AI in supply chains: How will that work exactly?


  • AI is transforming the transportation industry, potentially eliminating human touchpoints in the supply chain.
  • Autonomous trucks are expected to start operating in the U.S. by 2024, reducing the cost-per-mile by 25% to 30%.
  • AI and machine learning can predict disruptions in fluid transportation networks, making supply chains more resilient.

Integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) in supply chain operations is more than just a vision of the future. It’s already in motion, with an ever-growing impact on how goods are moved across the globe, says industry insiders and analysts.

Revolutionizing the transport sector

Emerging technologies like self-driving trucks, sidewalk robots, and customer service bots are not just concepts in science fiction; they’re already on the horizon, set to disrupt the transportation industry and shift the dynamics of supply chain management.

Analysts predict that AI could potentially eliminate almost all human touchpoints in the supply chain, including back office tasks. The potential of AI doesn’t stop there. It extends to predicting disruptions in supply chains, thus explaining anomalies in sales forecasts.

One might see the emergence of generative AI as another revolutionary tool in a line of disruptive technologies that includes autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, drones, and blockchain.

In terms of practical application, autonomous trucks, for instance, are expected to commence operations in the U.S. by 2024, slashing the cost-per-mile by 25% to 30% and ultimately phasing out the need for drivers.

Making supply chains more resilient

In the global marketplace, supply chains are often extensive and multifaceted. The journey of a product from manufacturing to the customer involves multiple stages, often spread across different regions of the world.

This complexity was further compounded by disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and geopolitical upheavals such as the Russia-Ukraine war.

In this backdrop, AI has the potential to infuse transparency and resilience into the supply chain. AI and Machine Learning (ML) can foresee potential issues in a fluid transportation network and possibly circumvent disruptive scenarios altogether.

Generative AI can further optimize operations by forecasting demand, predicting maintenance requirements for trucks, determining ideal shipping routes, and tracking shipments in real time.

AI at the helm of business operations

Leading shipping company Maersk has recognized the potential of AI, which has already been integrated into their operations for several years.

The chief technology and information officer of Maersk, Navneet Kapoor, highlighted the company’s efforts to integrate AI more extensively into their business processes and functions.

One application is in the development of predictive cargo arrival models to enhance schedule reliability for customers, enabling them to better manage their supply chain and inventory, and subsequently reduce costs.

Beyond this, Maersk is exploring AI to recommend solutions in the face of congested shipping routes and to understand the sales process better using a form of generative AI known as a large language model.

The double-edged sword of AI integration

While the integration of AI in supply chains presents a myriad of opportunities, it also poses potential challenges. Job losses in traditional roles are an inevitable fallout of AI integration, but Kapoor posits that new roles, such as prompt engineers who train AI, will likely be in higher demand.

Furthermore, as AI makes supply chains more efficient, it could potentially cut down the demand for services offered by third-party logistics firms.

However, as evidenced by Maersk’s investments in AI startups through its Maersk Growth venture arm, the industry is determined to stay ahead of the curve.

Lastly, the advent of AI-powered “knowledge assistants” could address the problem of over- and under-ordering of goods. These assistants can offer insights into supplier behavior and sales trends, reducing wastage and making integrated business planning more efficient.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Jai Hamid

Jai Hamid is a passionate writer with a keen interest in blockchain technology, the global economy, and literature. She dedicates most of her time to exploring the transformative potential of crypto and the dynamics of worldwide economic trends.

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