The demand for real-time data and information has never been stronger in the transportation and logistics industry as supply chain managers and shippers navigate the challenges of an evolving and complex global market.
Today’s technologies now provide decision makers with improved visibility, transparency and real-time data that leads to smarter strategies, quicker decisions that help them stay ahead of trends – necessary components of on-time deliveries that meet operational goals.
While technology can be your friend, it’s important to understand the complexities of emerging technologies and how they can be integrated into your overall strategy. One also must consider another key factor and that is the operational practicality of leveraging its data points across an organization’s logistics program. Do you have the internal expertise and resources to analyze and take action, and if not, what is the best path forward? Should you build internal capability, outsource or land somewhere in the middle?
Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Internet of Things (IoT)
Artificial intelligence (AI) is gaining traction in the logistics space, particularly for its ability to analyze enormous volumes of data much quicker than a human. Having access to information in real-time leads to more informed, smarter decisions.
Machine learning is another emerging technology. Utilizing complex algorithms, machine learning can also be a powerful tool for recognizing and discovering patterns in the supply chain that may not be as predictable by a human.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is impacting our daily lives, where our smartphones are connected to our homes, appliances, vehicles and more. Specific to logistics, the IoT is moving from another buzz phrase to everyday use in location management systems, inventory tracking, warehousing, predictive analytics and enhancing customer experience.
Combining Technology with Expertise for Success
While the paradigm has shifted to integrate emerging technologies into our overall logistics and transportation strategies, technology is only as powerful as the people behind it.
Your relationship with your logistics partners is more important than ever. While AI, machine learning and the IoT are here to stay, its usage and implementation should vary depending on your business goals.
One thing is for sure, your relationship with your partners must remain very human. As a logistics manager, it falls on you to ensure that relationships are strong and built on a give and-take foundation so that you can mutually shape and fully embrace automation and all of the benefits that technology and data can unlock for your company and its customers.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Odyssey Logistics & Technology