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Technology 254 views Feb 18, 2021
The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Logistics and Delivery

With their leap towards investing in cloud infrastructure, many logistics companies have already optimised their operations. Cloud infrastructure and such AI expertise are quite expensive as well as time-intensive to fully integrate with the system. Moreover, it takes an immense amount of computing power to continuously calculate and then again recalculate, while taking into consideration the changing conditions, the most methodical route from one point to another point. Smaller logistics and delivery companies and startups find it rather difficult to invest in such infrastructure. Luckily, these companies can easily hire delivery management software which is essentially a Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS). Companies that provide delivery management software for hire handle all the power which is required to do all the calculation and optimizations and the companies who use their delivery management software services can just focus on other important tasks at hand.


Artificial Intelligence is currently playing a major role in the logistics industry, especially at times like this during a pandemic. Subsequently, logistics companies have hugely invested in robotic automation and further improve their warehouses and day-to-day functionalities. Smart warehouses, self-driving vehicles, and even autonomous drones are being largely invested in by these companies to minimize human contact at times of Covid-19 pandemic.


Areas In Logistics Where AI Can Help


The first and the last mile of the supply chain is where most of the expenses, in fact, more than half of the total cost, are used up. To improve ROI for any company, they must invest in a delivery management software that can improve the components which in turn will optimize the first and the last mile of the supply chain. AI is largely used to carry out such optimization in these components. While the components in focus are different for every other company out there, it is generally these four areas that can help refine the supply chain: Dispatching, Tracking, Route Optimization, and at last, Customer Notification. Let us see in detail how Artificial Intelligence can help the components of a supply chain and enhance the operations of major logistics and delivery companies.


  1. Dispatching


An AI integrated delivery management software can easily figure out who the best person is to make the delivery, which vehicle they should take and even which company has the necessary fleet to deliver a particular order. This decision is not just influenced by which company or person is closest to the pickup location or the delivery location of the order. Several factors come into play whilst the software takes the decision. Such factors that can influence the decision that the AI integrated delivery management software makes might be figuring out who has the adequate capacity to take on such delivery or who has a vehicle which is more fuel-efficient.


  1. Tracking


A delivery management software can track numerous elements at a time to make more informed decisions in the future. What the software tracks depend on each company and which component of the supply chain they want to improve. For instance, a logistics and supply company who wants to improve the alertness of their drivers and make their vehicles more fuel-efficient can track the number of miles the drivers have travelled before taking a break, the number of breaks they take while doing a single delivery or completing multiple deliveries as well as the speed at which they travel. Similarly, a company can use a delivery management software to track the best route for the delivery with the minimum number of tolls which is not necessarily the shortest route that most GPS systems show. Tracking such information can steadily but surely optimize the overall operations of any logistics company.


  1. Route Optimization


With numerous factors continuously changing the best route from one point to another, it is quite difficult for companies to figure out the best route without proper delivery management software. A proper software integrated with Artificial Intelligence can easily track conditions in real-time such as weather conditions, traffic, ongoing construction sites, and so on. There might be even more dynamic changes, like the number of stops the driver makes or any sudden accidents on the route, which can further influence the best possible route. There could be over hundreds of changing conditions along the way, all of which can be tracked by a robust delivery management software and fed to an algorithm which in turn can continuously update the most efficient route and show it to the driver.


  1. Customer Notifications


When a customer orders something online, they immediately wait for any delivery updates eagerly. If logistics and delivery companies can answer their eagerness and provide timely delivery updates with detailed information on where their packages are, it would immensely improve the customer satisfaction and ratings of them. Customers expect to be provided with tracking information and that is becoming the standard for major logistics companies. Moreover, Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS) providers enable smaller companies, who cannot supply their

 products on their own, to avail this service and improve their customer satisfaction.


Thus, Artificial Intelligence has significantly impacted the operations of numerous logistics and delivery companies and made their day-to-day operations much simpler and efficient. Technology will keep on influencing such functionalities and will continue to find new ways in order to make them more effective. There are many software systems that provide daily reports to fleet managers and provide them with all the necessary information to maintain their fleet’s performance. These reports can be utilized to find out how each of the drivers on the fleet performs, which cars need maintenance, what are the common problems that the workers face on a daily basis, and so on. Delivery management software has innumerable advantages and can not only benefit the logistics company but also the employers, workers, and drivers working for it.