Revolutionizing Warehousing: The Impact of AI on Logistics and Supply Chain Management

From smart refrigerators and ecommerce to chatbots, Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is part of our daily lives.

It’s also making advancements in many industries, and warehousing operations and distribution are no exception.

So how exactly does AI technology come into play with warehousing? And what are the benefits?

The bottom line: AI is transforming the warehousing industry by improving safety, reducing operational costs and increasing productivity and accuracy. These are huge value-added factors in today’s fast paced and automated supply chain management.

But what are warehouse workers’ thoughts on AI? According to a recent Harvard Business Review research on warehouse automation, 42% of warehouse workers believed automation improves safety, 38% stated that automation helps them perform their jobs faster and more efficiently, and the remaining 20% said that automation boosts their quality of work. This data shows how AI can boost productivity, save costs and prevent unnecessary waste.

AI in the forklift industry

AI-driven forklifts are equipped with sensors, cameras and machine learning algorithms that enable them to perform tasks more efficiently and autonomously. These AI-driven forklifts can optimize their routes, avoid obstacles, manage inventory, and enhance safety through real-time monitoring and decision making.

  • Predictive maintenance – Sensors in forklifts generate operational data which AI analyzes to detect anomalies to predict potential failures before they occur. In a study by Deloitte, a predictive maintenance program utilizing AI can decrease overall maintenance costs by up to 10%.
  • Operator assistance – Devices are available to monitor behavior and provide alerts if unsafe driving is detected.  AI can also be used to recommend the most efficient routes to operators.
  • Automatic navigation – Some forklifts have autonomous navigation abilities that can be programmed to go to specific locations in a warehouse without a driver.
  • Vision systems – Some forklifts have vision systems to “see” their environment and obstacles to avoid collisions.

AI in warehouse optimization

  • Robotics powered by AI automate repetitive, labor-intensive tasks to improve productivity. This frees up workers to focus on more strategic tasks and also helps to improve safety and reduces the risk of workplace accidents.
  • Inventory management – Computer vision and sensors help track inventory levels in real-time.  AI is used to predict future demand and optimize stocking levels, expiration dates and items that need to be moved or replenished.
  • Order picking optimization – AI routing software determines the most efficient paths and routes for order pickers to collect items quickly and accurately.

When it comes to AI, we’re at the tip of the iceberg. Let’s embrace this fascinating resource to do what we do… even better.