is essential to the smooth running of a warehouse today, it is already well established among the major French logistics players, notably through RPA1 and robots. AI goes much further: by combining significant computing power with the ability to learn continuously, it can process dizzying volumes of data to extract information essential to your business. By improving its own performance and the quality of its forecasts, it allows you to manage your warehouse in real time and even with a head start. Here are 5 aspects that make artificial intelligence an indispensable tool for you:
1. AI and inventory management: for a better reactivity
Warehouses connected to their customers' sales software already know how to anticipate order preparations, and can launch picking as soon as the credit card is debited. Now, thanks to artificial intelligence, they can read recurring trends (peaks of activity with a given customer) as well as weak signals (return to the office in a given country after a long period of telecommuting) to identify the references that will be most in demand and thus reduce delivery times, while avoiding overstocking. The analysis of sales data historical by item family can therefore enable better sourcing, but also better management of the physical layout of stocks once received. This responsiveness is key to strengthening customer partnerships.
2. AI and order picking: to optimize routes
AI makes it possible to intelligently organize picking as well as robot routes to the picker, and also provides invaluable decision support as to the best way to arrange packages on the pallet, with a view to reduce costs and the environmental footprint.
3. AI and transport: to maximize truck filling
Whether it's picking and delivery routes, estimated time of arrival of parcels, choice of transport providers or predictive maintenance of vehicles, artificial intelligence is able to analyze past data to propose the most efficient combinations.
4. AI and HR Management: to best assign employees
Again based on historical data and by correlating the data with each other, AI provides valuable information on the number of operators needed, especially during peak periods. It therefore allows to optimize the resource, but also the allocation of employees and possible reinforcements of manpower to the appropriate functions and sectors.
5. AI and supply chain: to better coordinate flows
In addition to improving each of the steps below, the great strength of artificial intelligence undoubtedly lies in its ability to coordinate the flows in the various stages and provide a global vision of the warehouse in real time. It therefore plays the role of "conductor" of the warehouse to ensure that from start to finish, your organization respects your performance requirements, but also your regulatory constraints (traceability of flows) and sanitary constraints (cleaning of pallets).
Artificial intelligence must be able to rely on reliable data to improve management and decision-making processes. The first step is therefore to organize the intelligent collection, systematic cleaning and secure storage of your data. Convinced? Where do you start then, to bring your logistics sites up to the level of requirements expected today and tomorrow?
Generix supports you in your supply chain digitalization projects, contact us!
Other sources: Gartner, January 2021