When you hire third-party logistics provider transport companies, you’re hiring specialists in optimization whose job is to lower your transportation costs. Such logistics companies are accustomed to staying on the cutting edge, but lately, technology has been advancing so quickly that it’s becoming hard to keep up.
Machine intelligence systems are becoming particularly disruptive, and as things stand, it’s hard to say just how much they’ll reshape the logistics industry. They are already having a significant effect, even though “AI” is still very much in its infancy.
Understanding the Impact of AI On Logistics
First, it’s important to understand that when discussing AI in this context, we are not talking about science-fiction concepts of independently-intelligent talking computers like HAL-9000 or the self-aware robots in Star Wars. Such creations are still decades away, or even more.
Today’s artificial intelligence systems are much “dumber” and focused on specific tasks. They utilize what’s called heuristic learning or, basically, applied generalization. A heuristic AI can be fed thousands or millions of data points and quickly distill a wide range of generalizations and averages from them, as well as being able to extend those averages into the future as predictive trends.
However, that ability is still allowing them to reshape logistics in many ways. For example:
Predictive problem forecasting
Based on trends and averages, AIs can increasingly predict disruptions in operations from sources such as the weather, machine breakdowns, and similar events. This ability helps third-party logistics provider transport companies either head off such disruptions before they happen and plan accordingly to minimize downtime.
We’re accustomed to having handheld gadgets that can give us an optimal route between points A and B on a map. But what if your GPS unit could also factor in traffic patterns, accident statistics, and weather forecasts to create routes that are re-optimized on a day-to-day basis? Logistics AI is making that a reality.
Improved oversight and reporting
Thanks to such forecasting and optimization, AI also brings big benefits to the user and customer side of things. Web apps can offer better suggestions, and customers get more-accurate estimates of costs and shipping times. The better optimization carries through from end to end.
At Amstan, we’re excited by the progress of AI, even as we keep our own systems at the cutting edge. Contact us today to make use of our expertise!