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AI in Logistics: What are They Going to Deliver for the Future?
What happens when Artificial Intelligence makes its way to the logistics industry? Read our take on how AI delivers for the future.
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AI. You've probably heard the term thrown around at your office or read about it in the paper. But if it conjures up images of an antagonist robot from a dystopian movie, you aren't alone.

What is AI, anyway? The acronym stands for artificial intelligence, in which machines "learn" to mimic certain capabilities without the need for human intervention. According to IBM, artificial intelligence "leverages computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind." In other words, it's getting machines to think - or at least get as close of an approximation to it as possible. These days, robots are responding to sensory information, recognizing speech, and even exhibiting creativity.

Sounds crazy, right? That may be, but machines are picking up more tasks than ever before in a logistics context, all to our benefit. A 2019 study from McKinsey & Co found that 61% of executives reported lower logistics costs. Artificial intelligence can contribute to safety, efficiency, and accuracy, culminating in higher levels of customer service.

Drone carrying a box

Sounds crazy, right? That may be, but machines are picking up more tasks than ever before in a logistics context, all to our benefit. A 2019 study from McKinsey & Co found that 61% of executives reported lower logistics costs. Artificial intelligence can contribute to safety, efficiency, and accuracy, culminating in higher levels of customer service.

The more automation gets utilized, the more efficiently and resiliently a supply chain can operate. And a healthy, functioning supply chain has countless downstream benefits. There's too many to list here, but if you want a counterexample, look no further than the year 2020. You get the idea.

So what are these new developments? Here are a few to watch for:

1) Chatbots - This one has been popping up on websites more frequently as of late. Those little bots may seem like small potatoes, but they deliver outsized value when streamlining a business. They can make purchasing requests, answer basic questions from suppliers, or track invoices, to name a few functions.

2) Autonomous vehicles - Hold onto your hats because driverless trucks are coming. The technology isn't ready to go mainstream yet, but it's getting closer. At the end of 2020, Walmart announced that the company would use driverless trucks along a two-mile stretch between a warehouse and a pickup point. And when it does, we can expect to double transportation output at a quarter of the cost.

3) Machine Learning – As much as we want error-free inventory management, people can't avoid mistakes. Overstocking, understocking, or otherwise screwing up orders is going to be par for the course. Enter machine learning. It can create an endless forecasting feedback system with continuously improving predictions. That means fewer errors, better inventory management, and ultimately, more significant gains in efficiency.

4) Natural language processing - What the heck is natural language processing, you might ask? Natural language processing is a type of artificial intelligence that specifically applies to human language. Computers can "learn" to understand and interpret what people say. As you can imagine, this has many applications, and a big one is in the supply chain. Natural language processing can help with language barriers and streamline specific actions (like auditing) that can otherwise become a big time-suck.

With technology use becoming a huge help in the logistics industry, we at Able Freight want to make sure that we are part of that advancement! "We are at that point of time that technology is significantly and rapidly advancing, and the potential use cases in air freight logistics are growing! Here at Able Freight, we want to make sure we're a central part of that advancement to improve the cold chain industry overall," says Dr. Michael Kronenberg, CSO and CTO of Able Freight.

Among the goals of Able Freight's technological advancement is to ensure our customers can easily track their cargo and for our operations team to have amore capable system. This is where Datahub and A-Works come to play! "Able Freight has been using and developing advanced tools like Datahub and A-Works that not only help our customers easily track their shipment, its temperature readings, and real-time locations, but also make the day-to-day workload on our operations team more efficient and convenient. The only way to get our industry to the next level is to work smarter by using intelligent technologies! That's what we are envisioning at Able Freight, taking a driver seat in its development!" adds Dr. Kronenberg.

Nothing gets us more going than looking for innovative ways to implement technology in our day-to-daywork here at Able! Have any techie news in logistics? We'd love to hear it! Please email us at tech@ablefreight.com.

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