Whether technology is a boon or bane to humanity has always been an inconclusive debate. But considering the current dependency of every known industry on technology, the stakes certainly tilt to the former. Artificial Intelligence is the top technological innovation with the most applications in the industrial world. But firstly, one has to learn what Artificial Intelligence is. In simple terms, technology is called artificial intelligence, when a machine mimics human interaction and mind. It can be as simple as a lever mechanism or as complicated as a mechanical robot.
Equipped with mathematics, computer science, psychology, and linguistics, AI emerged as a formidable contender to humans in the industry. An AI machine can replace any industry's routine function or defined routine task.
With the movies depicting AI as heavy artillery, it is no wonder its place in the logistics industry surprises many. To completely grasp the role of artificial intelligence in logistics, one should understand the logistics industry. Logistics is the process of obtaining, storing, and transporting resources from their point of origin to their destination.
Though logistics might seem like a simple affair, the scale of the resources that need to be managed changes the game in the logistics industry, and in developing nations like India, the efficiency and aid of technology in the industrial space have the potential to push the economy by leaps and bounds.
In the present digital era, most functions are shifting to virtual management supervised by human intelligence rather than direct human involvement. In India, the Logistics industry contributes to 14% of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). From this perspective, it becomes a necessity rather than a luxury to provide efficient and quick services in the logistics industry, which is where AI comes into the picture.
Logistics in India are estimated to become the largest job providers by 2022, which shows how deeply this industry is intertwined with the development of India as a nation. Logistics is no simple task; it involves many functions that can be categorized into multiple levels, like warehouse management, supply chain management, packaging, and delivery. This is why many companies like TransportG* emerged in India as logistics and transportation companies dedicated to logistics as separate and essential entities.
Starting with warehouse management and supply chain management, AI and machine learning greatly help cut costs through efficient inventory organization and accurate demand predictions. Data collected at the administrative level are fed into AI-assisted software, which calculates the demand for a particular product with great precision.
After this, the next step is acquiring the products accordingly and managing the inventory, where AI is a great help.
Considering transportation in the logistics sector, in India, 60% of the goods are transported via road and 32% by rail. With a nation as big and populated as India, effective transportation management is key to customer satisfaction. Incorporating AI and machine learning in this domain has helped the logistics sector immensely. The tracking of real-time data, providing the shortest possible and alternate routes, assessing factors that affect transportation like weather conditions & traffic, and voice assistance are notable AI involvements in the transportation category of logistics.
AI, like robotic arms and CNC machines, has taken over packaging. This diminishes the cost of labor and increases not only productivity but also workplace safety. Machines are capable of working 24X7 and even with potential chemicals that might be hazardous to humans.
From all the information above, it is not a surprise that the future holds great potential for the involvement of AI in the logistics industry in India. And with a predicted growth rate of 10-12% of logistics as an industry in India, AI will be the cutting-edge factor in developing the sector.