Logistics faces a recurring challenge: the adoption of technologies for process automation. However, with the right solutions, digitisation in this area is easier than we might think.
With just a few examples, it is possible to achieve great benefits with the use of technology. Here is a look at the impact of artificial intelligence and its democratisation on logistics.
What is democratization of technology?
A current difficulty in logistics and the supply chain is that solutions to identify and monitor assets are very diverse and expensive, although necessary.
For example, in ports and logistics platforms, specific hardware is needed for the reading and traceability of each type of code or asset. We are talking about barcodes (products or packages), license plates (vehicles or trailers), ISO or ILU identifiers (cargo containers), UIC codes (train wagons), QR codes (pallets)…
Therefore, the economic investment in infrastructure and hardware required is extremely high, which makes the transport, distribution and storage process more expensive. And this has repercussions on the final price of the product that reaches the consumer.
But fortunately, we know that it is now possible to identify, locate and monitor all these assets in and out of industrial hubs quickly and easily. One example is all-in-one software solutions, based on disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, which allow automatic reading of multiple codes at the same time, from a single camera, through any mobile device or fixed camera.
With this example of an application with minimal technical requirements – and therefore economic investment -, the adoption of technologies becomes possible for multiple companies in the supply chain, even for the smallest in the sector. This is the democratization of technology.
An example of democratization: Artificial Intelligence in Logistics
Artificial Intelligence makes all these advantages possible. And the main one is its high accuracy and ability to read all types of codes without the need for additional hardware installation, as it adapts to the pre-installed infrastructure, unlike other solutions that are highly dependent on specific physical infrastructures such as artificial lighting panels, cameras, presence detectors, etc.
In Artificial Intelligence, software is the key. And thanks to neural networks, combined with the power of other technologies such as artificial vision, it is possible to detect and read any type of code or symbol that surrounds us in our daily lives with a single software and a single camera, training the algorithms to detect and extract only the desired information in each case, ignoring irrelevant data.
Therefore, thanks to the robustness and power of this technology, the implementation of hardware or installation of infrastructures is no longer a necessity, making the democratisation of technology in logistics possible, by drastically reducing installation and maintenance costs.
Advantages of Artificial Intelligence in Logistics
Companies face numerous challenges that they will have to face in the not-too-distant future.
Therefore, adopting the use of Artificial Intelligence can be highly beneficial for multiple present and future uses, offering advantages such as the following:
- Versatility and adaptation to pre-existing infrastructures.
- Compatibility with other software.
- Ability to offer more efficient responses to customers and suppliers.
- Improved competitiveness, due to cost reductions resulting from more efficient and optimised planning.
- Greater contribution to sustainability, as the environmental impact of infrastructure and hardware installation is avoided.
- Greater credibility, by showing a commitment to innovation and the use of new technologies to improve service, as well as profitability.
- Transformation and improvement in the quality of employment. Optimisation of processes, reducing repetitive tasks with low added value, allowing specialists to focus on more strategic areas that provide greater added value.
Is Artificial Intelligence important for e-commerce?
As we know, e-commerce relies heavily on efficient logistics, so these advantages of artificial intelligence are particularly applicable. By using this disruptive technology, it is possible to automate the control of your assets easily. For example, a distribution or parcel delivery company could improve its parcel delivery and return processes by automatically reading machine-printed or handwritten labels with maximum accuracy and agility, ensuring their correct traceability and arrival at destination.
All e-commerce uses logistics companies, so these technology advantages are applicable to them as well. Using AI and disruptive technologies, they can digitize the control of their assets. For example, a parcel delivery company could improve its parcel delivery and return processes more easily and efficiently by automatically reading machine-printed or handwritten labels with maximum accuracy and agility, ensuring their correct traceability and arrival at destination.
Artificial Intelligence, in the service of logistics
Undoubtedly, the democratization of Artificial Intelligence in logistics is increasingly a necessity, and multiple solutions are giving rise to this phenomenon.
Article based on the original interview with Miguel Silva-Constenla for El Periódico, published on 5 October 2020: www.elperiodico.com/es/economia/20201005/miguel-silva-un-1-mas-digitalizacion-equivale-a-muchos-millones-8138098