The application of artificial intelligence in logistics has enabled a radical change in the work system in the supply chain. Thanks to AI, companies have moved from a reactive scheme, in which logistics operations were adapted to changes in demand, to another proactive one, in which managers anticipate market behavior and adapt their resources accordingly.
In this way, there is an improvement in efficiency and an increase in profitability. But how exactly does artificial intelligence work? In which warehouse operations is it most useful? We give you all the answers in this article.
Artificial intelligence: from the algorithm to Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence gives systems the ability to make intelligent decisions and execute automated operations without any human intervention. This procedure is based on a combination of three elements:
– Algorithms, orderly sequences of operations that are applied to perform a task optimally depending on the prevailing conditions.
– Software that dictates the precise instructions for the execution of each of the tasks of the hardware.
– Machine Learning that is, developments that allow the machines themselves, relying on the registered history and the repetition of operations, learn and improve the processes themselves gradually.
Applications of artificial intelligence in logistics
The applications of artificial intelligence in logistics are still under development, intending to reach their full potential in the coming years. However, some practices are already settling in the sector:
1. Prediction of consumption trends
Artificial intelligence makes use of big data for logistic purposes: it crosses internal information such as sales history with data extracted from forums, social networks, or other Internet sources.
In this way, the system is capable of issuing deductions on users’ intention to consume and, thus, anticipate demand behavior. This serves to launch anticipatory logistics and prevent stock breakage or avoid storing excess merchandise. In this way, the waste of resources is mitigated.
2. Automation of the transfer of products in the warehouse
One of the greatest exponents of artificial intelligence in logistics is the automated warehouses. They combine two fundamental systems: robotics applied to the warehouse and management software. Together, they carry out transport and product placement operations autonomously.
This shared work generates patterns over time that are continuously analyzed. In this way, artificial intelligence helps them to assign the ideal resource to each of the tasks that arise, as well as to adapt their movements in case of variations in the circuit.
3. Selection of the most efficient transport routes and journeys
The logistics transport coordination is easier with AI and adopts two aspects:
* The management of intralogistics movements: the warehouse management software stores a digital radiograph of the company’s facilities and records all movements. The program processes this data and organizes the movement of goods, whether they are carried out by robots or automatic systems or assisted by maintenance equipment.
* Fleet management of freight transport: artificial intelligence interprets and incorporates updated traffic information to local systems. With this, the software traces the most appropriate routes for the delivery of the different merchandise and corrects the itineraries in real-time in case of incidents.
4. Greater control of information in the supply chain
Process automation in the improved supply chain with the presence of artificial intelligence opens the door to real-time inventory maintenance, the issuance of instant supply orders, or the precise tracking of orders, among others.
Therefore, warehouse management software facilitates the programming of all these actions in day-to-day storage.
In addition, the integration of data and the improvement of traceability systems allows us to respond to the user’s need to know. For example, the usual question of where the package acquired in e-commerce can be resolved quickly and efficiently with the implementation of chatbots equipped with artificial intelligence.
Thanks to artificial intelligence in logistics, the risk of error is reduced and, therefore, the supply chain works more accurately. Fewer inefficiencies occur, and most repetitive operations are left to automatic systems that learn over time, to leave creative processes and strategic decisions in the hands of people.