While a boogeyman in the 1980s, Artificial Intelligence has gained a lot of traction in the realm of third party logistics. There were not shortage of films, literature, television, and general campfire stories that foretold a world of self-aware machinery running amok. Thankfully, they remain stories in the fictional side of life.

Truth be told, at BCR, we couldn’t be more excited for the practical utility that AI and its various subsets (machine learning etc.) brings to third party logistics as well as to grand scale supply chain management. The fear that most people have (besides the fictional) about artificial intelligence implementation is that it could lead to a loss of jobs – this could not be further from the truth.

In fact, as AI becomes more integrated into third party logistics protocols, there’ll be even more credence for human intervention and consciousness in decision-making. As AI systems become more intuitive, they will further enhance the experience for clients and workers throughout the supply chain model – tightening up response times and exponentially increasing productivity and efficiency.

Let’s explore a few of the ways that artificial intelligence technologies are changing the way we perceive third party logistics – and the potential it holds for the future.

Analytical Capabilities

Collating, managing, and reading through mounds of data was once the most time-consuming aspect to maintaining an effective process in third party logistics. Detecting trends and maximising efficiency had to be conducted with a great number of variables in mind to avoid potential avenues being missed or miscalculated.

With the implementation of artificial intelligence systems that have the ability to render and analyse complex and dense amounts of data in real-time. As third party logistics providers, we can take advantage of this processing power, we can detect and mobilise on trends as they occur, rather than waiting until its too late.

It’s not just the analysis of past data that is enhanced with AI and ML capabilities in third party logistics, they also offer transparency by tracking with peak accuracy on relative elements occurring throughout the warehouse, delivery routes, and packing procedures across the entire supply chain. As an example, some companies have begun installing AI monitoring components to their facilities to focus on quality and efficiency assurance for clients and customers.

Through complex learning capabilities, these systems have allowed more third party logistics providers to bolster their ability to tighten loose ends and perform beyond expectations, which smooths out the experience for everyone involved.

Practical Enhancement

Analytics and data organisation is one key aspect to AI’s positive influence in the space – the practical benefits are almost endless as well.

While Tesla’s self-driving cars are still wandering across their fair share of testing grounds – the notion that machine learning can be implemented in autonomous vehicles spells a positive future for the delivery side of third party logistics. The prospect of driverless trucks and automated delivery systems is a lucrative one at that, once the technology catches up a little more of course.

Warehousing has already seen its fair share of enhancement thanks to autonomous organisation and communicative synchronisation of delegated tasks within its network of robotic workers. This has implications for the scalability of most third party logistics providers like us, with automated delegation and prioritization of the supply chain in real-time and with data-based considerations automatically implemented.

A BCR Future

We’ve been in the supply chain game for over 100 years, we’ve seen technology and capability shoot far beyond our expectations. The prospect of a more efficient supply chain and intuitive third party logistics protocol bolstered with AI parameters is certainly exciting. We’ll be keeping a steady eye on the developments as they manifest.