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The future of logistics – how AI is revolutionizing decision-making

Jorg Junghanns
Sep 26, 2023

Complementing human experience and expertise with AI-generated insights enables logistics professionals to tackle complex challenges with confidence and make informed choices that drive business growth and innovation.

I was recently interviewed by a renowned German logistics publication on the topic of how organizations are leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to reshape the logistics landscape, which is leading to smarter decision-making and increased efficiency.

In this article, I summarize the interview by talking about how AI is making its mark and the exciting possibilities and opportunities it is set to create for logistics in the future.

AI-powered decision-making

AI is a broader concept encompassing methods for machines to simulate human intelligence. Machine learning (ML) is a subset of AI that focuses on machines learning from data without explicit programming. In logistics, both AI and ML have distinct roles. AI encompasses rule-based and expert systems, while ML is used for tasks like demand forecasting and route optimization.

Logistics also employs predictive analytics, natural language processing (NLP), and ML to revolutionize decision-making:

  • Predictive analytics use historical data and external factors to forecast trends
  • NLP bridges language barriers for better customer understanding
  • ML automates tasks while detecting patterns.

By integrating these technologies, logistics professionals can access actionable data, empowering data-driven decisions. Importantly, AI complements human expertise, enhancing problem-solving and innovation.

Current AI applications

AI is making its mark in two key areas – technology and data:

  • Technological advancements – autonomous vehicles, including cars, trains, and drones, are used for efficient last-mile delivery. Built-in cameras and sensors identify package details. Warehouses benefit from AI-driven robotics, including automated guided vehicles (AGVs), autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), and more
  • Data-driven insights – AI algorithms analyze historical data, market trends, and external sources like blockchain. This enhances logistics demand forecasting, route optimization, warehouse layout redesign, and automated inventory management. Technologies like intelligent document processing (IDP) and NLP streamline data management and improve communication.

Future potential of AI

The future of logistics holds significant potential, especially in two areas:

  • Autonomous vehicles and drones – self-driving trucks and delivery drones promise to transform logistics by reducing labor costs and enabling faster, flexible deliveries
  • Enhanced visibility – AI, combined with blockchain data and robotic process automation (RPA), will continue to improve supply chain operations with enhanced demand forecasting, inventory optimization, and end-to-end visibility. This shift from reactive to proactive supply chain management will increase resilience and sustainability in our volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world.

The current state and industry adoption

AI is already widely adopted in logistics. Major players such as Kuehne+Nagel, DHL, Amazon, and Alibaba lead the way, optimizing their operations with AI. Startups and technology providers offer specialized AI solutions, making the technology accessible to a broader range of businesses. At Capgemini, we apply these advancements to achieve next-generation supply chain performance.

Logistics professionals often seek guidance on AI implementation, vendor selection, integration with existing systems, data security, and privacy concerns in AI applications. They also inquire about best practices for navigating the transition to AI-driven logistics. Additionally, concerns about job displacement by AI solutions are prevalent. It’s essential to prioritize AI technologies based on critical use cases and positive business outcomes. This ensures that AI adoption is purposeful and impactful in the logistics sector.

A glimpse into the future

Looking ahead to the next 5 to 10 years, quantum computing could usher in transformative changes. This technology can solve complex problems beyond the capabilities of traditional computers, offering real-time fleet and route optimization and simulation of intricate supply chain networks. The focus will be on harnessing technology to develop sustainable and revolutionary inclusive supply chains.

Another area for opportunity is empowering your people with new and exciting roles to drive digital transformation and unlock enhanced outcomes – not just in logistics, but across your entire supply chain. Significant investment is required to not only streamline processes and implement new technologies, but also support emerging roles and skillsets to respond to and stay ahead of the evolving nature of work within the supply chain.

To discover how Capgemini’s Intelligent Supply Chain Operations delivers cognitive, touchless operations, and data-driven decision-making to your organization, contact:

Meet our expert

Jörg Junghanns

Vice President Europe, Expert in Operations Transformation, Supply Chain Digitalization
Jörg leverages innovation and a strategic and service mindset to help clients transform their supply chain operations into a growth enabler.