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  • Ed Lawson

AI to uncover most efficient logistics decisions


What efficiencies can AI help to unlock in logistics? Plenty, we're all agreed. With the volumes of data involved, and the complexity of decisions, here is an ideal application of AI. Want to consolidate loads? Discover the effects of a change to production or distribution? Or looking for more agile employment of 3PL?


Intent Group ran a discussion on 17th May with a group of leaders to allow them to cross-check their thoughts with others, and to learn more about what is now possible. We discussed employing digital twin, agile 3PL, better data visualisation, and better forecasting. Mike Robertson of 7bridges joined the discussion to share some first hand experiences. Interestingly for me, Mike emphasised that AI can surface the pertinent decisions, for a human decision to agree or not agree.This seems a very sensible and rational way to view AI: the decisions will be presented, rather than taken, by the technology.


Whilst some on the call have good data and metrics, others were more early stage. AI can pull from structured or unstructured data, and can yield the insights needed to unlock new savings. We don't know what we don't know, and we can only make informed decisions by taking a broad/global view of data. A fascinating discussion, and so interesting to learn more about the real world applications of AI.


Exec Summary

  • Advances in AI have now made it possible to surface decisioning across the E2E supply chain.

  • AI does elevate decision making and can suggests optimisation opportunities

  • AI can feed from unstructured data, a data lake or from agile sensing

  • Creating a digital twin is the most effective way to model cost to serve

  • AI can/will optimise against constraints

Suggestion/advice

  • ‘Gap to perfection’ could be measured accounting for customer needs

  • Incentivisation is a pre-requisite to nudge customers to more efficient ordering patterns

  • Tableau is effective in building automated visual of logistics reporting

  • Identify the inefficiencies – eg premium freight, refusals, fines, partial vehicle fill. These are the visible and hidden costs.

  • AI will surface the decisions for humans to action, enabling more informed and better costed, agile decision making

  • AI can help counter what may be considered static rules – making 3PL more agile

  • AI has next level capabilities due to its ability to draw together E2E data from all sources


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