DHL and IBM publish report on AI applications in logistics

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In a joint report, DHL and US technology firm IBM have evaluated the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in logistics and explored how it can be best applied to transform the industry.

DHL and IBM outline how supply chain leaders can take advantage of AI’s key benefits and opportunities now that performance, accessibility as well as costs are more favorable than ever before.

The collaborative report identifies implications and use cases of AI for the logistics industry, finding that AI has the potential to significantly augment human capabilities. While AI is already ubiquitous in the consumer realm, as demonstrated by the rapid growth of voice assistant applications, DHL and IBM find that AI technologies are maturing at great pace, allowing for additional applications for the logistics industry.

Matthias Heutger, senior vice president and global head of innovation, DHL, said, “Today’s current technology, business, and societal conditions favor a paradigm shift to proactive and predictive logistics operations more than any previous time in history. 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: AI is being used in production lines to help streamline production and maintenance through image recognition and conversational interfaces. In the automotive industry, AI is being extensively called upon to enhance the self-learning capabilities of autonomous vehicles. Many more examples evidence AI’s benefits with the ability to transform the world of industry after its transformational impact on the consumer world.

With the help of AI, the logistics industry will shift its operating model from reactive actions to a proactive and predictive paradigm, which will generate better insights at favorable costs in back-office, operational and customer-facing activities. For instance, 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. Clearly, 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, global industry leader for freight, logistics and rail, IBM, 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.

To download a copy of Artificial Intelligence in Logistics, click here.

April 16, 2018

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Dan joined Postal and Parcel Technology International in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As assistant editor, he now produces daily content for the website and supports the editors with the publication of each exciting new issue. When he’s not reporting on the latest logistics news, Dan can be found apprehensively planning his next DIY project for his new home.

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