Emerging AI trends in the supply chain: a promising future
The future of artificial intelligence in the supply chain industry is very bright, and will continue to shape how companies operate and become more competitive on their markets.
Some of the future AI trends in this sector include forklifts, order picking robots, cobots (collaborative robots) and drones. This equipment, which we are used to seeing in warehouses, is gradually becoming more autonomous. Armed with a whole array of sensors, equipped with cameras providing computer vision and guided by AI, they move goods, prepare customer orders and can even carry out inventories without human intervention.
GEODIS has set up small autonomous robots, deployed in a fleet. Instead of pulling a heavy cart through the entire warehouse, the pickers are assigned to a specific area, while the robot moves optimally from station to station according to the order to be picked. The dialogue between robot and picker happens through user-friendly interfaces and the recognition of the employee is handled by the machine. This approach has enabled GEODIS to double the productivity of its teams while reducing employee fatigue.
On another front, namely sustainable development, artificial intelligence makes it possible to respond to increasingly strong consumer demand concerning the sustainability of the goods they buy. The eco-responsibility of products requires the ability to provide flawless traceability of the components used in their manufacturing.
Lastly, the integration of blockchain, in close association with AI, creates an even more secure and transparent supply chain, thereby reducing the risk of error, malfunction and even fraud.
During the pandemic, GEODIS conducted a trial with IBM. A blockchain solution offered by the US giant made it possible to automate the retrieval of temperature data from transported vaccine batches and to certify them. This process prevented the need for manual data verification by pharmacists, saving GEODIS teams valuable hours in the distribution of doses.
Lastly, AI can automate the processes of monitoring suppliers, which are increasingly intertwined and dependent on each other within a globalized supply chain. By scrutinizing information related to their financial health, the contracts they sign, or any climatic, political or social events related to their geographical locations, AI identifies the weak signals that make it possible to detect a potential risk of inability to deliver all or part of their services further up the line.
AI is already playing, and will continue to play, an important role in the far-reaching transformation of the enterprise supply chain. By providing valuable analytics, automating operations and improving the customer experience, AI gives organizations that adopt it and exploit its potential a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace.
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