Today, we are living in a new transformational era in human’s history, impacted by the digital revolution which is redefining many aspects of the modern life around the world, where Artificial Intelligence is playing a critical role and is present in all the fields, ranging from transport and logistics to healthcare, customer services, home maintenance.

Evolution of Artificial Intelligence and its benefits

From science-fiction movies to real life, AI has come out of research laboratories to become an ambient part of our personal lives: Almost 60% of organizations are using AI in some way or another and it is forecasted to be impacting all the segments of our lives by the end of 2025 with noticeable implications for industries. For instance, by analyzing patients’ data, AI can conduct predictive diagnosis in the health care field, even more, by analyzing students’ data, it provides teachers by insights about their performances and tips on how to improve them and make studies better, to name only a few. And below, you can see how AI evolved from being only a coined term in 1956 to focusing on specific problems by 2016.

Source: Lavenda, D./Marsden, P.

Thus, if there is a conclusion to be made, it will be that AI stands to greatly benefit all industries; it will be making life easier in certain areas in which data analysis is needed. Already today, AI is closely connected to customers, to the firms' functions, to online and offline retail and is making its way in the logistics field that is beginning its journey to become an AI-driven industry as SmartMonkey has demonstrated in its different products. That’s why there are many reasons to believe that now is the best time for the logistics industry to embrace AI:

-First, the progress made in technology in diverse fields such as machine learning, big data and connectivity have made the performance, accessibility, and costs of AI more favorable than ever before.

-Second, the network-based nature of the industry provides a natural framework and a good opportunity for implementing and scaling AI.

-And last but not least, let’s not ignore the fact that all the companies are moving forward towards the use of AI so not adopting it will put your company at stake and will make it run a risk of obsolescence on the long term.

Artificial Intelligence and Logistics

In a more in-depth approach, logistics companies are particularly positioned to benefit by applying AI in almost all aspects of the supply chain by dint of the high volume of data that is generated daily and that enables AI to exploit it in order to provide the company by detailed insights. Furthermore, logistics companies depend on networks and routes which must function harmoniously among high volumes, low margins and time-sensitive deadlines; AI offers logistics companies the ability to optimize network composition to degrees of efficiency that cannot be achieved with human thinking alone. It also helps the logistics industry to redefine today’s practices, taking operations from reactive to proactive, planning from forecast to prediction, processes from manual to autonomous, and services from standardized to personalized and here are some examples that showcase this:

-Augmented real-time decision making: Logistics teams are often facing repeatable actions and a wide range of operations that require a large amount of data to be inputted so combining between the possible fit candidates to take responsibility for that, the routes and the schedules will require time but with AI, supply chain professionals can automate the analysis and narrow their selections to just two or three within a matter of seconds.

-Predictive analysis: When will customers be ready to order? This is a question that each salesperson is asking, but it represents also a vital information for logistics, supply chain and transportation planning in order to be ready when it’s the time. With AI, the sales team and logistics team will determine when an order will be made, the route to be taken and the time windows.

-Strategic optimization: Where, when and how? Making the best decision in terms of the transportation assets, the knowledge, the dots from origin to customer location, the schedule and the saving on time, kilometers and fuel will need the intervention of AI.

Those are some examples on how AI and machine learning can crunch the data and then present a range of scenarios for optimization. With sophisticated tools that continuously learn and improve, industry professionals can make better, up-to-date decisions as well as more informed long-term strategic choices, such as the fleet size, the optimized routes etc but the future is still rife with challenges to overcome and opportunities to exploit.