Is The Logistics Industry Ready For Intelligent Automation?

It is a well-known fact that supply chain is moving progressively towards digital transformation. But is simply adding a digital component to a complex supply chain network enough to make it efficient and cost-cutting? Will it provide the edge that companies need to win in the current global business environment?

What More is Required In This Digital Transformation?

IBM and the National Retail Federation (NRF) surveyed 1,900 retail and consumer products company executives across 23 countries. According to their survey, the retail and consumer goods industry is designating intelligent automation.

The survey revealed that “intelligent automation capabilities help increase the annual revenue growth by up to 10 percent”. It was found that out of 1900 respondents, around 85 percent from the retail sector and 79 percent from the consumer products sector plan to use intelligent automation for supply chain planning by 2021. The study also found that 79 percent of the retail industry respondents expect to use intelligent automation for customer intelligence by 2021.

Human capabilities along with intelligent automation will help in reducing errors and encouraging the culture of digital operations and customer experience innovations.

When the retail and consumer goods industries, who have the most complicated supply chains, are envisaging intelligent automation as the future of the supply chain, then can logistics – the core of supply chain be left behind?

The answer is NO. In fact, the current logistics landscape, which is highly complex and fragmented will be benefitted immensely once intelligent automation will be leveraged in the day-to-day functioning of it.

How Intelligent Automation Will Benefit Logistics?

Logistics will be benefitted by intelligent automation in following ways:

Better Planning

With intelligent automation, transport planning, warehouse network, route planning and inventory planning can be integrated and streamlined. IA will enable data sharing among all supply chain and logistics functions, highlight errors in data and increase the speed of data analysis thus improving accuracy, improving efficiency and lowering the cost of operations.

Refined Analytics

Logistics is a data-driven function. It uses a large amount of data for decision making and strategy building. An intelligent automated reporting system will redefine the data analysis process and will help in making better, informed and quick decisions.

Increased Transparency

More and more supply chains are utilizing cutting edge strategies and latest technology to increase their supply chain transparency. IA will be used as checks at all data entry points to verify the data and to make sure that only correct data enters the system and reaches to all the stakeholders. This will improve decision-making, reduce incidents of miscommunication between users and decrease dependency on other departments for data.

Improved Efficiency

Intelligent automation will empower logistics and supply chain systems greatly by reducing duplication and monotonous tasks. It will improve both human and machine efficiency and reduce the turnaround time for each task to be completed.

These are just some of the ways through which Intelligent Automation can provide benefits to logistics and supply chain industry. Further benefits can be derived on a case to case basis as the technology is put in use. However, like with all new things, there’s a need to exercise caution. Luq Niazi, global managing director of IBM Consumer, explains the care organizations working with intelligent automation need to take. He says “The entire value chain operational infrastructure of B2B and B2C commerce, there has already been an increased adoption and demand for intelligent automation. This also brings forth the need for stronger transparency, ethical practices and business prioritization to evaluate and deploy AI responsibility.”