AI and Big Data in Logistics and Warehousing
Businesses are growing along with the advancement in technologies, especially AI and Big data; Logistics and Warehouses are one of the aspects of the more significant section of the businesses that are increasingly using these technologies to improve management and development.
Automating the process has always been one of the highest priorities of businesses but gone are those days of old machines that did not involve such hi-tech support from the software point of view.
In this post, we will be discussing two of the most exciting and hooked concepts,
- AI and Big Data Playing a Major Role in Logistics
- Smart Warehouse – AI in Management
Artificial Intelligence is often misrepresented or thought of when it comes to emerging technologies; When the term AI pops, people think it is the Tesla or the robotics, but AI is much more than the hardware. The ultimate goal of AI is to improve the outdated technology, cut-off the additional efforts, automate the processes, and make machines capable of doing the job. The best part is people accept such technology in business and test new ways to improve the management and development of the business models, production methods, and whatnot.
However, does AI have a good hand in logistics? It is a brain-teasing question; it has a significant role to play and let me break down the uses and put the correct information.
AI and Big Data Playing a Major Role in Logistics
What is logistics? Logistics is the flow of management from the origin till the consumer receives the goods. Managing such a flow is a tedious task, and outdated systems need an upgrade to improve this.
Big Data in Management
In logistics, businesses have to keep even the smallest data from the head to the toes, and this is done for every product businesses manufacture.
The R&D department uses this data to analyze how they can improve and bring more profits to the company and the consumer, but handling such huge data is complex, and many businesses still use the manual mode to analyze such huge data, also called the big data.
A well-designed software allows such data to be handled and analyzed quickly without any upfront cost. Logistics is a careful task, and you do not want to mess the process, or there you are making losses in millions.
Artificial Intelligence for Product Analysis
When you are a huge business that manufactures several products, how do you analyze which product is well-accepted and consumed by the users that are willing to pay? The traditional method involves the R&D team analyzing the market position and the number of sales that, in the end, leave an approximate estimation.
However, what if there was a software that did the complete analysis with numbers and graphs without having to spend any more money on the product analysis. The machine learning algorithms such as KNN can help the businesses to pick the correct numbers from a chart and number analysis and work on products that are not bringing profits to the company. This algorithmic approach helps the businesses remove the products that no longer interest the user but the units are still manufacturing. We create solutions that can help you analyze the products and predict if they still hold the value that customers are looking for in the current market. They can also collect information from multiple channels and predict the product value before you start the next manufacturing process.
Managing Inventory using AI and Big Data
The head task in a manufacturing business is controlling the Inventory. If the products are produced more than what is required, it will ultimately be a loss if that product is no longer working, and on the other hand, if the number of products is less, the company would not be able to fulfill the user needs.
Managing Inventory using the traditional method is outdated and time-consuming. The best way to reduce the time and improve efficiency is by using a dedicated inventory management software that analyses the product manufacturing quantity by using the previous data. Suppose you have the data for the past five years in numbers; AI can use these numbers and predict the manufacturing quantity for the current period.
Besides, handling such data in a computer database is not an easy job, and the physical servers are a no good option as they consume a lot of resources and need heavy maintenance. Using the techniques of Big data and utilizing cloud storage can help you minimize the efforts you add in handling the inventory data.
AI helping substitute the workforce in Logistics
Robotics are a great option to replace the maximum efforts humans put in handling the manufacturing processes. They can improve the efficiency and the speed in sorting the products, moving them from one environment to another, track the Inventory and other manufacturing.
Besides, it minimizes the risk of life that workers face while the robots can do the same job much faster and safer.
Most of the companies in the world, from the manufacturing of mobile phones to the assembling of cars, use AI in their units, and they are working great on the speed and efficiency metrics.
Big Data managing various types of data
Companies track every data that the manufacturing units produce in the whole process. This data is not the same at each development stage and analyzing such different data is a task.
The data collected is both structured and unstructured; consider it as a data lake. To separate this data and then take out a piece of meaningful information requires advanced technologies such as Big data. The first step in this process is to collect all the data and then separate them according to their type. Doing this process traditionally is time-consuming and is prone to errors on a larger scale.
However, Big data has proved to help with the process by using Apache Hadoop’s software medium. Such software is scaling for improvement, and Big data management is now becoming more effective and efficient in logistics and warehousing.
AI and Big Data in improving Customer Experience
When a customer orders through an online service, they expect a few things such as
- On-time delivery
- Ease in returning the products or canceling them
AI and Big Data can help in this process by extracting the particular user data from the data lake and then using it to perform the following operations. Now, we already know the data is unstructured, and in this scenario, only AI can boost the process of locating the user information and then track the order to address the customer needs.
Big data also helps in segregating the order type based on different metrics such as location, product ID, stock, and more. AI and Big Data can boost this process to bring more valuable customer experiences by taking customer feedback and then analyzing the performance more visually using the charts and the numbers. The best part about the Big data is, it eases the data handling and operating process. Our customized AI software helps in managing and providing a great customer experience that users are looking for.
AI in logistics reduce the error
Humans are prone to errors, we make mistakes quite often, but sometimes, it may directly or indirectly affect the manufacturing industry or lead to a risk. Artificial intelligence takes the correct measurements and performs the right job as it is programmed to do so. Besides, Machine learning algorithms that are a part of AI help predict the performance of the tools, units, and the manual force used in the whole manufacturing process. We can create AI software that can help you manage the logistics process and predict the improvements for minimal errors.
Let’s take a look at few examples of companies successfully using AI in warehousing and logistics:
Amazon, the world’s most valuable brand, uses AI technology and robots in its warehouses to increase efficiency, create platforms for the warehouse and online store and anticipate and prevent issues in the customer journey.
Lineage Logistics, a company focusing on keeping food cold for stores and restaurants, uses AI to analyze the path of its orders. The AI algorithms can anticipate when orders will arrive and leave a warehouse, so that employees can put the pallets in the right position. Items that will stay at the warehouse longer are put further in the back, and items that move more quickly and won’t stay in the warehouse as long as placed towards the front. Since implementing smart placement through AI, Lineage has increased its efficiency by 20%.
Online retailer Zappos, which specializes in clothes and shoes, uses KIVA Systems in its center in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, to create a fully automated warehouse that helps them maintain free shipping, a 365-day return policy, and a full-time call center.
British online supermarket Ocado uses highly automated warehouses with robots that unpack inventory, plan and stack shelves, and move goods around the warehouses.
When we speak about smart, how can we miss the automation processes and interconnected technologies? Smart warehouses are the Zenith of automation that improves warehouse and inventory management. The interconnected technologies work together to reduce the error, increase productivity and efficiency, and minimize the human effort.
Nevertheless, how does AI and Big Data fuel Smart Warehouses?
Smart Warehouses create an automated environment where goods are received, identified, sorted, organized, and pulled for shipment automatically with minimal human efforts. The result? Cost is saved, the risk of human life is reduced, productivity and efficiency at a peak, and the whole process is automatic.
Smart Warehouses have three significant characteristics:
- Data Visibility
If you are a manufacturing company, you must be knowing how complex it is to manage an inventory and the interconnected systems. Smart warehouses help in creating a more efficient environment. Besides, there are a few solutions that help connect and automate different systems and improve the efficiency of the work. Your Smarthouse system should be able to understand the human needs and minimize them as the automation improves.
Humans can do limited operations on a per-day basis that restricts the speed of the whole process. AI components such as Robotics and Automation machines can improve the speed and work more efficiently, fastening the whole process and upbringing the business.
Warehouse data are not structured; when you analyze the data, you can find anomalies and confusion. This is because the data is not correctly collected and stored; the whole process is unprogrammed that can mess the whole process. However, using Big data, you can extract the need of the hour data without having to run through several files manually and then plotting a graph. Hadoop systems are extensively being used in manufacturing industries to facilitate the big data process and make the data visible when required.
Smart Warehouse Elements
Smart warehouses have many interconnected technologies that work along to complete the task. Let me break down a few for you.
Robots are efficient in most of the warehouse working. They can help to relocate the products to other positions, and they can sort the products based on weight, category, and locations. Besides, the best usage is fastpacking of products that saves time and is an efficient method to improve productivity.
Security and IoT
Warehouses have a lot of expensive items that can be stolen or tampered with. Traditional guards can be bribed to breach the security, but the modern-day RFID security systems that are made of IoT can solve this problem. You can use RFID cards to only allow an authorized person to enter the warehouse or use RFID to allow only authorized personnel to use certain machines and features of the Smart Warehouse.
The IoT systems can also be used to improve smaller neglected conditions of work. They can be used to measure the machines’ temperature or the working environment or used to show relevant information about the products received from the WMS.
Warehouse Management System
When you have a smart warehouse, you also need to have efficient software that works along. The Warehouse Management System (WMS) allows you to keep track of how efficient your warehouse’s day-to-day operations are and if you can improve on anything specific.
Our digital solutions help create such customizable software for smart warehouses and use the AI algorithms to improve the workflow of these processes. The AI algorithms will help you predict the areas where you can improve the automation or human processes. Additionally, the AI programs are self-learnable, and you can rely on them to analyze the stocks, returned items, and check for productivity on its own.
AI and Big data have a huge space in the Logistics and Smart Warehouses that improve productivity and efficiency in managing the whole process. The right time to invest in such technologies is right now, and we can create the customized software for you based on your needs. AI can help you predict the improvement sections and also do the right product analysis while the Big data tackles the data lake issue and gives you a more uniform and structured data that is meaningful.