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DHL and IBM says AI could transform supply chains of the future – here’s how

DHL and IBM says AI could transform supply chains of the future – here’s how


Logistics and technology powerhouses DHL and IBM recently released a joint report examining the ways artificial intelligence (AI) could be incorporated into supply chains, augmenting efficiencies of current operational paradigms and providing the workforce with more time to enhance skills and capabilities.


With AI more accessible and affordable than ever, the collaborative report concluded that deploying AI would allow the logistics industry to shift its current reactive model to a proactive and predictive paradigm.


Examples of such uses include advanced image recognition incorporated in tracking conditions of shipments, brining end-to-end autonomy to transportation and predicting fluctuations in global shipment volumes before they occur, according to a report by LBR.


In the report, IBM freight, logistics and rail global industry leader Keith Dierkx was quoted as saying, “By leveraging AI into core processes, companies can invest more in strategic growth imperatives to modernize or eliminate legacy application systems.”


In an interview with Logistics Management, CEO of DHL Ken Allen said: “Everything can be enhanced through modern technology, and I think AI is at the beginning of really big usefulness.”


“We already have big data and IoT and this is another part of that. This type of digitalization proposes the next ‘S-curve’ after globalization that is really driving our business in this fast-growing world of e-commerce.


“Now…for the first time through broadband and mobile devices everyone can be connected, and the possibilities are endless. It creates massive opportunities, as well as massive complexities in that everyone in the world is a potential customer now. And we need to use AI, big data, and other forms of digital marketing to reach all of our customers,” he continued.

Summary of ways AI could be incorporated in logistics (as cited in the report by Logistics Management):

  • Transitioning away from legacy enterprise resource planning systems to advanced analytics, increased automation, and hardware and software robotics and mobile computing;
  • Taking logistics operations redefine today’s behaviors and practices;
  • Taking operations from reactive to proactive and planning from forecast to prediction and taking processes from manual to autonomous and services from standardized to personalized