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Aeolus Perspectives 28th Edition: How AI and big data can make the T&L operations “smart”?

26-07-2021

Aeolus Perspectives 28th Edition: How AI and big data can make the T&L operations “smart”?...

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data can contribute to get the global supply chain more efficient, traceable, and safe.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can transform everyday life and business as well, augmenting the view on the world and also providing the key to read its changes. The consulting firm PwC estimates AI technology contribute up to 15,7 billion dollars to the global economy by 2030. Among the industries benefiting most from AI adoption, supply chain management is in the top three, according to a recent McKinsey global survey where 76% of respondents in supply chain companies have already referred to moderate to significant implementation of AI. Telling the truth, probably we do not need to wait too much, as AI and Big Data are already transforming supply chains, growing performances, and inside visibility.

AI-concepts and data are not brand-new in Transport and Logistics (T&L)
For decades, road, rail, and ocean freight have been tracked through telematics and within distribution centers and warehouses the RFID-based connective solutions are widely in use to manage the flows.
However, all these solutions and their data have not been exploited to their full potential until the most recent times. Nowadays only, they are increasingly used for getting wider visibility and better tracking, or even also for defining predictive analytics and a more accurate demand planning. The increase in connectivity and integration of the "smart" solutions gradually crowding the logistics platforms - i.e., automated mobile robots (AMR), automated guided vehicles (AGV), automated storage systems – is contributing to realizing the 4.0-warehouse model with more efficient processes, safer, and human-oriented.

Getting data available does not necessarily mean being able to manage them.
Access to a wide variety of data by advanced digital processes is not new, what is new is the way these pieces of information are generated. The speed of data creation and the ability to collect and optimize them in clear and complex reporting has considerably increased in the last few years. Today, collected data are adopted to craft tangible and meaningful actions. All the data coming from the supply chain, in real-time, can be analyzed to identify new winning patterns and provide immediate insights to spread across the whole network. It is crucial to forecast demand and anticipate the market changes, increase the visibility of each asset, optimize and manage the supply chain and the procurement, and eventually predict and face unexpected risks.
Recently, not only the level of technology applied in the most disparate situations has increased, but also the awareness on part of the T&L companies of the advantages and need to exploit it from both an operational and an analytical point of view too.

Integration: a new frontier for AI and Big Data
Artificial Intelligence and Big Data are now not used only to simplify all the processes within warehouses, but even also to integrate them, connecting different and often conceptually separate operating systems to one another. Using structured data sets from multiple sources, it is possible to have a broad and in-depth vision of the supply chain to define in advance the steps to be taken for efficient, sustainable, and limited-risk management. Take a look, for example, at the planning of supply orders: real-time updating data on purchases, stocks, and sales can be crossed with further crucial variables such as the shortage of some raw materials, suppliers' stock and the production levels, the trends about the international freight rates - and all this is the topical case, right now! - to carry out preventive and much more thorough planning to guarantee an adequate supply to the production plans.

AI and Big Data increase visibility, knowledge, and therefore control of the supply chain for the benefit of better service performances and business continuity. 

TAGS: Technology, Innovation, Digitalization, Transportation, Logistics, Supply Chain, Aeolus perspectives
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