Artificial Intelligence to thrive in logistics according to DHL and IBM

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will see the global logistics industry shift its operating model from being reactive to being proactive and predictive.
Big Data, self-learning systems and the monitoring of social media will enable logistics providers to be better prepared for rapid consumer demand, such as that which saw an estimated 38,000 tonnes of fidget spinners transported by air last year.
A joint report by DHL and IBM, Artificial Intelligence in Logistics, has evaluated the potential of AI and shown how it can to transform the logistics industry, giving rise to a “new class of intelligent logistics assets and operational paradigms”.
While AI is already established in the consumer arena, as demonstrated by the rapid growth of voice assistant applications, DHL and IBM found that AI technologies are “maturing at great pace,” allowing for additional applications for the logistics industry.
“Today’s current technology, business, and societal conditions favour a paradigm shift to proactive and predictive logistics operations more than any previous time in history” explained Matthias Heutger, senior vice president and global head of innovation at DHL.
“As the technological progress in the field of AI is proceeding at great pace, we see it as our duty to explore, together with our customers and employees, how AI will shape the logistics industry’s future.”
Many industries have already successfully adopted AI into their everyday business, such as the engineering and manufacturing industry, stated the report.
AI is being used in production lines to help streamline production and maintenance through image recognition and “conversational interfaces”.
The report contends that, with the help of AI, the logistics industry will generate better insights at favourable costs in back office, operational and customer-facing activities”.
AI technologies can use advanced image recognition to track condition of shipments and assets, bring end-to-end autonomy to transportation, or predict fluctuations in global shipment volumes before they occur.
It added: “AI augments human capabilities but also eliminates routine work, which will shift the focus of logistics workforces to more meaningful and value-added work.”
Keith Dierkx, IBM global industry leader for freight, logistics, and rail, said: “Technology is changing the logistics industry’s traditional value chains, and ecosystems are reshaping enterprises, industries and economies.
“By leveraging AI into core processes, companies can invest more in strategic growth imperatives to modernize or eliminate legacy application systems. This can make existing assets and infrastructure more efficient, while providing the workforce with time to enhance their skills and capabilities.”
In the report, DHL and IBM conclude that AI will develop to become as” omnipresent” in the industrial sector as it currently is in the consumer world.
“AI stands to transform the logistics industry into a proactive, predictive, automated and personalized branch. Considering this, the report provides perspectives and best practices on how logistics players can seize and adopt AI in their global supply chains.”
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